BROWNWOOD, Texas - Passengers aboard the Carnival cruise ship stranded at sea last week are home.
That includes Brownwood couple Michael and Sandra Richardson.
Knowing the outcome of their trip could have been much worse, the two don't describe the Triumph trip as having been a tragedy.
"Wonderful, I think it's one of the best vacations we've ever had – those first three days," said Sandra.
"Absolutely, I'd say the first three days were just unbelievable. They treated you like kings and queens on the ship," said Michael.
After day three of the four-day cruise, the Richardsons' best vacation took a nose dive.
"5:30 in the morning when the captain comes on the intercom and asks for the alpha team, you know it's pretty bad," said Sandra.
The smoke they saw coming from the Triumph only confirmed their fears.
"We don't know much about ships, and about engines, and how they run, but that did not look like that was supposed to be happening," said Sandra.
The Richardsons were fortunate to have running water to shower and the ability to sleep in their room. Many on lower levels weren't as lucky.
"There were certainly people who had a worse experience than we did, and sleeping out on the deck when you're not prepared to be camping was really tough," said Sandra.
When it comes to food, Michael and Sandra said they were never starving.
"I bring a sandwich back and Sandy's like 'What is that?' I go, 'I'm not sure, I'm not going to look at it. I'm just going to eat it,' so I take a bite and there's onion in it, and it was a cucumber onion sandwich," said Michael.
The Richardsons said they stayed positive and joked about the situation, which helped.
When Sandra went back to work at Brownwood Middle School on Monday, the school had some jokes for her.
"Everybody, they just embrace me and welcome me back, certainly with a lot of humor," said Sandra.
Immediately upon returning home, the Richardsons said in unison, "It was life back to normal!"
The Richardsons added their two sons and daughter had the house spotless when they got home, and they plan to take their kids on a cruise in the future.