February 12, 2013 Updated March 22, 2013
Gulliksen also confirmed the line will be flying passengers from Mobile to Houston.
Update, February 11, 9:15 p.m. EST: Carnival Triumph will be towed to Mobile, Alabama, instead of Progreso, Mexico, as originally planned. In a statement, the line explained the ship has drifted about 90 miles north due to strong currents, which now puts it nearly equidistant to Mobile, Alabama. "Given the strength of the currents, it is preferable to head north to Mobile, rather than attempt to tow against them," the statement explained. Carnival now expects Triumph to arrive in Mobile sometime on Thursday, roughly the same time the ship would have arrived in Progreso. From there, the line said it will provide the necessary transportation to get passengers home. "Mobile also provides simpler re-entry [than Mexico], particularly for the 900 passengers traveling without passports," the line added.
The first of two tugboats arrived Monday evening and is tied up to the ship; the second is expected early Tuesday morning.
(February 11, 2013, 5:15 p.m. EST) -- Limited onboard systems have been restored on Carnival Triumph a day after an engine room fire left the ship adrift off the Yucatan coast.
There were no injuries from the fire, which the line says was contained by the ship's automatic extinguishing system.
As of 6 a.m. Monday, Triumph's freshwater system -- knocked out by the fire Sunday morning along with propulsion and sewage functionality -- was again operational. The sewage system was restored to the forward section, but was still down in the aft portion. Onboard engineers continue to work on the aft sewage system. There is no indication the propulsion system will be restored. The ship is currently positioned 136 miles north of Merida, Mexico. The U.S. Coast Guard cutter Vigorous has been on the scene since 12:45 a.m. EST Monday.
Carnival Cruise Lines spokesman Vance Gulliksen added that additional hotel functions are also back online. "Power has been restored to a limited number of elevators and some power in the Lido dining area is providing for hot coffee and limited hot food service."
Emergency backup generators continue to power the ship's bridge and communication systems.
A team consisting of technical crew and passenger service personnel was expected to arrive via boat Monday afternoon, Gulliksen said.
After being confined to open decks and public spaces, the 3,143 passengers on the now-altered four-night Caribbean cruise from Galveston, have been allowed return to their cabins, said Gulliksen.
Meanwhile, two tugboats are "en route to [Carnival Triumph's] location and will tow the vessel to Progreso, Mexico, which is the closest port," Carnival said. The ship is expected to arrive in Progreso late Wednesday and passengers will be flown to the United States on chartered aircraft from there.
Triumph's fleetmates have been participating in resupply missions. Carnival Elation offloaded food and water (including pre-prepared perishable meals) on Monday. Carnival Legend, en route from Tampa, arrived on the scene around 3 p.m. Monday for second delivery. Legend also accepted a transfer of a patient in need of dialysis; the passenger will be taken to Cozumel.
A timeline for repairs to Triumph will be announced once the ship is in port and has undergone inspection, according to the line. Damaged suffered by Carnival Splendor from an engine room fire in 2010 kept the ship out of service for more than three months.
Cruise Critic member krogers2063 reports, "I just went on Carnival's Web site and did a mock booking and the next sailing that comes up for the Triumph is March 21st. That is my sailing. I pray it will be fixed by then."
This latest event comes just weeks after an issue with Triumph's propulsion system, which caused minor delays to two cruises. Gulliksen said Carnival has checked into whether the propulsion problem was related to the engine fire, but was told the cause of the fire is not yet known.
"A complete investigation will take place with the appropriate regulatory bodies, outside experts and other independent authorities as appropriate," he said.