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Next for Carnival Triumph cruise passengers? A 2-hour bus ride and $500.

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"It's just a nightmare," she said.

Baker said she and her friends slept with their life vests one night because the ship was listing and they feared it would tip over.

Vivian Tilley, whose sister, Renee Shanar, is on the ship, said Shanar, of Houston, told her the cabins were hot and smelled like smoke from the engine fire, forcing passengers to stay on the deck. She also said people were getting sick.

The company has disputed the accounts of passengers who describe the ship as filthy, saying employees are doing everything to ensure people are comfortable.

Meanwhile, officials in Mobile were preparing a cruise terminal that has not been used for a year to help passengers go through customs after their ordeal. The Triumph is expected to arrive Thursday afternoon.

Mobile Mayor Sam Jones questioned the plan to bus passengers to other cities late Wednesday, saying the city has more than enough hotel rooms to accommodate passengers and its two airports are near the cruise terminal.

"We raised the issue that it would be a lot easier to take a five-minute bus ride than a two-hour bus ride" to New Orleans, Jones said. Jones said Carnival employees will be staying in Mobile, adding he was not told of the company's reasoning for putting passengers on extended bus rides after their experience at sea.

"I don't know if the passengers even know that," Jones said.

Earlier Wednesday, Carnival Cruise Lines canceled a dozen more planned voyages aboard the Triumph and acknowledged that the crippled ship had been plagued by other mechanical problems in the weeks before the engine-room blaze. The National Transportation Safety Board has opened an investigation into the cause.

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