Forty buses brought 2,000 passengers from the crippled cruise ship Triumph to the Hilton Riverside Hotel in New Orleans.
But their five powerless days aboard the Triumph were still fresh in their minds. Stephanie Herrington of Houston stood in a cruise ship robe, and fought back tears.
"Once you get off the boat, it's still a scary experience becuase you think of everything that's happened prevuiously,” said Herrington. “It was horrible, there was no electricity, there wasn't any running toilets. People were having to use the bathroom in red plastic bags."
What started as a fun cruise turned scary Saturday night when fire broke out.
"It's like the worst alarm clock you can imagine, ‘Alpha Team, Alpha Team, Engine Room.’ You don't what's going on. We finally go out in the hallways and the smoke doors shut, and it fills up with smoke, and panic sets in,” said Jacob Combs, of Dallas.
The engines stopped, the ship lost power to provide even basic services, and the passengers suffered despite the crew's attempts to help.
"I never would have thought that when the power went out the first time, and I saw the smoke, I never, ever would have thought that we would have been stuck out at sea for five days, never,” said Sarah Jackson, of Dayton, Texas.
"What I was concerned about was the urine and feces smell. It just burned your eyes, and I don't understand why they couldn't have gotten somebody there to help us sooner,” said Bill Leason, of Houston.
And even the bus ride to New Orleans was not without incident for some passengers.
“We were driving on the highway, and the bus starts slowing down, and the bus pulls over, and it breaks down,” said Clark Jones, of Dallas.
Their stay in New Orleans was not a long one. Most left by mid morning for the airpiort and charter planes back to Houston. The last bus left the HIlton at 2 p.m.