PHOENIX - For Debbie Moyes, her decision to take a vacation with her girlfriends was based purely on the number of days away from family.
“It was only four days on the cruise ship, so I wanted to do that one instead of the five day one. All of us girls were going to miss our kids, but we were very excited because we hadn’t seen each other since college,” said Moyes.
Everything was going as planned for Moyes and her friends until the second day. Everything came to a halt when Moyes was awakened by banging on her door.
“He said, 'there's a fire, get out, evacuate, get to the lifeboats, and we see there's smoke covering the hallway,'” said Moyes.
The cruise liner was crippled following a fire in the ship’s engine . It left Moyes, along with some 4,000 other passengers stranded.
“People were hoarding food, because people were afraid. We didn't know if we would get food again. So people were grabbing just as much as they could, stuffing it down their shirts and bags and just kind of keeping it in their little areas,” said Moyes.
Moyes focused on eating dry foods and fresh fruit since the majority of the food became spoiled over time. Many times she and her friends had to wait in line for hours to get one meal.
“The milk my girlfriend got poured out in clumps. I just tried to stay away from all the seafood, pre-made stuff,” said Moyes.
Moyes, along with her four girlfriends, brought their mattresses and sheets from their cabins to the outer deck. They slept, ate, and spent their time in their tented area along with thousands of other passengers due to the unsanitary conditions inside their cabins.
“We had to use the sinks and showers as toilets because our toilets weren’t working. When the ship would rock, the sewage would spill out onto the floors and drip down the walls,” said Moyes.
Almost everything was out of commission on the ship including the elevators, which played a pivotal role for Moyes who was recently diagnosed with multiple sclerosis.
“I had to walk up and down seven flights of stairs multiple times a day. It was really hard on me and I asked for help but the staff said they couldn’t. They told me to have my friends carry me,” said Moyes.
Moyes got back home to Phoenix on Friday morning and has since been spending time with her husband and four kids.
She is going back and forth on whether or not to take legal action for everything she endured on board the cruise.
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