June 13, 2013 at 8:38 AM ET
Just months after an engine fire aboard the ship left its passengers adrift without adequate food or bathrooms, the Carnival Triumph is ready to set sail today on a sold-out cruise from its home port of Galveston.
"We're really excited and we're here to have fun," Renzo Bomalaya, a bartender aboard the newly refurbished Carnival Triumph, told TODAY.
Back in February, a failed propulsion system stranded the Triumph's more than 3,000 passengers and 1,000 crew members in the Gulf of Mexico. The lack of power, or a working sewage system, or air conditioning forced passengers to drag their mattresses onto the deck and construct makeshift tents out of their bedsheets, in order to escape the stench below deck.
"The worst part is the bathrooms," one woman who was aboard called in at the time to say. "There's no water. You can't really flush, so everyone's going in little plastic baggies and putting it outside their rooms."
But after three and a half months of upgrades and repairs that cost $115 million, that deck formerly littered with beleaguered passengers is ready for good times again. The Triumph is about to relaunch.
"The main pool area," said CEO Garry Cahill, as he took TODAY on a tour of the ship. "This entire area has been completely redone."
Captain Mark Jackson, VP of technical operations for Carnival, said in a videotaped statement that they upgraded their fire suppression system and detection system as well. "We added an additional generator, so in the unlikely event that we lose power on board, we're still able to provide power to guest services, such as elevators, toilets, fresh water," said Jackson.
Today, the nearly 900-foot vessel departs from Galveston, TX on a sold-out, four-day cruise to Mexico. On Monday, the ship embarks on another sold-out cruise. Fares have been discounted on the newly refurbished vessel, which can hold up to 2758 passengers and 1100 crew members.