A Red Bluff couple was on board the same Carnival Cruise ship just two weeks before it became stuck out at sea.
The Triumph became disabled after an engine fire Sunday. Tugboats are pushing it back to dry land in Mobile, Alabama. It's expected to arrive Thursday night.
Mike and Mary Gonzales of Red Bluff traveled on the Triumph two weeks ago, and said it was a trip filled with problems. They weren't surprised the ship broke down at sea on Sunday.
"We weren't surprised at all. I don't think anybody on the cruise we were on was surprised that it broke down," Mike and Mary Gonzales told us.
They said they planned, what was supposed to be, a relaxing, romantic getaway around the Gulf of Mexico two weeks ago to celebrate their 32nd wedding anniversary.
They said from the start things started to go downhill. Rather than heading out in the morning, the couple was notified that Carnival's "Triumph" ship would leave in the afternoon due to propulsion issues.
The Gonzales' said the propulsion issues were not a big deal but when they arrived to the port, it was pure chaos.
"There were only two scanners going for 3,100 passengers. We ended up spending three hours in line," Mary Gonzales said.
The couple said they ended up losing a full day, rather than a half day of sailing. They said they did not get out of port in Galveston until 9 or 9:30 that night.
Over the course of the four-night cruise, they were supposed to make two stops, but because of lost time, they said the trip was cut short. They said they were told they would only be stopping at one port, rather than two.
The Gonzales said this immediately put a damper on their vacation.
"We had plans of buying shore excursions while we were on this trip because I'm a certified scuba diver and Mike loves to snorkel," said Mary.
Once again, they said the ship was delayed. They didn't get to Progreso until the afternoon, rather than the morning.
The couple said they were told everyone needed to be back on the ship by 3:30 the next afternoon, only giving them only two half days to explore.
"We wanted at least one full day on port where we could go on an adventure," Mary said.
They boarded the ship the next day, only to find out they would be delayed because of propulsion problems again, meaning they could have had a full day after all.
After hearing about the Triumph getting stuck out at sea this week, the Gonzales' said it is clear they never fixed the problems the ship was having.
The Gonzales' said that people shouldn't trust the cruise line because if their experience was any indication of how it treats its customers and maintain its equipment, "my goodness, you are at their mercy when you are out to sea."
To top it off, the couple says when they were headed back to the Galveston Port, they were told it would not make it on time.
They said they changed their flights around, as did many other passenger, but this time, it actually did make it on time. They said they made all those changes for nothing.
The couple contacted Carnival and said all they got was a $50 on-board credit.
Carnival responded to a KRCR News Channel 7 request for information about the problems encountered by Mike and Mary Gonzales.
In a written statement, Carnival Cruise said:
"Carnival Triumph previously experienced an electrical issue with one of the ship's alternators. Repairs were conducted by the alternator supplier and were fully completed on February 2. Comprehensive testing of the repaired alternator was conducted and certified successful by both the alternator supplier as well as a third party verification organization. There is no evidence at this time of any relationship between this previous issue and the fire that occurred on Feb. 10."
Sincerely, Aly Bello-Cabreriza, Carnival Cruise Lines