Carnival Cruise Line names final Vista-class ship

Image result for carnival panorama

Carnival Cruise Line has officially named Carnival Panorama in Long Beach, California, where the 4,008-passenger ship will be based.

No cruise line has deployed a new ship on the US west coast for 25 years, Carnival Cruise Line president Christine Duffy told more than 2,000 guests at last night’s ceremony onboard.

Carnival Corporation chairman Micky Arison, Arnold Donald, the corporation’s chief executive; and Princess Cruises’ president Jan Swartz were just some of the leading industry figures in attendance for the naming of the line’s final Vista-class ship.

Chefs Guy Fieri, Emeril Lagasse and Rudi Sodamin were all given a rousing reception by the crowd on the ship’s lido deck.

Image result for Chefs Guy Fieri, Emeril Lagasse and Rudi Sodamin

Duffy said: “This is the first new ship that will homeport here year-round for 25 years. We are very happy to homeport [Carnival Panorama] here in Long Beach alongside Carnival Inspiration and Carnival Imagination.”

Carnival Panorama has several new features including cooking school Carnival Kitchen, trampoline park Sky Zone and military veterans venue Heroes Tribute Bar.

Duffy said Heroes Tribute Bar on deck five was the feature which had “the most meaning”.

“At Carnival Cruise Line, we look to the godmother to personify the Carnival mission,” added Duffy, who introduced Carnival Panorama’s godmother Vanna White.

TV host White, who has starred in US game show Wheel of Fortune for 37 years, officially named the ship by pressing a button which smashed a bottle against the ship’s hull.

She said: “This naming of a brand-new ship is a once in a lifetime opportunity and one that I will never forget.

“Thank you, Carnival Cruise Line, for allowing me to serve as the ship’s godmother. I just know that the ship will provide endless fun for families for years to come.”

Carnival Panorama is operating six, seven and eight-day Mexican Riviera cruises from Long Beach year-round.

Why Carnival Panorama’s New Homeport Matters

Carnival Cruise Line commemorates the expansion of the Long Beach terminalPHOTO: Carnival Cruise Line commemorates the expansion of the Long Beach terminal. (photo courtesy of Carnival Cruise Line)
In a surprise move, Carnival Cruise Line just unveiled that it would be homeporting its upcoming new vessel—the 2019 Carnival Panorama—on the U.S. west coast year-round from Long Beach, California.

This is major news because such a deployment hardly ever happens, though it certainly should.

To give a clear sense of how infrequently Southern California is the base for a brand new cruise ship, it’s the first time Carnival has opted for it in two decades. I was on site at the newly expanded Long Beach terminal over the weekend to hear the news from Carnival President Christine Duffy firsthand, and I was both astonished and delighted.

Norwegian Cruise Line got the ball rolling in part when it announced it would be introducing its upcoming Norwegian Bliss in Alaska. However, it is only going to be there for a few months per year, alternating to the Caribbean in the off-season. In between, it too will be making several stops in Los Angeles for Mexican Riviera roundtrips from the port of San Pedro.

Helping, of course, is a resurgence of interest in Mexico itself. Carnival has always remained committed to the region: Even during the downturn, the brand was sending its Carnival Imagination and Carnival Inspiration on short getaway cruises to Ensenada and its Carnival Miracle farther south on weeklong voyages.

Now that the company has expanded its Long Beach terminal, it has replaced the Miracle with the larger Carnival Splendor for 2018 and will again swap out for the even bigger Carnival Panorama in 2019.

Previously, the east coast was predominantly earmarked for new vessels with hand-me-downs eventually making their way west. The recent Carnival Vista will move to Galveston as this year’s new Carnival Horizon comes to Miami. So if anything, it was expected that California might be next to get the Vista the year after with the Horizon shifting to Texas if the Panorama had gone to Florida.

Instead, the Panorama is going to Los Angeles. I’ve always believed that passengers interested in the latest ships would follow wherever they go—not just to the world’s cruise capital of Miami—and it would seem Carnival agrees.

Best of all, it might only be the start of a trend.

Carnival is also working on an Ensenada development project set for completion in 2020. Very few details have been revealed thus far, but it is said to be a unique dining, retail and attraction complex too, “make Ensenada one of the West Coast’s premier destinations,” according to Carlos Torres de Navarra, Carnival’s vice president, strategic and commercial port development.

Knowing how much vacant space exists pier-side in the Mexican port, that could potentially foreshadow a Grand Turk- or Amber Cove-type environment complete with the likes of a Margaritaville, swimming pool and waterslides immediately off the ship. (If nothing else, one can at least dream.)

It’s also not just Carnival that could follow suit. Plus, only Long Beach and San Pedro as homeports and Mexico and Alaska as destinations have thus been discussed off the west coast. Within the broader Carnival Corporation, Holland America Line is dedicated to departures from my hometown San Diego, with the brand leaving for Hawaii as well. Additional corporate cousin Princess Cruises also features the Cali coast from San Pedro.

These and other companies that call on California (like the Disney Cruise Line) could surely expand west with ever new ships as their fleets continue to grow. Already looking good for the future, cabin categories are selling out on Norwegian Bliss’ L.A. departures.

Should such demand sustain, I predict more fresh ships will follow and start a trend accordingly.

Carnival announces the first ship based on US west coast in 20 years

Image result for carnival panorama ship

Carnival Cruise Line is to deploy a new ship on the US west coast for the first time in 20 years.

Carnival Panorama will be based in Long Beach, California, from December 2019.

The 3,960-passenger Carnival Panorama, the third Vista-class ship in the fleet, will run seven-day Mexican Riviera itineraries with bookings due to open next month.

New features unique to the new ship will be announced in the near future, according to the cruise line.

The planned deployment followed the company revamping its 146,000-square-foot Long Beach Cruise Terminal and plans for a multi-million dollar port development in Ensenada, Mexico with shops, restaurants and attractions.

The renovation of the terminal at Long Beach more than doubles the size while enhancing the overall passenger experience and operational flow.

It also includes the expansion of portside shore power to enable larger ships to plug into the local electric grid, reducing exhaust emissions while docked.

Carnival Cruise Line president Christine Duffy said: “This is a momentous occasion for both Carnival and the City of Long Beach – not only are we celebrating the grand re-opening of this magnificent cruise terminal, but also demonstrating our commitment to the west coast with the deployment of the spectacular new Carnival Panorama in 2019 and the announcement of an exciting new port development project in Ensenada.

“The west coast is an important market with vast growth potential and these initiatives further demonstrate the confidence in our future success in Long Beach.

“We are very much looking forward to having Carnival Panorama homeported here beginning next year.”