GALVESTON, Texas - After a saga at sea that left thousands of passengers stranded for days in deplorable conditions, the Carnival Triumph set sail once again after getting a massive makeover. Despite its past problems, the ship was packed when it left the Port of Galveston.
It seems passengers are willing to give the ship a second chance after the Triumph was out of service since February.
"I'll definitely give them another chance," said Mark Peaden.
But after days stranded at sea next time around Peaden, his wife Christina and their three young daughters say they'll do things a bit differently. For starters, they'll spend the extra money to get a room with a balcony.
"You're not stuck in the middle. You'll have light. You know if the ship lights go out, you'll have air because the air flows through. You can open your doors," said Peaden.
They also recommend walkie talkies, something they packed and really used after the fire on board the ship.
"When all the communication went down where you didn't have a way to communicate, she'd take one and I'd take one, so we'd always be able to find each other no matter where we were roaming around," said Peaden.
Calamity was not top of mind for passengers boarding the boat Thursday afternoon.
"I'm sure it's beautiful. I'm sure it's plush and it's the ship to be on right now," Christina Peaden said.
Carnival spent $115 million upgrading safety and fire prevention systems.
"We've basically refurbished the entire ship," said Carnival CEO Gerry Cahill. "We walked through the cabins, every cabin. All of the bedding is new. All of the beds. All of the carpet. In fact, there is 360,000 square feet of new carpet. For all practical purposes, a new ship."
There is also new carpet in the hallways leading to the staterooms. Passengers on the February cruise described soiled carpet after a fire disabled both engine rooms and left many of the bathrooms unusable.
"We have gone back and we have rewired all of that cable, so if that situation should ever happen again, if we did have a fire in the engine room, we should not lose power in the other engine room,"Cahill said.
Carnival said in addition to adding dining and entertainment options, it also added a second emergency generator that officials said would keep all toilets and elevators running, and provide hot food in case of an emergency.
"The crew is dying to have the guests come on board," said Cahill. "We spent $150 million to refurbish the ship. We're ready to go."
The Carnival Triumph sailed with a sold-out cruise of more than 3,300 passengers.
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