With replenishments from sister ships that eventually arrived, the Triumph never ran out of food. But the offerings got skimpy. Sandwiches with little more than a scrap or two of tuna, or a piece of cucumber. Dry cereal. What there was was hoarded and fought over by passengers worried they’d run out, Safarzadeh said. The lines to get anything to eat were at times four hours long. There were many tense moments, people cutting in line and arguing with each other.
“People were just piling it on their plates,” Safarzadeh said. “Then you’d go back into the hallways and there’s half a plate of food left that they didn’t even eat. People were getting in fights for a cup of coffee.”
Everyone had a breaking point, Safarzadeh said. Everyone in her group broke down crying at one point.
“People were taking sleeping pills and anti-anxiety pills,” Tipton said, “and sitting in the sun on the open deck of a ship, just eating bread—people started to get a little loopy.”
Key to maintaining composure, Shanar said, was distraction. People told complete strangers their life stories. They read magazines. They played cards for hours.
To distract passengers, Carnival’s crew hosted a Mardi Gras party on Tuesday night, and screened movies.