With capacity increases in five U.S. homeports, new year-round programs from Mobile, Ala., and Jacksonville, Fla., and its first-ever Mediterranean cruises, Carnival Cruise Lines expects to carry a record 3.3m passengers in the coming year. Newer, larger Fun Ships have been deployed in Miami; Tampa; New Orleans; Galveston, Texas; and Long Beach, Calif., representing an average capacity increase of 31% over the vessels they replaced. In total, the Carnival brand will operate more than 1,300 cruises aboard 20 ships departing from 18 North American homeports – the most in cruising – during 2005.
Capacity expansions include the recently introduced 2,974-passenger Carnival Valor, the largest Fun Ship ever based in Miami, operating week-long Caribbean voyages. Carnival also continues its dramatic growth in New Orleans and Galveston by deploying 2,052-passenger Fantasy-class vessels in those markets. The 2,124-passenger Carnival Miracle is now Tampa’s largest Fun Ship, while the 2,052-passenger Inspiration is deployed on four- and five-day cruises from the central Florida port. The 2,052-passenger Paradise was redeployed to Long Beach to become the newest cruise ship to operate short voyages from the West Coast.
2005 also marks the first full year of new Carnival programs from Mobile and Jacksonville – the only year-round schedules from those ports. From Mobile, the 1,452-passenger Holiday departs Thursdays on four-day cruises to Cozumel, and Mondays and Saturdays on five-day voyages to Cozumel and Playa del Carmen or Costa Maya. From Jacksonville, the 1,486-passenger Celebration sails Thursdays on four-day cruises to Freeport and Nassau and five-day cruises to Key West and Nassau.
This year ushers in Carnival’s first Mediterranean cruises, on the new Carnival Liberty. The 12-day, seven-port voyages operate roundtrip from Civitavecchia, July 20 - Oct. 12.