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Nov 10, 2010 9:47 PM by Ariel Wesler

Local mother talks to daughter stranded on Carnival cruise

We know at least two Central Coast couples are passengers on that Carnival cruise ship. They are Marci and Eric Schapel of Santa Barbara. The others are Holly Simmons and her husband Taylor Schickel from Morro Bay. Both made contact with their loved ones this morning.

Monica Simmons had been frantically trying to reach her daughter, Holly, via cell phone.

"Hey, it's mom. I was hoping you'd have cell service. Call us!"

About 11 a.m., her daughter was finally able to call.

"Seriously mom, it's probably going to cost $50 for this phone call, but I don't care. I want to hear your voice," Simmons said.

She spent the next 20 minutes hearing about her daughters adventurous voyage. Holly told her mom the engine failure sounded like gears grinding in a car.

"She says it woke me up and then I smelled the smoke and then we went out on the balcony and we could see the billows of black smoke," Simmons said.

Food was scarce.

"Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner. . .Sandwiches," Simmons said.

Holly and her husband were taking a cruise in honor of their three year wedding anniversary. With no electricity and no entertainment, Holly used her talents as a music teacher to pass the time and relax passengers.

"She said, then I would get on the piano and I would play and then she said there was another guy who played the piano and she said we made our own entertainment," Simmons said.

Holly told her mom she can feel the tension onboard and at this point, there's only one cure for these tiresome travelers. . .land.

"We've tried to make the best of it. We're done. We want to get home. Get us home."

This is the couple's third cruise. They were originally supposed to take this trip in September, but the cruiseline messed up their reservation. Carnival is giving them a free trip, but they say too little, too late. At this point, Holly told her mom she will never take another cruise.

Monica says she wishes the cruise line would have done more. She says carnival never contacted her to let her know about the situation.


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