By: Ashley Harding
An emotional, yet joyous welcome home after an unimaginable ordeal. After spending days stranded on the Carnival Triumph, Jim and Jeanne Pearson are thankful to be alive.
"I feel gratitude to God for keeping us safe and sane, so we could come home and see our family again," said Jeanne Pearson.
A fire in the engine room left the ship without power. Then a snapped towline delayed the Triumph's arrival in Alabama. As a result, the Pearsons, along with more than 4, 200 passengers, were left to contend with horrible conditions. There was no air conditioning, food was running low, and there was no connection to the outside world for days. That was only the beginning.
"All the sewage started running through the drains and started running into the room. Our carpet was saturated, so we had to move out just immediately," said Jim Pearson.
Like so many passengers, the Pearsons moved their mattresses out onto the deck and huddled together to stay warm. For the couple who'd been married for 49 years, there were moments when they wondered if they would make it to 50.
"We thought if we were going to die, we were going to die together. Some people thought that was dark, but that was reality," said Jeanne.
The Pearsons say they were never separated for more than a few minutes at a time. They say their devotion to each other helped them get through this ordeal. They also credit their faith.
"It's not luck. It just God's grace that we're here today," said Jeanne.
"You could sense His presence," said Jim.
The Pearsons say Carnival has promised them a voucher for another cruise. They say this cruise was their first and will be their last. In the future, they plan to spend their vacations on solid ground.