Family shares experience on crippled Carnival Triumph

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SEDALIA, Mo. -- Jim Van Horn's daughter and granddaughter Stephanie and Hannah Kolasky are among the 3,000 plus passengers on the crippled cruise ship, Triumph.

"I was kind of panicky, but then after I was able to talk to the customer service people I was calmed down a little bit because I knew that everyone was safe," Van Horn said.

Since Sunday, the Carnival Triumph's been without power, and there were horror stories of putrid smells and horrible conditions.

"It was just all the dire consequences of all these people and their descriptions of how horrible it was," said Van Horn.

Van Horn was concerned because it was all happening while Hannah was celebrating her second birthday on Valentine's Day.

What can you do if you have a disastrous vacation? Suing may be an option, but cruise ship expert, Ross Klein, says it's not easy.

"According to their passenger contract, if they were to file any lawsuit, it has to be filed in the state of Florida with carnival," Klein explained.

Klein also says there are other stipulations and it takes an attorney well-versed in the industry.  Klein says trip insurance is a must.

"I think a person is going to be very wise to to have insurance if they're going to go on a cruise or any vacation," Klein recommended.

AAA reps say what trip insurance will cover depends on the package and kind of trip you go on, but they recommend it too.

As for Stephanie and Hannah, they'll at least be compensated by Carnival.  The company says each passenger will get five hundred dollars, a full reimbursement, and a future cruise credit.

Stephanie says she can't wait to go on another cruise, especially a Carnival cruise.  She told her dad her experience wasn't as bad as some of the stories people have heard and the staff was wonderful, but next time, she'd like to be on a newer ship.

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