By Amy Farley
February 15, 2013

The disabled Carnival Triumph limped into port in Mobile, Alabama late Thursday night four days after a fire stranded it off the coast of Mexico and left it with limited power, air conditioning, and functioning toilets. Conditions aboard the ship had deteriorated, and its decidedly untriumphant return to the States was watched closely by the media. Here’s what’s being said:

CNN delivers an iReport compiling tweets and photos from Triumph passengers. Among them: shots of people sleeping in hallways and a tweet from a passenger thanking the ship’s crew for taking care of the ship.

Carnival is facing questions about whether the fire aboard Triumph is related to mechanical troubles that delayed the ship’s departure on a cruise just a month ago, according to the New York Times. The paper reports that these incidents “may help to inspire a wall of legal actions from passengers,” but “the ability of passengers to sue cruise ship operators is sharply limited.” Cruise lines routinely set limits on how much passengers can recover from them, and even where they can file lawsuits.

The Huffington Post takes a look at the potential economic impact on the cruise industry. Though cruise bookings haven’t yet taken a hit, experts agree that could change, especially as more damaging video and images of the Triumph emerge. The site quotes Michael Driscoll, editor of Cruise Week: “Many cruise sellers expect a harsh round of media coverage to spike Friday and over the weekend, as firsthand reports and visuals get reported in national media and the hometowns of people once they return from the cruise. Logically, that may cause a downward blip in bookings, but it is expected to pass quickly once the situation dies down.”

The Daily Beast enlists historian Andrew Roberts, a regular cruiser, to put the fiasco in perspective. “No one has died, unlike in other news stories around the globe from Iraq to Mexico,” he writes. “Yet overall the media absolutely adores cruise-ship stories, especially if they can be connected to effluent.”

Saying it was “treating a stalled cruise ship like it's the Shackleton expedition," Jon Stewart takes CNN to task for its wall-to-wall coverage of the ship’s return.

And finally, Cruise Critic reports that a bus carrying passengers from Mobile to New Orleans broke down in the early morning hours, leading one frustrated rider to tweet the hashtag “#helpmejesus.”

Have a travel dilemma? Need some tips and remedies? Send your questions to news editor Amy Farley at Follow @tltripdoctor on Twitter.