TODAY | February 12, 2013
>>> carnival cruise liner stranded in the gulf of mexico after a weekend engine fire. a decision was made overnight to tow the ship back to the u.s. as frustration mounts for thousands of passengers. nbc's janet shamlian is in galveston, texas, where the cruise originated. good morning to you.
>> reporter: savannah, good morning to you. that trip was supposed to arrive right back here at the port of galveston yesterday. yet today it remains crippled in the gulf with conditions that are said to be worsening by the hour. now there's more bad news. for the thousands of passengers who are on board. late last night carnival cruiseline said this ship will be stuck at sea an additional 24 hours , not arriving back wednesday as they originally had said, but now coming back on thursday. that news comes as we're hearing from passengers who are on board, describing the conditions for the very first time. more than 4,200 passengers and crew are spending their third day on the the hobbled vessel. port of progreso in mexico and fly passengers back to the united states . but strong currents pulled that ship north. it's as close to mobile as it was to progreso so they're going to be towed into mobile. 90-degree heat, no air conditioning and few working toilets.
>> they've done everything that they can to keep the situation down and make everyone happy.
>> on a girlfriends' cruise with about 200 women, she was able to call our affiliate and describe what it's like.
>> the rooms are very hot unless you have a balancony room but if you have an interior room like mine it's pretty dark in there and it's very stuffy. especially if someone used your bathroom, because you can't flush it.
>> donna says the shift has been listing.
>> we were at a pretty good tilt. to walk, you literally walk sideways.
>> this man's wife and three children are among the passengers.
>> they staked out deck chairs and had a makeshift tent over it and were going to sleep on it overnight.
>> carnival is the fun line. i don't know if it's the fun line now.
>> reporter: in a statement carnival says we're terribly sorry for the inconvenience, discomfort and frustration our guests are feeling. we know they expected a fantastic vacation and clearly that is not what they received. still, some passengers are trying to keep a sense of humor about the ordeal. one tweeting bucket list item accomplished, marooned at sea. i wouldn't recommend it. carnival says docking the ship back here in the united states will make it easier for those traveling without a passport than the original plan, which was to take the ship to mexico. the fact remains that it keeps these people on board an additional 24 hours in conditions people are describing as two and three-hour waits for limited hot and cold food and with few working toilets, really awful sanitary conditions . back to you.
>> what a miserable time for those passengers. thanks for the