She limped into harbour in Alabama in the glare of TV networks with 4,229 people on board and reeking of raw sewage.
The Carnival Triumph docked in Mobile at the end of a Gulf of Mexico holiday described as “hellish”.
An engine room fire last Sunday knocked out power, leaving the ship adrift and passengers to endure appalling conditions.
The ordeal did not end on reaching dry land: it took four hours to disembark all the passengers who then faced long coach rides.
Toilets and drainpipes overflowed, flooding cabins and corridors. People used plastic bags as makeshift toilets. Some passengers slept on deck.
The trip provided holiday souvenirs many will want to forget.
“You try walking through the floor trying to get to the cafeteria and there’s shit and piss on the floors in the cafeteria and you have to walk through it. It was disgusting.We tried not to eat,” said passenger Miria Jones.
“The smell was awful. The smell was bad, it got worse the longer it went. It wasn’t a vacation any more it was like survival mode,” said another, Tammy Garcia.
“It could have been a serious catastrophe. They’re just very lucky that we didn’t end up burning in the ship because no alarms went off. They told us to go back to bed when the fire was burning,” passenger Kelly Wright said.
Conditions improved on Thursday thanks to the arrival of an emergency generator.
Carnival, the ship’s operator, is promising full refunds, 500 US dollars (375 euros) in compensation, and discounts on future cruises.