Carnival Corp. will spend as much as $700 million to upgrade the emergency safety and guest comfort capabilities of its vessels, with $300 million pledged to Carnival Cruise Lines alone. The upgrades include backup power systems for toilets, elevators and Internet and phone services, among other passenger services.
The plan, whose details were announced this week, is the result of an operations review conducted in the wake of February’s Carnival Triumph incident.
“Each vessel already has effective systems in place to prevent, detect and respond to emergency situations, and we meet or exceed all regulatory requirements,” said Gerry Cahill, president and CEO of Carnival Cruise Lines. “However, by applying lessons learned throughout a fleet-wide operational review . . . we have identified areas for enhancement across our operations.”
Carnival also is putting together a board of external experts to provide third-party oversight on safety and reliability issues.
The first step of the improvement plan involves an increase in emergency generator power, to be completed in the new few months. An extra generator will be installed on each ship to provide for all toilets, sinks and elevators in case of a loss of main power.
The work will not affect existing itineraries, Carnival said.
A second permanent backup power system is slated for each ship; the system will power cooking facilities in addition to Internet and telephone systems.
The timetable for these upgrades was not announced.
“Although every ship in our fleet currently has emergency backup power which is designed to enable the continuous operation of safety equipment and some hotel services, it is our intent to significantly bolster the backup power to support the core hotel services,” continued Cahill.
To prevent loss of propulsion, it will rework the electrical systems connecting each ship’s engine rooms.
The engine room fixes were planned to address the failings of the Carnival Triumph and Carnival Sunshine, which are both out of service.
Carnival also plans to install new water mist fire suppression systems.
The cruise line also announced that it is forming a “safety and reliability review board,” to be staffed by five external experts. The board will add third-party oversight to existing oversight.
The search for board candidates across several disciplines is underway.
Letter to agents
In a letter about the changes, Cahill thanked travel planners for their loyalty to the line. He said the upgrades to Carnival's fleet will provide their clients with a better experience.
“I want to assure you that we will do everything we can to continue to improve our product and provide your clients with a fun and memorable cruising experience," wrote Cahill.