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Local woman tells her story aboard infamous Carnival cruise ship

By: Steven Powell Email
By: Steven Powell Email

PARIS, TX -- A group from Paris was among the thousands of people aboard the Carnival cruise ship stranded at sea for four days without power.

Last night they made it to shore. And today, most of them have finally made it home.

Paris native Karley Jackson said she couldn't wait to get back to Texas.

"It was a long week," she said.

Power on the ship went out Sunday morning, after engine fire.

"When we stopped in the ocean and weren't moving, and just sat - and we didn't hear anything for a long time - that's when it got a little nerve wracking," she said.

Jackson said they were fortunate to have a room with a balcony to get air circulation.

"Because those people that were on the bottom, they were the ones on the deck the whole time," she said.

She said people formed communities and helped each other out as much as they could.

"Everybody kept their doors open - all the way down the hallways," she said. "And we tried to let people, if they needed somewhere to sleep they could sleep on our beds, on our balconies. We had an extra mattress, a couch."

She didn't eat the first day - mostly because she was too worried to think about food. But also because the menu of onion sandwiches didn't sound appetizing.

"It got better and better. By the third day - or maybe it was the second day, they kinda all ran together - they had chicken and pork. So they had meat."

Her dad, Travis Jackson, said they talked to her Monday - and then lost communication with her until the ship reached port Thursday.

And he said Carnival gave them very little information.

"My wife would agree that we just became basically non-functional," he said. "Because they just became missing people at that point."

Karley said she stayed positive the whole time. And she couldn't give the crew enough credit.

"They were amazing. I could not do their job," she said. "They worked around the clock, they always had a smile on their face, they always greeted you."

She didn't even know the ship was national news until they docked.

We asked her if she'd go on a cruise in the future.

"We're planning to go back in a year or so and have a reunion cruise," she said.

Her dad Travis laughed, but wasn't so eager.

"I'm not sure ... I'm not sure if I can handle that," he said.


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