MOBILE, Ala. (WPMI) Carnival cruise lines are now offering more compensation to passengers aboard the Triumph. Not only are passengers receiving a full refund, they're getting a future cruise credit up to the amount they spent on this voyage and $500 cash.
Carnival is also paying for transportation expenses home. They've enlisted the help of several local charter bus companies. These companies are spending the day getting prepared to lend a hand.
It was a busy day at Kingdom Coach as employees prepared for a busy Valentine's Day on the road. All 15 of the company's buses are being cleaned and inspected in preparation for Carnival Triumph's arrival.
"It's quite an endeavor. A lot of logistics are involved. Different challenges are finding the coaches, getting the buses there, finding the drivers and just having everyone prepared," said owner Clyde Smith.
Overall 100 buses from various companies will take passengers either directly to Texas or to New Orleans, where they'll spend the night in hotels before flying out on private charters the next day.
"Then for several days we'll be taking their crew back and forth from the hotels in the areas because they'll be repairing the ship," said Smith.
Barry Ponquinette is one of the many drivers headed west. He knows the passengers are counting on him to make it home safely after a rough few days at sea.
"It makes me feel good. We just like helping people. We're people's people," said Ponquinette.
Smith says his staff is used to responding to emergencies and disasters, the most recent being Hurricane Isaac. And in these types of situations, good customer service is of utmost importance.
"We're telling our people that, okay, they're probably not going to be in the best of moods. But, give them good southern hospitality and welcome them here in Mobile and treat their needs as much we can," said Smith.
Two other local bus companies are helping Thursday. Gulf Coast Tours and Colonial Trailways are each sending eight buses.