By Patsy R. Brumfield/NEMS Daily Journal
Nicole Enjoufor arrived by plane in Dallas, Texas, on Friday afternoon into the arms of her husband and daughter.
“He said, ‘I’m so glad you made it,’” the Lee County native recalled her first words from her husband, Victor, by phone as she walked away from the disabled Carnival cruise ship Triumph at dock in Mobile, Ala., in the wee hours of Friday morning.
Enjoufor and 4,200 others – passengers and crew – cheered as they came to their journey’s end after days adrift in a powerless vessel.
She was met by her parents, Lee and Nellie Betts of the Palmetto community, who’d driven through Thursday night to arrive at 5 a.m. in Mobile to wait.
“Mama just cried and cried when she saw me,” 34-year-old Enjoufor recalled.
The massive cruiseliner left Galveston, Texas, on Feb. 7 bound for Cozamel, Mexico. After a stop on the Mexico coast, it headed back toward the U.S. with plans to return to Galveston on Sunday.
It was Enjoufor’s first cruise, taken for a business conference. It also was her last, she said.
But a massive power failure brought down all the ship’s systems from its engines to toilets.
Passengers spent five numbing days of food shortages, foul odors, Caribbean heat and overflowing toilets. It took about four hours for all passengers to disembark.
Ultimately, tugboats pulled the disabled ship into Mobile. Friday morning, they moved it backward down a waterway toward the shipyard where city officials said the vessel will be repaired.
Other passengers headed home on chartered flights or by buses to Galveston, where they’d left their vehicles.
Enjoufor, a 1996 graduate of Shannon High School, said she’s looking forward to a weekend of washing her clothes, then getting back to work Monday as a registered nurse.
She also said she’s got plenty of stories to tell her husband and their 13-year-old daughter, Anisia, after her flight out of Mobile.
“Oh, my goodness, do I!” she said, with a tired laugh. “I’m just worn out.”
Her next vacation?
“I’m going to find me a beach,” Enjoufor said, “just one to be on, not to float on.”