'We're praying for them': Conditions aboard cruise ship described as "foul, disgusting"

CROWLEY - The students, faculty and staff at Notre Dame High School had much more to pray for during Ash Wednesday services at the school yesterday morning.

As reported by The Post-Signal on Tuesday, five of their students - four freshmen and one junior - are on board the stricken cruise ship Carnival Triumph that has made national headlines this week after the vessel lost power following an engine fire. The ship is slowly being towed to port in Mobile, Ala. It is expected to arrive sometime Thursday.

“We’ve been praying for them for the last few days,” said Notre Dame Principal Cindy Istre. “We offered prayers for them this morning during our Ash Wednesday service ... praying for their safe return.”

Suzette Dietz, whose sister and sister’s children are among the passengers aboard the ship, said passengers will be given two options upon disembarking in Mobile.

They will be offered an eight-hour bus trip to Houston with a connecting charter bus to Galveston, Texa,s where most have vehicles parked; or Carnival Cruise Lines will “put them up” in hotels in Mobile overnight then fly them to Houston on Friday for the bus trip to Galveston.

Conditions on the cruise ship have been described as unbearable. People onboard the ship have said that crew members are passing out plastic bags for them to use “to relieve themselves” and that there are long lines to get food.

“We are looking forward to their return,” said Istre. “And I’m sure they are ready to get home.”

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