People spent five days on the cruise from hell and all they got was $500 and a crappy apology

Disabled Cruise Ship
The cruise ship Carnival Triumph is pushed towards the cruise terminal along the Mobile River in Mobile, Ala., Thursday, Feb. 14, 2013. The ship with more than 4,200 passengers and crew members was idled for nearly a week in the Gulf of Mexico following an engine room fire. (AP Photo/Dave Martin)

The Carnival Triumph finally arrived at port in Mobile, Alabama on Thursday evening. Folks on board had been camping in a shanty town on the ship's deck, defecating in bags, and brawling over cold onion sandwiches since an engine fire left the vessel stranded, treading water in the Gulf of Mexico.

When they finally reached land, sweet and glorious land, on Thursday/Friday, they were greeted by Carnival's CEO Gerry Cahill, who was there to shake their hands, offer them complimentary bus trips to Galveston, Texas or New Orleans, Louisiana, and $500 in addition to the complimentary cruise they'd earned by enduring their first, shitty vacation.

You just spent five days rationing Dramamine and playing Lord of the Flies on what has got to be the worst vacation you've ever taken. You were probably only a few hours away from voting on which person in your party would be eaten first. When you finally reached land on Thursday evening, what was the first thing you wanted to do? Oh, get on a bus for eight hours? Perfect. That's what Carnival was banking on.

Also, on what planet is $500 reasonable compensation for the literal shit these people had to endure? One passenger and his wife offered assistance to the elderly because they say the captain and crew weren't around.

When they noticed no one from Carnival was stepping up to help the elderly and sick get around, they and other passengers offered to help, Gill said, carting mattresses and bedding up from the lower decks.

By Monday, they had started a prayer group.

On Monday, he started gathering with a prayer group, where people worried about getting sick at sea, about their kids and jobs back home. By Wednesday, they had attracted 200 people.

Things got real when Allie Taylor's father ran out of snuff.

"It got super duper scary" after the engine fire, she said, standing in the parking lot in flip flops. "I said ‘Daddy, what’s going on?’ and he said ‘I don’t know.'"

Later, Allie said she ended up being the stabilizing influence -- when her father ran out of snuff.

"I tried to calm him down," she said.

Ugh. The whole story is just awful. And $500 doesn't even cover the time these people took off from work. I realize that every bit of information about the Carnival cruise from hell can be punctuated with a #FirstWorldProblems, but that doesn't trivialize how miserable their week was. A bus ride home, $500, and an invitation to give Carnival a second shot hardly seems worth it. [Los Angeles Times]

UPDATE: Be surprised that one of the buses headed for New Orleans broke down. I dare you, be surprised.