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Family Describes Cruise Fiasco

Hannah Kolasky probably won’t remember her special second birthday, but mom Stephanie says she won’t let her forget. Nevermind she’s a Valentines baby, now she’s a Carnival Triumph toddler.The Kolaskys were among 4200 passengers and crew aboard the Carnival Triumph, for a wedding cruise that should have lasted from Thursday, February 7 to Sunday, February 10. What really happened grabbed the nation’s attention for a week.”At about 5:30 [Sunday] morning, we hear an alarm via voice that says ‘Alpha Team, Alpha Team, report to the equipment room,'” Kolasky told ABC 17 News Monday.Within seconds, the power went out throughout the ship, except the flickering emergency lights. Kolasky said she thought nothing of the alarm until she looked out her balcony window and saw smoke billowing from below her deck six cabin.”I need to get up and take a shower and use the bathroom because, who knows what’s going on,” Kolasky thought to herself.Water lasted consistently for 14 hours, food lasted through Monday. But the toilet system, she says, never came back on.”My best description, the only way everyone I know can relate to [the smell] is, we’ve all been to tailgates at Faurot Field, we’ve all waited in line for the port-a-potties in the parking lot, just imagine living in that port-a-potty,” she said. “The smell is everywhere – that’s where your clothes are, that’s where you’re brushing your teeth, that’s where you’re trying to take a cold shower.”Kolasky says she was thankful for having a balcony room, to let in fresh air as the smell got worse each day.Despite the degenerating conditions on board, Kolasky said the crew and room steward were above-and-beyond, even bringing nearly two-year-old Hannah special food as lines grew to more than four hours long for a cold cut sandwich.By this week, pictures of red hazardous materials bags sitting outside of guestrooms with human waste inside have come to define the Triumph’s plight. Kolasky said the crew never complained.”The crew, in every aspect that I was able to see, was incredible,” she said.Stephanie and Hannah also watched as one of the three tugboats dragging the Triumph to a port in Mobile, Alabama lost its holding still miles from shore. The tow line snapped, a sight Kolasky described as more upsetting for the boat’s captain than for the frustrated passengers camped out on the upper decks, watching it happen.Kolasky and her family never moved their beds, like so many did, out onto the makeshift tent city on the deck. Mainly, she said, because of the balcony and fresh air. But she did climb up as the cruise ship pulled into port in Mobile around 9:30 p.m. Thursday night.”Seeing all the people waiting for us and the lights [on the shore], that was exciting.”A whirlwind of travel followed, including a short night in New Orleans and a flight back to Kansas City before heading home to Sedalia. Kolasky said Carnival Cruise gave passengers full refunds for their trips, a credit for a future free cruise and $500 upon docking. She said she’ll take the free cruise, but wouldn’t pay for a Carnival cruise again.And Hannah Kolasky probably won’t have another birthday so eventful.

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