Nightmare Ends: Passengers Leave Disabled Ship

After five days without power in the Gulf of Mexico, the Carnival Triumph cruise ship carrying more than 4,000 people arrived in Mobile, Ala., to greet a cheering crowd of friends and family members waiting to embrace their loved ones.

Passengers began to disembark the damaged ship around 10:15 p.m. CT Thursday and continued into the overnight hours. Other waiting passengers lined the decks of the ship, waving, and whistling to those on shore. "Happy V-Day" read a homemade sign made for the Valentine's Day arrival and another, more starkly: "The ship's afloat, so is the sewage."

Some still aboard chanted, "Let me off, let me off!" and "Sweet Home Alabama."

The Carnival Triumph departed Galveston, Texas, last Thursday and lost power Sunday after a fire in the engine room disabled the vessel's propulsion system and knocked out most of its power.

After power went out, passengers texted ABC News that sewage was seeping down the walls from burst plumbing pipes, carpets were wet with urine, and food was in short supply. Reports surfaced of elderly passengers running out of critical heart medicine and others on board squabbling over scarce food.

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Passengers said many of the cabins became intolerable with the smell of raw sewage. They were forced to create makeshift beds out of lounge chairs on the ship's deck.

AP Photo/John David Mercer

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"We kind of camped out by our lifeboat. We would have nightmares about Titanic basically happening," passenger Kendall Jenkins told ABC News Radio after disembarking from the ship.

"I am just so blessed to be back home," she added.

Jenkins was one of many passengers that were photographed kissing the ground when they exited the ship.

WATCH: Carnival CEO Gerry Cahill Apologizes to Passengers

Approximately 100 buses were waiting to take passengers on the next stage of their journey. Passengers have the option to take a bus ride to New Orleans or Galveston, Texas, where the ill-fated ship's voyage began. From there, passengers will take flights home, which Carnival said they would pay for.

Inside the buses, Carnival handed out bags of food that included French fries, chicken nuggets, honey mustard barbecue sauce and apples.

Deborah Knight, 56, decided to stay in Mobile after the arduous journey was over rather than board a bus for a long ride. Her husband Seth drove in from Houston and they checked in at a downtown Mobile hotel.

"I want a hot shower and a daggum Whataburger," said Knight.

She said she was afraid to eat the food on board and had gotten sick while on the ship.

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For 24-year-old Brittany Ferguson of Texas, not knowing how long passengers had to endure their time aboard was the worst part.

"I'm feeling awesome just to see land and buildings," Ferguson said, who was in a white robe given to her aboard. "The scariest part was just not knowing when we'd get back," she told The Associated Press.

Carnival president and CEO Gerry Cahill praised the ship's crew and told reporters that he was headed on board to apologize directly to its passengers shortly before the Carnival Triumph arrived in Mobile.

"I know the conditions on board were very poor," Cahill said Thursday night. "I know it was very difficult, and I want to apologize again for subjecting our guests for that. ... Clearly, we failed in this particular case."

Luckily no one was hurt in the fire they triggered the power outage, but many passengers aboard the 900 foot colossus said they smelled smoke and were living in fear.

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