"After being on that boat for that long and not knowing when or how we were getting back and it was so good to be finally back," said passenger Brooklyn Burgess.
The ordeal ended for the more than 4,000 passengers and crew stranded on the Carnival cruise ship Triumph since the ship's engine room caught on fire Sunday. There were reports of overflowing toilets, sewage backed up in showers, scarce food and people getting sick.
"There's poop and urine all along the floor," Renee Shanar, of Houston, said from her cellphone aboard the ship. "The floor is flooded with sewer water ... and we had to poop in bags."
There was no air conditioning, and the ship has become unsanitary, passengers said. Carnival Cruise Lines disputed those claims, saying employees did everything to ensure that the passengers were comfortable. The massive ship left Galveston last week for a four-day Caribbean cruise.
The job of towing the stricken 100,000-ton ocean liner toward Mobile, Ala., took longer than expected. Four tugs towed the vessel.
The Coast Guard airlifted in supplies, as officials worked to speed up arrival preparations.
The 14-story ship had to negotiate a tricky shipping channel before it could dock. Before the line broke, the ship was traveling about 5 mph.
Once back on land, the long journey still wasn't over. Passengers faced long bus rides to chartered planes, which finally took them home.
Carnival Cruise Lines is offering passengers a full refund, along with an additional $500 in compensation and a free cruise in the future. But some passengers say that's not enough to make up for what they've been through.
A dozen upcoming trips for the Triumph have been canceled.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.