Amid all the ballyhoo and euphoria of today’s inauguration of the brand new Royal Princess at Southampton, the return to service today of the Carnival Triumph will probably go relatively unremarked upon.
Yet this was the self same ship that last generated Carnival corp it’s last tsunami of press and media attention, when the 102,000 ton ship drifted without motive power for several days earlier this year, following a fire on board. More than four thousand passengers and crew were stranded aboard the Carnival Triumph for several days, and a massive media feeding frenzy ensued.
The fallout from the accident was enormous; Carnival took a huge public and financial hit as a result, and some serious rethinking ensued at Coral Gables. One of the far reaching results of that thinking was last week’s return of former Carnival CEO, Bob Dickinson, in an advisory role. Long acknowledged as a savvy operator and a steady pair of hands, his presence should help to realign the company towards the core concepts that made it the front runner in mainstream cruising.
And today, the Carnival Triumph herself returns to service, embarking on the first of a series of four and five night cruises from Galveston, Texas, to some of the highlights of the western Caribbean. Four day itineraries feature a call at Cozumel, while the five day voyages showcase both Cozumel and Progreso, on the Yucatan.
The ship comes back to service with a whole new raft of fire detection and suppression systems installed. In addition, Carnival has installed a backup emergency generator to ensure that such vital functions as light, sanitation and heating systems can continue to operate in the event of an engine room failure,
Carnival took the opportunity to upgrade the Triumph with the full range of Carnival 2.0 Fun Ship enhancements during her enforced absence from service. The work was carried out at a dockyard in Freeport, Bahamas.
For instance, all cabins now have new beds and bedding, right throughout the ship. A vast amount of new carpeting has been fitted throughout all the main public areas. The line also took the opportunity to add a swathe of new dining and drinking venues.
These include the free for all Guy’s Burger Joint, featuring prime quality cuts of beef; the Cucina del Capitano themed Italian family restaurant, and the Punchliner’s Comedy Club. There is also a branch of the popular Red Frog Bar, with its own, specially brewed ‘Thirsty Frog’ beer, as well as the Blue iguana Mexican Cantina. The popular Alchemy Bar and EA Sports Club will also feature aboard the revitalised Triumph.
These upgrades go hand in hand with a range of new themed shows that are being rolled out right across the entire Carnival fleet. The revamped Carnival Triumph should prove to be a spectacular floating playground for these short cruises, scheduled to run right through 2014.
Sister ship Carnival Victory will receive a similar, comprehensive series of upgrades next year, as Funship 2.0 is rolled out across the fleet. Interestingly, the next scheduled upgrade is for the Fantasy class Carnival Imagination in September.