GALVESTON, Texas -- As passengers had their first look at an upper deck that was once a tent city, Shelby Gilson was below getting her first look inside her new stateroom.
Like many passengers, she had no idea that Thursday s sailing aboard the Carnival Triumph marked its return to service.
I m really excited, she said. This is my first cruise.
Like her, many were happy with what they saw. There are now new bars and restaurants, as well as new carpeting and bedding. Most important of all, there are now new engine rooms. The improvements cost $115 million.
It s come out great we and we just couldn t be happier, Carnival CEO Gerry Cahill said. We re trying to make it a great experience for the guest. We re trying to show how much we appreciate them coming.
The trip completely sold out. No passengers onboard were on the last so-called voyage from hell.
Yet Brandy Soonake and her mother, Loraine Jackson, were on that trip, and they returned to Galveston to view their former stateroom from dry land.
Jackson had broken her ankle onboard, yet had no complaints against Carnival.
They got me a wheelchair when I needed it, she said. They ve been good.
I hope that they can continue to use this ship and that their passengers have a fantastic time, Soonake said.
Both of them plan to use their vouchers from their last vacation to take another Carnival cruise later this year.
The Triumph heads to the Gulf of Mexico for four days and its return is good news for Galveston.
The city s port director estimates the economy lost as much as $700,000 in revenue while the ship was out of service.