Carnival Cruise Lines to Invest $300 Million in Fleetwide Operational Upgrades

April 17, 2013

Carnival Cruise Lines has launched a $300 million program designed to enhance emergency power capabilities, introduce new fire safety technology and improve the level of operating redundancies to its entire fleet. The company also formed a Safety & Reliability Review board to oversee continuous improvement in these areas.

The operating system and safety enhancements will expand the availability of hotel services, such as plumbing, in case a shipboard event causes loss of main power, which happened aboard Carnival Triumph.

The new enhancements are also designed to prevent potential loss of power.

The improvement program is a result of the comprehensive operational review announced by Carnival Corporation & plc shortly after the February fire onboard Carnival Triumph.

"By applying lessons learned through our fleetwide operational review after the Carnival Triumph fire and by taking advantage of new technologies, we have identified areas for enhancement across our operations," Gerry Cahill, president and CEO of Carnival Cruise Lines, said in a prepared statement. Cahill also e-mailed a letter to all past Carnival passengers about the new initiative.

Areas identified for enhancement include:

Emergency generator power: Work is underway for an initial increase in emergency generator power across the Carnival fleet that will be completed over the next several months. This includes the addition of one emergency generator per ship, which will provide for 100 percent of cabin and public toilets, fresh water and elevators in the event of main power loss. Once this is complete, the line will install a second permanent back-up power system on each ship to provide greater levels of hotel and guest services, such as expanded cooking facilities, cold food storage and Internet and telephone communications.

Fire prevention, detection and suppression: Carnival said it is making additional investments in technically advanced fire prevention, detection and suppression systems. This includes upgrading the existing water mist fire suppression systems already in place to the newest generation.

Operating redundancies: Each Carnival ship already has two separate engine rooms, but the operation review found ways (such as reconfiguring some of the engine-related electrical components) to further decrease the likelihood of losing propulsion or primary power.

According to a Carnival spokesman, the first round of enhancements have already begun and will not affect currently scheduled itineraries. Additional work will be completed during scheduled dry-docks.

Ship enhancements also will be made to the fleets of Carnival Corp's other brands, "where they are not already present." Each class of ship is different, the company said, so the enhancements across the fleet will need to be tailored to each vessel. Carnival Corp's other holdings include Princess Cruises, Holland America Line, Costa Cruises and Seabourn.

Carnival also has formed a Safety & Reliability review board, comprising five outside experts.

--by Dori Saltzman, News Editor