GALVESTON — Island resident C.A. Peaden had never been on a cruise ship before she boarded the ill-fated voyage of the Carnival Triumph so she decided to bring a laptop and a notebook to journal about the experience.
“Bringing the notebook turned out to be a smart decision since we lost electricity,” she said.
The fire in the ship’s engine room left it dead in the water off the coast of the Yucatán Peninsula, and it had to be towed to Mobile, Ala.
Peaden has compiled an account of the voyage and has self-published “Triumph over Calamity” as an e-book on Amazon.
She documented the day-to-day experiences from the cabin she shared with her husband and their three daughters, which she said really weren’t as bad as other passengers made them out to be.
“There’s a divide in what people have been telling the media about their experiences and what actually happened,” she said. “The cruise wasn’t just bare bones, and we weren’t walking in sewage.”
While on board, Peaden said she documented the spectrum of psychological reactions people had to the “calamity.”
“It annoyed me that some people were complaining about eating onion sandwiches,” she said. “They were exaggerating. I’d like everyone to know that we did have choices and did not just eat onion sandwiches.”
Those reactions probably depended on people’s life experiences before boarding, she said.
“If you’ve gone through calamities before, this was something you can manage,” Peaden said. “But if you’ve come from a cush life and haven’t experienced adversity, you would have had a harder time dealing with it.”
She did have concerns about safety at times, however.
“The worst thing someone could go through on a ship is a fire,” Peaden said. “I decided if I get off this boat, I need to get back in touch with my faith. I feel like God allowed me to get off the ship with my children.”
As a full-time mother and sometimes-writer, Peaden said she was apprehensive about self-publishing “Triumph over Calamity.”
But the experience was simple and motivated her to publish other stories she’s written over the years, she said.
“I’ve written stuff before and never felt that urge to publish,” she said. “But I realized this wasn’t just a journal anymore. It’s a story, it’s a book. And people need to know the real story.”