Carnival Triumph returns to scheduled sailing


Back in February it was adrift in the Gulf of Mexico for four days. Passengers say they endured unsanitary conditions. Carnival says the ship is repaired and good to go. After a public relations nightmare, Carnival is pulling out all the stops to make this return to sea triumphant.

After four months and $115 million, Carnival's infamous Triumph is back on the open water, where she belongs Carnival Cruise Line CEO Gerry Cahill said, "I tell you what -- it doesn't get any better than this."

Cahill sat down with me, touting the ship's appropriately enough triumphant comeback. The first two cruises on the new and improved vessel are sold out.

In February, a fire broke out in Triumph's engine room. The ship lost propulsion and tugboats pulled her in while thousands were left stranded for days without water, plumbing or electricity more than 100 miles from land.

Cahill said, "You can always do better, right? Obviously we have a lot of customer confidence because there's 3,350 people, of which 900 are kids. So those people brought their kids. They must have a lot of confidence in us."

And they do. Kristin Buck's family booked their vacation before February, but that didn't stop them from climbing aboard today.

"I think that they're going to try harder to make sure nothing happens because there was so much publicity from the incident before," she said.

And it seems Carnival is. The new restaurants and bars and price cuts made it a deal hard for Debbie Richardson to turn down.

She explained, "Our rates went down after we purchased the first one because they canceled the first cruise until this month. So we got a good rate.'

That's exactly what Cahill wants -- passengers to speak for them, to fix the costly public relations nightmare that the company hopes to escape.

When asked if he could assure that won't happen again, Cahill responded, "I can tell you that the possibility of that happening again is substantially reduced."

The Buck family is ready for their escape, too.

Kristin said, "We're just ready to get some sun and have some fun." Cahill said the cruise line is working on revamping all 24 of their ships by November, with such as improvements as two backup generators per ship. The grand total cost is $300 million.

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