CAPE CORAL, Fla. - For the first time Thursday, we heard from a southwest Florida woman who had been stranded on the Carnival Triumph. Only WINK was there as Dee Tucker spoke to her fiance for the first time in three days.
What was supposed to be a carefree cruise was nothing short of a nightmare for Dee Tucker of Cape Coral. Her fiance Joe Eckert got the emergency call from Carnival Sunday night, a few texts from Dee Monday, and then silence until Thursday.
Nearing the Alabama shore, the texts resumed. And then, around 5:45 p.m., Eckert's phone rang.
"Hi honey," he said excitedly. "You're breaking up. It's so good to hear your voice."
But, you could hear the frustration in her voice as she described the past five days.
"Three and a half hours I waited in line for a burger," Tucker said. "Are you kidding me? Three and a half hours. I have taken pictures of everything. I told them I am chronicling my suffrage."
Tucker told us there was urine and feces being collected in buckets, creating an unbearable stench. Passengers had to walk to the bottom of the ship for medical care, and with no A/C, it was hot.
"My feet are killing me, my back is killing me," Tucker said. "Every floor is hotter than the one before."
Soon, their conversation went national as CNN connected them live, on-air.
"Happy valentine's day," Eckert said. "I know it's bad. I love you so much. I miss you."
When she arrives home, he promised, "You can take as many showers as you like."
It wasn't the Valentine's day they'd pictured, but certainly one they'll remember.
"We survived the Triumph," Tucker said. "I keep singing, 'I'm a survivor.'l
"She can't wait to get off the boat and be with me again and I can't wait for that too," Eckert said. "This has turned out to be a great Valentine's Day."
Joe says Dee is a strong woman. She's been an ER nurse for 16 years, so she's cool under pressure.
She even gave the cleaning crew advice on how to use coffee grounds to neutralize odors.
Once off the boat tonight, she'll be taken to New Orleans to get some rest, and then, continue her journey home to Cape Coral.