The boss of Carnival Cruise Lines parent company Carnival Corporation issued a personal apology over the weekend to passengers involved in the Carnival Triumph accident.

Micky Arison used his Twitter feed to express his feelings after more than 3,100 passengers had their short cruise ruined due to an engine fire which left the ship drifting powerless in the Gulf of Mexico.

The crippled ship was finally towed back into port in Mobile, Alabama, on Friday and the majority of passengers were driven by coach to New Orleans to catch specially chartered flights to Houston or Galveston, where the cruise originally departed.

Passengers complained that toilets and drainpipes overflowed, soaking many cabins and interior passages in raw sewage.

Carnival Corporation chairman and chief executive Arison said: “We are very sorry for the difficult conditions experienced by our guests on Carnival Triumph but glad that all guests are off safe and sound. I want to thank all the Carnival Cruise team members for their tireless efforts.”

He faced criticisim in January last year for failing to travel to Italy and take personal charge of the Costa Concordia crisis in which 32 people died.

Carnival Cruise Lines chief executive Gerry Cahill boarded the ship to personally apologise to passengers.

“I know the conditions on board were very poor,” he said. “I know it was difficult. I want to apologise for subjecting our guests to that.

“We pride ourselves with providing our guests with a great vacation experience and clearly we failed in this particular case.”

Carnival said passengers will be reimbursed in full plus transportation expenses, a future cruise credit equal to the amount paid for this voyage, plus a payment of $500 a person in compensation.

The company has cancelled 14 cruises due to repairs needed to Carnival Triumph.