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As the epic adventure that was the Carnival Triumph finally came to a conclusion late last night, early this morning Erin Burnett guest hosted a special live midnight edition of "Piers Morgan Tonight," fielding phone calls and greeting relieved passengers while on the ground in Mobile, Ala.
Joined by colleague Martin Savidge, the regular host of "Erin Burnett OutFront" welcomed friends Brett Klausman and Joe Perkin, pals from Kansas and Missouri who had ventured on a voyage without their wives, a fourth such excursion in as many years:
"There will be a fifth, though. We will go back." said Klausman.
"As long as our wives allow us," chimed in Perkin.
Sporting a newly acquired, all-terrycloth ensemble, admitted he'd picked up a certain souvenir for his troubles.
"Sorry, Carnival – for taking your bathrobe," laughed Klausman. "I did not pay for this, but I figured they owed me a bathrobe."
Someone inside the cruise line's public relations or social media department was apparently watching the live CNN broadcast, and used Twitter to run some damage control:
Of course the bathrobes for the Carnival Triumph are complimentary.
— Carnival Cruise Line (@CarnivalCruise) February 15, 2013
Ripping off good-natured one-liners while sharing stories of inter-cabin camaraderie, the men from the Midwest exited their interview, with Klausman still wearing his robe:
"I'm definitely keeping it as a souvenir," he said, smiling.
"Don't worry, we won't tell," promised Savidge, while reporting for a network that is watched worldwide.
Hours earlier, as the dramatic arrival of the Carnival Triumph cruise ship unfolded live during the 9 p.m. hour, guest host Donny Deutsch hunkered down from home base, anchoring "Piers Morgan Tonight" from New York.
Tasked with keeping the viewers informed of the latest, while also placing the entire ordeal into perspective, Deutsch welcomed his "All-Star panel" of experts and analysts, who all provided their unique insight into the hellacious voyage.
Noting how tales like these do tend to become inflated over time, the television personality painted a picture of what's to come over the next half-decade:
"Five years from now, as each one of the people are telling the story, it is going to be so elevated, that collectively they put the line of the boat in their teeth, and they tugged it in," he joked, "and towed it to shore. This is going to be a badge of honor for all these people."
Echoing similar sentiments, Pat Kiernan chimed in:
"A lot of cruise passengers are repeat visitors. So they'll be out there again. They'll be, yes, I got a free cruise. They gave me 500 bucks. I was drinking for free," explained the NY1 morning news anchor. "Not to minimize the inconvenience for them right now. But almost everybody Erin has talked to, she has asked them 'will you come back?' and they've said, 'yeah, probably.'"
Offering the same familiar refrain, Stephanie Ruhle suggested that people are long on confidence, and with short memories:
"Donny, think about tragedies where lives are really lost. Plane crashes, people still get on planes. People still get in cars," said the Bloomberg TV anchor. "The night of Hurricane Sandy, I watched Erin Burnett in thigh high deep water stand in front of my building, and I still moved home. Life goes on."
Moving forward, Rikki Klieman spoke to American's resiliency, and the strength of human character amidst trying circumstances:
"We do have a tremendous threshold. And I also think that there is something in the collective," said the criminal defense lawyer. "You have 35 hundred - four thousand people here - who have now become a primary community."
Watch the clip, and listen to the interviews, as Deutsch and his guests further explain any long term impact that this week's event might have on the brand, or financial viability, of Carnival Cruise Lines as a company.
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