Carnival passenger says nightmare cruise exaggerated

A Rhode Island native on board the Carnival Triumph said Friday that some of the horror stories about conditions on board were exaggerated.

Pawtucket native Patty Draut said the trip started off well, but an engine fire crippled the ship in the Gulf of Mexico.

She said being trapped on a limping cruise liner was not as luxurious as she'd want, but it definitely wasn't the horror story some are reporting.

"A lot of the stories I'm hearing are making me mad because it wasn't like that at all. A lot of the disgustingness of the ship was the passengers. It makes me mad because my family worried unnecessarily because people were lying," Draut said.

Worry they did. Her father, Roland Buteau, was sitting on pins and needles in Pawtucket after he learned the ship suffered an engine fire Sunday night.

"I was, I was distraught. I couldn't believe it, you know," Buteau said.

But Draut said many of the horror stories just aren't true. Yes, it smelled, working toilets were replaced with plastic bags, and some passengers did sleep on the deck because it was hot in their rooms.

But Draut said she never saw sewage on the floor.

"These people saying they were living in filth, they were living in their own filth," she said.

Draut said she always had fresh water or soda to drink, and food like hot dogs and fajitas to eat. On top of that, she said the crew tried to keep passengers entertained and cleaned up after them.

"That crew was awesome," she said. "I mean, was it the lap of luxury? No. But was it the devastation reported? No, it was not."

Still, after five days at sea, she cheered like everyone else when they arrived in Alabama. Unfortunately, her ordeal wasn't over. Her bus to Louisiana also broke down.

"I just looked at my husband and we could either burst into tears or start laughing and we started laughing," Draut said.

But she doesn't blame Carnival and has no plans to sue.

"You know, we found out later they sent us out there knowing this could happen. Yeah, I'm going to be mad," she said. "But I don't believe that they did."

And Draut said she will cruise again.

"Oh yeah, I have booked in October and one booked in November already," she said.

The passengers aboard the Carnival Triumph will be compensated. Carnival is paying for the trip as well as most of the items passengers bought on board. They are also getting $500 and a future cruise credit.