GALVESTON — You've seen the pictures of the red plastic bags turned into bathrooms and the raw sewage running down the walls of the ill-fated Carnival Triumph cruise ship.
But now, a Galveston woman is out with an e-book promising the "real truth" about what happened. Christina Peaden's account is very different, but still scary.
First there was the engine fire that left the Carnival Triumph without power, adrift in the Gulf of Mexico, like a tale from a book.
"We are drifting terribly," Peaden said. "The leaning of the ship is very uncomfortable... a very uneasy feeling."
Peaden often keeps journals, and this first cruise for her and her family turned into quite a chronicle. Without power, the ship began to list, and some passengers braced for the worst.
"Oh honey, I was the first one wearing the life jackets," she said.
Peaden decided to self-publish Triumph Over Calamity on Amazon in part because she felt complaints about the cruise were overplayed, although she, too, used buckets as toilets like her shipmates.
"There was no waste on the floors," she said. "There was liquid... it was water."
While there were long lines for food — which was often cold — she said the menu, while repetitive, was good.
"Always fresh salad, fresh fruit, they had yogurt," Peaden said. "For dinner we would have shrimp, lobster."
Make no mistake — she was frightened at times. When another ship lowered boats with provisions, it got scary.
"It was something you see in the movies, with lifeboats slamming against the ram, the windows busting out," she recalled.
But overall, this mother of four thought the situation at sea was manageable, and said the crew did the best they could.
In fact, Peaden is planning another cruise on board a Carnival ship in April.