Carnival announces $300-million program to improve ships

Program comes after Carnival Triumph, Dream ship troubles

Carnival Cruise Lines announced on Wednesday it will spend more than $300 million to upgrade its ships, including enhancing power capabilities and introduce new fire safety technology across its 24-ship fleet.

Upgrades have already begun in the enhancement program, Carnival officials said.

"First we want to increase the ability of the emergency diesel generators, to provide additional hotel services in those rare cases when we use it," said Gerry Cahill, President and CEO of Carnival Cruise Lines. "Secondly, we have two redundant engine rooms and we want to improve the redundancy of those two engine rooms so we don't have the situation like we did on the Carnival Triumph ... And then thirdly we also want to improve our capacities as far as fire prevention, detection, and suppression."

The program comes after a slew of ship issues on Carnival ships, including the Triumph's  engine fire back in February that left thousands of passengers stranded at sea for several days. The conditions were reportedly awful, including limited toilet use and food service.

A month later, the Carnival Dream reported technical issues with its emergency diesel generator during routine testing while docked in St. Maarten, prompting officials to fly passengers from the Caribbean back home.

Earlier this week, Carnival Corp. subsidiary Princess Cruises had a blockage within the ship's vacuum toilet system rendered 410 stateroom toilets inoperable from 5 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.

Carnival officials said on Wednesday safety is and has been the company's No. 1 priority.

"We've had a great safety record over the years, we are absolutely sure we will continue to have a great safety record in the future," said Micky Arison, Chairman and CEO of Carnival Corporation. "We are absolutely committed to delivering the greatest vacation values to all of our guests."

Carnival has been offering lower than average cruise prices in attempts to lure customers in after the Triumph troubles and other mishaps. Some passengers said Carnival's mishaps haven't changed their view on the cruiseline.

"That's a good way to spend the money and everything, like that, but I feel the same way about Carnival, I'm always going to travel Carnival," said Alana Palermo.

Carnival officials said the work will be done while the ships are in service.

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