DALLAS (CBS 11 NEWS) – Passengers on the Carnival Triumph have described hallways filled with sewage, people fighting over food, and sickness sweeping over the ship.

“I’m just glad I’m not on that ship now, because I was last week,” said Phillip VanSchoonhoven, of Hurst.

He saved records of his trip aboard the Triumph, showing he boarded January 28th.

Even then, he said, this ship was clearly having problems.

After the ship was several hours late leaving the port of Galveston, passengers received a letter from the captain, explaining “during the previous cruise” the ship had “experienced a technical problem.”

A second letter later that day warned they would have to cancel a visit to Cozumel because of “a problem with the ship’s propulsion system” … “affecting our maximum cruising speed.”

“They knew they had an issue!” said VanSchoonhoven.

A spokesperson for Carnival Cruises, though, claims the engine fire that’s left the Triumph stranded is unrelated to an earlier problem with one of the ship’s alternators, which affected cruises in recent weeks.

Families, meanwhile, are eagerly awaiting the return of more than 3,000 passengers.

In Arlington, Nina Landrith says her son Randy and his wife planned to be back home in time for her 77th birthday Monday.

Instead, they spent it, suffering at sea, which is exactly how they now expect to spend their 16th wedding anniversary tomorrow.

“He said, ‘It’s bad. People are throwing up, you know, they’re sick, because of the stuff the commodes are overflowing,’” she said.

Landrith says, she’s looking forward to seeing him back home safe, and for her sake, avoiding any more cruises in the near future.

“I hope he does not go on another one,” she said. “He’s 46, 47 years old, but he’s still my baby.”

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