The disabled Carnival Triumph
will be towed to Mobile, Ala., rather than to Progreso, Mexico, as initially planned.
The ship, which lost propulsion after an engine-room fire, has drifted about 90 miles north since Sunday because of a strong current.
"This now puts the ship nearly equidistant to Mobile, and given the strength of the currents, it is preferable to head north to Mobile, rather than attempt to tow against them," Carnival Cruise Lines President Gerry Cahill said.
In a statement, Cahill said that the Triumph is expected to arrive in Mobile on Thursday, about the same time it would arrive in Progreso from its current location.
He said returning to a U.S. port will also be more convenient for 900 guests on the ship traveling without passports.
The first of two tugs needed to move the stricken vessel arrived and tied up with the Triumph on Monday, and the second was expected early on Tuesday.
Carnival said its technical team had gradually restored power to some hotel functions. Public and cabin toilets are operational in certain sections of the ship, power has been restored to a limited number of elevators, and some power in the Lido dining area is providing for hot coffee and limited hot food service, Carnival said.
Cahill said Carnival is sorry for the inconvenience, discomfort and frustration of guests. "We know they expected a fantastic vacation, and clearly that is not what they received," he said.
He said personnel are working around the clock to care for passengers and get them home safely. Follow Tom Stieghorst on Twitter @tstravelweekly.