By Michael Coleman
Carnival is poised to add another ship, year round, at Port Canaveral.
The 2,052-passenger Carnival Ecstasy will operate four- and five-day Bahamas cruises from the Space Coast beginning Nov. 7, 2011. The move further bolsters Carnival’s position as Port Canaveral’s largest cruise operator with three, year-round ships scheduled to carry some 600,000 guests annually.â€¨
â€¨“In addition to offering a convenient departure point for millions of consumers in the southeastern U.S., along with attractive port facilities and excellent flight options into nearby Orlando, Port Canaveral is an extremely popular homeport and we’re excited to provide our guests with some fantastic new cruise choices from Central Florida,” said Gerry Cahill, Carnival president and CEO. â€¨ â€¨
On the Carnival Ecstasy’s new schedule, two different four-day itineraries will be offered along with two different five-day itineraries. â€¨ â€¨
Ecstasy will depart Thursdays on four-day ‘long weekend’ cruises visiting Nassau and Half Moon Cay or Freeport. Five-day cruises will depart Mondays and Saturdays and call at Nassau, Freeport and Half Moon Cay or Key West. â€¨ â€¨
From Port Canaveral, the line offers year-round three- and four-day Bahamas cruises aboard Carnival Sensation and seven-day eastern and western Caribbean voyages on Carnival Dream.
Prior to its repositioning, Ecstasy will continue to operate from Galveston, Texas through September 8, 2011 and then from New Orleans September 22 through November 5, 2011, as previously scheduled. â€¨ â€¨
Meanwhile, the company said this week Carnival Elation will reposition from Mobile, Ala., to New Orleans to operate year-round four- and five-day western Caribbean cruises beginning Nov. 5, 2011. On this route, four-day cruises will depart Thursdays and visit Cozumel, one of the Caribbean’s most popular ports, while five-day voyages will call at both Cozumel and Progreso.â€¨ â€¨
Carnival Elation’s new schedule from New Orleans replaces the previously announced program from that port on the Carnival Ecstasy. â€¨ â€¨
Carnival Elation will join the Carnival Conquest in New Orleans, marking the first time Carnival has operated two ships from New Orleans in six years. Carnival will be the only cruise line with two ships based year-round in New Orleans, carrying more than 350,000 passengers annually. â€¨ â€¨
As a result of these deployment changes, Carnival will no longer be offering cruises from Mobile, Ala.
Student Center Opens
It was also a big week on the home front for Carnival. In Miami, the new Carnival Student Center opened at Florida International University’s School of Hospitality and Tourism Management.
Located adjacent to the campus’ bayside terrace, the modern facility encompasses more than 2,600 square feet and has been completely renovated and repurposed to create an attractive and inviting gathering place for students. â€¨ â€¨
With an advising center, reading room, computer workstations and fully-equipped conference rooms, a variety of groups and organizations, from students to industry executives scouting prospective interns and employees, can utilize the new multi-functional space. â€¨ â€¨
The Carnival Student Center was made possible by a gift to FIU which also includes an endowment for scholarships.
Carnival’s 22 ships operate three- to 16-day voyages to The Bahamas, Caribbean, Mexican Riviera, Alaska, Hawaii, Panama Canal, Canada, New England, Bermuda, Europe, the Pacific Islands and New Zealand. The line currently has two new 130,000-ton ships on order — Carnival Magic, set to debut in Europe May 1, 2011, and Carnival Breeze, scheduled to enter service in spring 2012.
On the web: carnival.com