A Brazoria County passenger on the stricken Triumph cruise filed suit in a Miami court Friday over "horrifying" conditions.
Cassie Terry, of Lake Jackson, alleged Carnival "failed to provide a seaworthy vessel and sanitary conditions," according to court documents.
The ship was in the third day of a planned four-day cruise when a fire in an engine room left it with no propulsion, listing to the side, drifting in Gulf of Mexico currents. In addition to the crew, it was carrying more than 3,100 passengers.
The power outages put many toilets out of order. Some commodes overflowed, splashing the floors with waste as the ship listed and sending urine and feces sloshing across floors and down hallways, passengers reported.
"Plaintiff was forced to endure deplorable, unsafe and unsanitary conditions, including but not limited to, sweltering temperatures, lack of power and air conditioning, lack of hot or running water, and lack of working toilets," the lawsuit stated.
Terry "feared for her life and safety, under constant threat of contracting serious illness by the raw sewage filling the vessel, and suffering actual or some bodily injury," according to the court document.
The lawsuit said passengers were forced to "wade through human feces in order to reach food lines where the wait was counted in hours, only to receive rations of spoiled food. Plaintiff was forced to subsist for days in a floating toilet, a floating Petri dish, a floating hell."
According to the complaint, "Defendant knew the vessel was not seaworthy, either at the time it contracted with Plaintiff, or at the point of departure, but did not advise Plaintiff the Vessel had and was experiencing problems with its propulsion and/or engine room fire suppression equipment."
Terry is suing for unspecified damages and requested a jury trial.
Lawyer Brent Allison, a partner in Gilman & Allison of Pearland, Texas, said Terry "was feeling nauseated and running a fever."
Asked what his client was seeking, he said, "It's too early to put any type of number" on it.
"We have not yet seen the suit and are not in a position to comment," Carnival said in a statement.
Carnival has said it would give each passenger $500, a free flight home, a full refund for their trip and for most expenses on board, as well as a credit for another cruise.
Maritime attorneys say it's difficult but not impossible to win a case unless the plaintiff can show actual injury or illness.