Being stranded at sea is a cruise traveler's worst nightmare, but for one Lubbock woman, that nightmare became her reality for four whole days aboard the Carnival Triumph. The ship was stuck out at sea after a fire crippled the engine room.
During that time, passengers had to put up with water in the cabins, human waste on the floor, and very little food or water.
However, the over 4,000 passengers finally made it back to land, and on Friday afternoon, Juanita Holland arrived home in Lubbock.
"It's great to step foot in Lubbock, Texas. It feels great to be home. It's very emotional for me right now," Holland said. "To look at it now, I am grateful that nothing else worse happened."
Early Sunday morning she says she smelled smoke coming from the engine room and quickly alerted her family and friends back in Lubbock.
"We stopped moving and the captain announced that there were some issues in the engine room," Holland said.
Holland's family watched the whole ordeal on television. Holland's step-daughter Shaunna Keeton said her granddaughter's were worried about Holland.
"We would watch the boat on the TV and on the Internet and I would try to tell them Nina's on the ship, and they were like, let's go get her," Keeton said.
However, it wasn't that easy. Over the next four days, Holland endured virtually unlivable conditions.
"The lines were long and there were those infamous red bags; we will never forget those red bags," Holland said.
Somehow Holland did it all with a smile on her face.
"They made us comfortable. The crew was incredible... You've got to make the best of the bad and have a positive attitude," Holland said.
Holland says she can't even describe the moment she saw finally land. "Coming down through the channel and up to the port and watching the people and the cars waving..."
But it wasn't until she had her two granddaughters in her arms that she really felt she was home.
"It's just nice to know she's ok. She's special to us. She's been around a long time," Keeton said.
And despite all she's been through, Holland is already planning her next ocean voyage.
"Yes, I would go on Carnival again. Probably not the Triumph, it's broken," Holland said.
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