OAKLAND (CBS SF) — An Oakland woman says she feels lucky to be home after spending several days aboard the disabled Carnival cruise ship Triumph after it broke down in the middle of the Gulf of Mexico.

The U.S. Coastguard said on Monday an engine-room fire, stemmed from a leak in the fuel oil return line. They estimate an investigation of the disabled ship will take six months.

Alexa Benedetti has a whole new appreciation for working toilets and hot showers and said it’s a trip she won’t soon forget. According to the vacationer, the conditions on board were the most disgusting she’s ever experienced.

“It was completely surreal. I never expected this to be on my all-planned and nothing to worry about vacation,” she said.

Benedetti was with six college friends on the Carnival Triumph. She said she loved the first part of her trip until the fire that knocked out power and sewage.

She said the smell and overflowing sewage was disgusting.

“It was disgusting and I was in the Peace Corps and I had a latrine and didn’t have running water and had irregular electricity and had to learn to carry a bucket of water on my head. I would have preferred to go back to those conditions.”

Benedetti gave credit to the crew but said she thinks Carnival was unprepared.

“He gave like a half-hour press conference and then he came on to the boat and gave an announcement over the loud speaker and another apology, which is really nice, except at this point we’ve been docked 45 minutes and there’s 3,200 passengers and 1,000 crew and we want to get off this boat,” she said.

Despite her ordeal, Benedetti does not rule out the possibility of going on another cruise in the future. Meanwhile, Carnival is offering passengers refunds, discounts on future cruises and compensation packages.

(Copyright 2013 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)


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