KENNER, La -- As the Carnival Triumph listed in the Gulf of Mexico, a New Orleans-based cruise ship came to its initial aid.
The Carnival Elation departed New Orleans on Saturday heading towards Mexico when it was diverted towards the ailing ship. It's a sight the Elation's passengers said they would not soon forget.
"You could tell the boat was listing," said Carlos Lopez of Kenner.
"I was kind of freaking out," said Tina Lopez, Carlos' wife.
The Lopez family was part of a group of Kenner residents who departed on a cruise heading towards Progreso, Mexico. On Sunday, while in the Gulf the ship made a slight detour.
"The captain came on the announcement and said, ‘We have to stop and help the Triumph,’ ” Tina Lopez recalled.
For Edward LeBlanc, it was his first cruise and a sight to behold.
"They were just wondering what was going on, too, just like all of us," LeBlanc recalled upon spotting the Triumph in the water.
Like many on the ship, Lopez and LeBlanc took pictures of the ailing Carnival Triumph stranded in the Gulf.
"You could see the ship out there, it's just listing by itself and then as we got closer, then you could see all the other people waving at us," Carlos Lopez said.
Passengers on both ships flocked to the deck as smaller boats from the Elation ferried food to the more than 4,000 people stuck on the Triumph.
"Some guy gave me his binoculars and you could see everybody waving and taking pictures at us," Tina Lopez said, "and we're waving and taking pictures at them – thanking God we're not on that ship."
Lopez said from the late afternoon until dark, the boats traveled back and forth between the ships. As night fell, passengers on the Elation realized just how dark it looked on the Triumph, grateful that they were not in the same situation.
Despite what they saw, the group said it would not stop them from taking another cruise in the future.
"[It] doesn't scare me off, but I think they should have better planning on how to take care of something like this instead of letting all those people suffer out there," Carlos Lopez said.
The Carnival Elation returned to New Orleans Thursday morning.