One major problem revealed in both the Carnival Triumph fire and the blaze on the Carnival Splendor involved redundancies in engine rooms.
Both ships had two separate engine rooms that were supposed to operate if the other was disabled.
But in both cases, cabling that ran between both rooms was damaged, leaving the entire ship without power.
Cahill said the review revealed that vulnerabilities that could cause one engine room to affect another vary among ships in different classes and built in different years.
“We looked at every potential point of failure,” he said. Electrical systems in engine rooms on an unspecified number of ships will need to be reconfigured with custom-made parts, which is expected to be a long-term fix.
The cruise line also said it will form a safety and reliability review board with outside experts.
Parent company Carnival Corp., which owns nine other brands including Princess Cruises, Holland America Line and Costa Cruises, said that based on the review findings, enhancements would be put in place “on the remainder of the fleet where they are not already present.”
At Wednesday’s shareholders’ meeting, Frank said all ships will have expanded emergency power, enhanced fire systems and improved engine room redundancies.
“Understand these are very safe ships to begin with,” Frank said. “It’s a belt and suspenders program to make sure our ships are doubly safe.”
A spokeswoman said later that “a number” of ships will get an extra generator. All ships will have an upgraded water mist system and modifications to engine rooms will be based on individual ship needs.
A broader industry review, announced by the Cruise Lines International Association after the Triumph fire, is ongoing. The industry group commended Carnival for its “robust and comprehensive initiative.”
Sen. Jay Rockefeller, a Democrat from West Virginia who chairs the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science & Transportation, released a less complimentary statement.
“It’s unfortunate that it has taken a series of terrible cruise line failures, and the scrutiny that followed, for Carnival to respond with some improvements for their passengers’ safety,” said Rockefeller, a frequent critic of the industry.
Bill Leider, a management consultant who works on brand strategies, said Carnival’s image has suffered.
“Many people are now fearful about sailing on a Carnival ship,” he said. “I’m not going to say that that’s a universal image, but it’s an image held by many people that previously did not hold that image.”
He said Wednesday’s announcement could just raise a new question: “What systems and procedures did they not have in place to create a $700 million problem?”
But Andrew O. Coggins, Jr., a clinical professor of management at Pace University’s Lubin School of Business, said he thinks the company is taking the right steps to rebuild confidence — and profitability.
“I think, if anything, it would just be a hiccup for Carnival,” said Coggins, a retired Navy commander who studies the cruise industry. “They can use pricing to stimulate demand, and so once they get the people on the ship, they spend money.”