The 4,229 exhausted passengers and crew on the disabled cruise ship Triumph are now on their way home from Mobile, Alabama, where they disembarked in the wee hours Friday after almost five grueling days at sea in the Gulf of Mexico.

"The 3,143 passengers have now disembarked that were on the Triumph and were taken to hotels or picked up by family members who were waiting for them at the dock" in Mobile, Joyce Oliva, spokeswoman for Carnival Cruise Lines, told Efe on Friday.

Many passengers got off the ship bundled up in their bathrobes, having never imagined they would need warm clothing when they sailed Feb. 7 from Galveston, Texas, on what was supposed to be a four-day cruise.

Television coverage showed the cruise ship in the port of Mobile with passengers standing on the decks and balconies, some bearing signs slamming the disastrous voyage and all celebrating their arrival with joy and excitement.

The passengers and 1,086 crew members saw all their plans for a pleasant cruise turned upside down last Sunday when fire crippled the ship's propulsion and air conditioning.

Conditions on board became more intolerable by the minute - only about a score of toilets were working, there were practically no hot meals and getting food meant waiting in line for hours.

Some passengers kissed the ground as soon as the got off the cruise ship while others noted the calm with which they had survived the whole ordeal, saying it was only a minority who spoke indignantly to the media about the horrible filth and smell of the corridors and the suspect state of the unrefrigerated food.

Carnival is the largest cruise line in the world. EFE