Carnival offers new four- and five-day cruises from Port Canaveral

The Carnival Ecstasy is now offering some great deals for cruises out of Port Canaveral. Photo courtesy Carnival Cruise Lines.

By Jackie Roseboom

Carnival Cruise Lines will launch the cruise industry’s only four- and five-day Caribbean trips from Port Canaveral with the Carnival Ecstasy. She departed Nov. 7 on a five-day sold-out cruise to Nassau, Freeport and the private Bahamian island of Half Moon Cay — the first of 78 annual cruises from the Space Coast.

Carnival Ecstasy’s one-of-a-kind schedule includes two different four-day itineraries, along with two different five-day choices. Four-day “long weekend” cruises depart Thursdays and visit Nassau and Half Moon Cay or Freeport, while five-day voyages depart Mondays and Saturdays, calling at Nassau, Freeport and Half Moon Cay or Key West. Great rates include non-refundable Early Saver rates starting at $329 per person for four-day voyages and $349 per person for five-day departures.

Combined with Carnival Sensation’s three- and four-day Bahamas cruises and Carnival Dream’s seven-day eastern and western Caribbean voyages, the line offers a variety of itineraries, cruise lengths, and departure days from Port Canaveral.

“The growth of Port Canaveral as a cruise departure point is truly extraordinary and millions of consumers have discovered the benefits of sailing from this convenient and centrally located homeport,” said Gerry Cahill, Carnival president and CEO.  “The Canaveral Port Authority is an outstanding business partner and deploying a third year-round ship is a testament to our relationship with the port and our confidence in its continued success.”

Port Canaveral CEO Stan Payne said, “The Carnival Ecstasy’s arrival comes only a few days after we shattered our record for cruise passengers at Port Canaveral.”

Carnival Ecstasy received a multi-million dollar refurbishment in 2009 that added a new facilities and features, including a WaterWorks aqua park with a 300-foot-long spiral water slide, a tropical-themed resort-style main pool area and the Serenity adults-only retreat. Ninety-eight balconies were added to existing staterooms, as well. These new features are complimented by the ship’s onboard amenities such as a renovated 12,000-square-foot Spa Carnival health club, three restaurants, complimentary programs for children, a 24-hour pizzeria, a jogging track and 12 lounges, bars and nightspots.

Carnival Ecstasy’s new schedule continues the line’s longstanding relationship with Port Canaveral, that began in 1990 with a 950-passenger ship carrying approximately 100,000 passengers annually. Over the past 21 years, Carnival has dramatically expanded its presence at the port, adding newer and larger ships along with new schedules and itineraries.

For additional information on Carnival’s “Fun Ship” cruises go to carnival.com or contact your favorite travel agent.

– Jackie Roseboom is a regular contributor to Cruise Guide, “Orlando Attractions Magazine” and CruiseNewsWeekly.com.

Regent unveils 2013 itineraries

The 700-guest, ultra-luxurious Seven Seas Voyager is one of three ships in the Regent fleet expected to span the globe in 2013. Image courtesy Michael Coleman

By Michael Coleman

The ultra-luxurious Regent Seven Seas Cruises fleet — Voyager, Mariner and Navigator — is poised to offer new port calls, five Grand Voyages and a circle South America sailing as part of the line’s just released 2012-2013 winter collection itineraries.

Look for the Grand Voyages to feature exclusive amenities, a new Western Australia cruise, and business class air upgrades from just $999 each way. Widely recognized as the world’s most inclusive luxury line, Regent sailings feature all-suite accommodations, gourmet cuisine, premium spirits and fine wines, free shore excursions, gratuities, and a pre-cruise luxury hotel stay, at no additional cost.

“When you couple the new itineraries with our luxurious suites, personalized service, superb cuisine and all-inclusive pricing, Regent Seven Seas is the best value in luxury cruising,” said Regent president Mark Conroy.

Beginning October 2012, Voyager will offer five Grand Voyages departing Rome, Bali, Auckland and Beijing. Ranging from 54 to 143 nights, Grand Voyages include exclusive amenities such as free Business Class air, a special pre-cruise overnight and dinner, exclusive event, free Visas, internet access and more.

From December 2012 through April 2013, the ship visits Australia, New Zealand, Thailand, Bali, Vietnam, India, China and Japan, including maiden calls at Hiroshima and Huangpu (Canton), China. Many of the Asian itineraries offer free land programs or multi-night hotel packages in Angkor Wat, Sydney, Bali, Auckland, Hong Kong, Beijing, Chiang Mai, Safaga (Luxor) and to the Taj Mahal.

A new 21-night Western Australia cruise, departing Dec. 19, 2012, features maiden calls at Exmouth, Fremantle (Perth), Geraldton and Kangaroo Island.

Mariner’s circle South America, meanwhile, will explore many of the continent’s most popular ports-of-call with a 72-night voyage, roundtrip from Miami departing January 7, 2013. The 700-guest vessel will offer exclusive amenities include free First Class air, special pre-cruise overnight and dinner in Miami, an exclusive event, free private transfers to and from the port of Miami, free roundtrip luggage delivery service, Internet access and Visas. Four shorter South America voyages ranging from 12 to 24 nights focus on the Panama Canal, Chilean Fjords, Brazil, Argentina and the Amazon.

The 492-guest Navigator will feature voyages to the tropics now operating roundtrip from Miami — one of the line’s newest ports — beginning November 2012 through April 2013, with 16 departures to the eastern and western Caribbean. The ship then departs Miami for an 18-night voyage to San Francisco to begin its highly-popular cruises to Alaska.

The spacious pool-deck aboard Regent Seven Seas Voyager received a recent face-lift as part of a multi-million-dollar, ship-wide refurbishment. Image courtesy Michael Coleman

The line was recently rated the “World’s Best Cruise Line” by readers of Condé Nast Traveler magazine and was recognized as the “Best Luxury Cruise Experience” by Virtuoso, the leading luxury travel network.

The Regent fleet visits some 300 global destinations each year.