UPDATED February 15, 2013, 1:50 AM ET – All 3,143 guests have been disembarked from the Carnival Triumph.
The process began around 10 PM CT Thursday night. As guests exited the ship, they were greeted with Cokes, hot food and massive amounts of media.
Carnival had transportation waiting for passengers once they left the port terminal. The line is taking care of all travel arrangements, with guests getting to choose a hotel tonight and travel tomorrow or to complete their journey home tonight.
By Sarah Phillips: The Carnival Triumph is home at last! After 5 long days adrift at sea caused by a fire in the aft engine room on Sunday, the ship just made port in Mobile. The last ropes are being tied right now. Elated guests are cheering and waving from the decks of the crippled liner. So are their friends and family waiting on the ground below.
Gerry Cahill, Carnival CEO & President is on site with the ship. During a quick press conference, he again apologized profusely to all the guests on board for failing to deliver on their vacation expectations. He admitted conditions were bad.
Cahill also made it a strong point to recognize the crew for their outstanding effort in a making a bad situation better. Thanks were also given to the U.S. Coast Guard, Customs and Border Patrol and the City and Port of Mobile.
Cahill is now on board the vessel, personally apologizing to the passengers and then working to expedite the debarkation process.
Debarking will be a slow process, approximately 4-5 hours. Children, elderly and guests will special needs will debark first. When passengers debark, they’ll be welcomed with warm food, beverages, blankets, cell phones and chargers in the cruise terminal. Carnival has a team of over 200 personnel in place to help passengers with debarkation and getting home.
On Friday, the Carnival Triumph will be moved to the shipyard for assessment.
Carnival also announced plans for the crew onboard. When the last guest is off the ship, hotel crew will be given the option to stay on board or go to a hotel in Mobile, spending 2-3 days. For crew who are close to the end of their contracts, the line will compensate them for the full term and send time on vacation early. Other crew will be transferred to other Carnival ships.
The deck and engine crew will stay on board tonight to help reposition the ship tomorrow and be moved to hotels for Friday night and going forward as they’ll part of the ship’s repair process.
The next 12 voyages for the Carnival Triumph have been canceled.