The Bahamian government was taking the lead because the Triumph is a Bahamian-flagged vessel, and it was in international waters at the time of the fire, Holloway said.
Passengers described a horrifying scene after the fire. Some said they smelled smoke and received conflicting instructions about every 15 minutes over the PA system. Others ran for lifeboats.
No one was hurt in the fire, and just two people were taken off the ship for medical conditions as a precaution.
Connie Ede, of Houston, was on the cruise with her husband. During the fire, the two got their life jackets ready and put cellphones, passports, money and credit cards in their pockets.
"All in all, I wish it hadn't happened, but it did, and we survived," she said.
Carnival promised to give refunds, offer passengers another trip and cover their transportation costs home. Travelers were also to receive $500 in compensation.
Carnival CEO Gerry Cahill apologized at a news conference and again on the PA system as people disembarked.
"I appreciate the patience of our guests and their ability to cope with the situation. ... I know the conditions on board were very poor," he said. "We pride ourselves on providing our guests with a great vacation experience, and clearly we failed in this particular case."
Passengers to receive refunds, credit for future cruise
Carnival said all of the passengers will receive a full refund for the cruise, along with transportation expenses. They'll also be reimbursed for all purchases aboard the ship, except for gift shop and casino charges. They will also received a future cruise credit equal to the amount paid for this voyage.
On Wednesday, Carnival officials said all passengers will also get $500 compensation.
"We know it has been a longer journey back than we anticipated at the beginning of the week under very challenging circumstances," Cahill said. "We are very sorry for what our guests have had to endure. Therefore, in addition to the full refund and future cruise credit already offered, we have decided to provide this additional compensation."
Carnival cancels 14 voyages
Carnival Cruise Lines cancelled 12 additional voyages of the cruise ship Triumph on Wednesday.
The cancelled cruises, which include sailings from Feb. 21 through April 13, are in addition to two previously cancelled voyages departing from Galveston on Feb. 11 and Feb. 16.
Guests booked on the cancelled voyages will receive a full refund, reimbursement for non-refundable travel expenses and a 25 percent discount on a future three- or five-day cruise or a 15 percent discount on a six- to-seven day cruise.