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Carnival Triumph returns to service

By Thom Patterson, CNN
updated 5:10 PM EDT, Thu June 13, 2013
In February, the Carnival cruise ship Triumph was stranded for days after an engine fire crippled the ship.
In February, the Carnival cruise ship Triumph was stranded for days after an engine fire crippled the ship.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Carnival Triumph in service for first time since a fire crippled the cruise ship in February
  • It's fully booked with 3,350 passengers on a 4-day cruise from Texas to Mexico
  • Triumph has new emergency power capabilities, fire safety technology, says Carnival
  • In February, passengers faced food shortages, overflowing toilets until tugs rescued ship

(CNN) -- The troubled Carnival Triumph begins a new chapter Thursday in Galveston, Texas.

The ship sets sail on its first cruise since February's engine fire left it adrift in the Gulf of Mexico, with more than 4,200 passengers enduring power outages, overflowing toilets and food shortages.

Now outfitted with new emergency power capabilities and additional fire safety technology, the ship is fully booked with 3,350 passengers on a four-day voyage to Cozumel, Mexico, Carnival says. It's scheduled to depart at 4 p.m. CT.

"The cruises I've been on with them, I loved it," passenger Karl Hoehn told CNN affiliate KTRK. "My family loved it, so I'll give them another chance."

Carnival Triumph also has been improved with new "operating redundancies" to keep the ship moving and the lights on, the cruise line says.

February's fire turned the ship into a high-profile news story as passengers aired their outrage and complaints via phone and e-mail, as well as Twitter, Facebook and other social media.

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After the crippled ship spent eight days at sea, tugboats were able to pull it into port in Alabama, to a welcome by countless news cameras and reporters.

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Shortly after the incident Carnival said it would launch a comprehensive review of its 24 ships. Vessels have been upgraded to include "the latest most technologically advanced" fire suppression systems, the cruise line said on its blog.

On every ship, Carnival says, workers have installed a second emergency backup electricity generator, which will keep important passenger systems running, "including toilets elevators and food service equipment in the highly unlikely event of a loss of main power."

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Carnival Triumph's troubles were the first in a string of problems that beset the cruise line this year. In March, Carnival Elation had to be escorted by a tugboat because of a malfunction in its steering system, the cruise company said. A few days later another ship, Carnival Dream, lost power and some toilets stopped working in St. Maarten in the eastern Caribbean. Shortly afterward Carnival Legend reported technical difficulties that affected its sailing speed.

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