He said waste tipped out of some commodes and sloshed across floors as the ship listed to the side.
"It runs down the walls from one floor to the next. It's running out of somebody's bathroom out into the hallway all the way across," he said.
Long lines for food and frequent delays were constantly aggravating, he said.
"Here we are looking for hope that, hey it's 6 o'clock, it's going to get better," he said. "And 6 o'clock comes and goes and all of a sudden an announcement at 8, 'Hey, we're running behind schedule.' Well, no joke."
The incident aboard the ship scared Poret's daughter and a friend taking the cruise with her, Poret said.
"As soon as you get them calmed down, the electric goes out and doors start slamming shut," he said.
During less stressful times, passengers passed the hours playing cards, walking the deck and going to see what was happening on other areas of the ship, Poret said.
Passengers set up charging stations to help their fellow passengers juice up cell phones and other devices, he said.
The final trip home
Carnival promised an army of about 200 employees would take care of its passengers once they cleared customs.
Passengers boarded buses to Galveston, where the cruise originated, or Houston, or went to spend the night in a hotel in New Orleans.
Carnival said it had reserved about 100 motor coaches, more than 1,500 New Orleans hotel rooms, multiple charter flights from New Orleans to Houston on Friday and transportation from Houston to the Port of Galveston so that guests may retrieve their cars if they drove to the port.
Carnival officials had initially planned to tow the ship to a Mexican port, but after Gulf currents pushed it farther north before tugboats could take control, and considering that 900 of the passengers do not have passports, the company decided to take the Carnival Triumph to Mobile instead, where it can be repaired.
Compensation for travelers
The cruise line said it would give each passenger $500, a free flight home, a full refund for their trip and for most expenses on board, as well as a credit for another cruise.
The Coast Guard and the National Transportation Safety Board launched an investigation into the cause of the engine room fire. Because the Carnival Triumph is a Bahamian-flagged vessel, the Bahamas Maritime Authority is the primary investigative agency.
Travelers have few options for compensation in these cases, other than what the cruise line is already offering, according to travel expert Jason Clampet of Skift.com, a travel website.
"The passengers on the ship aren't going to have a great deal of recourse when they get home," he said. Travel "insurance really doesn't cover this sort of thing. Their trip wasn't interrupted and they aren't incurring extra expenses ... so they can't be compensated that way."
Still, there's no denying that the fire and resulting bad PR will hurt Carnival.
"It's a terrible sight, thinking of people trapped on a ship with limited food and filthy conditions, so I think people will think twice about taking a cruise," Clampet said.