Carnival President and Chief Executive Officer Gerry Cahill said "we failed in this particular case," and told reporters he would go onboard the Carnival Triumph as the verssel, assisted by tugboats, approached Alabama Cruise Terminal.
The ship was disabled and left without electricity by a fire Sunday in the engine room. Passengers have endured squalid conditions, including no running water.
Mobile Regional Airport officials said they worked with various airlines to set up charter flights for the cruise passengers, the Mobile Press-Register reported. Carnival planned to offer passengers bus service to New Orleans.
Carnival Cruises Wednesday canceled all Triumph cruises for the next two months.
The company said people who have booked cruises through April 13 will get full refunds and discounts on a future cruise with Carnival. They will be reimbursed for non-refundable travel to and from port and fees for shore excursions and other extras.
Cahill said passengers on the Triumph will get $500 on top of full refunds of their tickets. They will be reimbursed for many shipboard purchases and for travel expenses and will get credit for a future cruise equal to the price of their ticket.
Carnival has booked 1,500 hotel rooms in New Orleans. Passengers will have a choice between going by bus to Houston or Galveston, Texas, from Mobile or spending a night in New Orleans before traveling home the next day on chartered planes.
There were 3,143 passengers on board the ill-fated cruise, the company said.