CNN Exclusive: Aboard The Foul Cruise Ship (VIDEO)

Source: Michael Pearson and Ed Payne / CNN

It’s almost, but not quite, over for the 4,229 passengers and crew stuck on a filthy, disabled cruise ship limping back to port five days after it was due.

The Carnival Triumph was inching toward Mobile, Alabama, on Thursday afternoon, and then a tow line linking it to the lead tugboat broke.

“It looked like a whip in the water,” passenger Darryl Malone said, adding he was being told to get off the deck via an announcement broadcast throughout the ship. “They’re telling us to go inside, not look overboard because one of the towlines broke.”

U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials, Coast Guard members and a Carnival team were expected to board the ship before it arrived in port to help speed efforts to get passengers off as quickly as possible.

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