Carnival to restart operations from three U.S. ports

The Carnival Dream will sail from Galveston starting Aug. 1.
The Carnival Dream will sail from Galveston starting Aug. 1.

Carnival Cruise Line plans to resume service on Aug. 1 with sailings from Miami, Port Canaveral and Galveston on eight ships.

Carnival is calling it the first phase of its resumption plan. The cruise line’s operations pause will extend in all other North American and Australian markets through Aug. 31.

The cruise line said that any resumption of cruise operations “is fully dependent on our continued efforts in cooperation with federal, state, local and international government officials.”

Carnival has not provided itinerary details, but plans to launch the Carnival Dream, Carnival Freedom and Carnival Vista from Galveston; the Carnival Horizon, Carnival Magic and Carnival Sensation from Miami; and Carnival Breeze and Carnival Elation from Port Canaveral.

Carnival Vista | The Carnival Vista in the main canal at the… | Flickr

Carnival said it would “engage experts, government officials and stakeholders on additional protocols and procedures to protect the health and safety of our guests, crew and the communities we serve. We appreciate the understanding and support of our guests and travel agent partners and look forward to welcoming them on board as the environment for travel and tourism improves.”

The line also announced additional cancellations beyond Aug. 31 on the Carnival Spirit, which cancelled its Alaska cruises from Seattle as well as its Vancouver-Honolulu cruise on Sept. 25 and Honolulu-Brisbane transpacific cruise on Oct. 6.

Steady Growth for Carnival in Galveston

Carnival Vista in Galveston

The Carnival Radiance and Breeze will join the Vista and Dream sailing from Galveston year-round in May 2021, Carnival Cruise Line announced today.

“We’ve been undergoing steady growth in Galveston since we started sailing there in 2000 with one ship,” said Fred Stein senior director of revenue planning and fleet development, Carnival Cruise Line.

The line went to three ships out of Galveston in 2015, with the Vista taking the place of the Breeze recently and adding more berths to the market.

“The next level of growth is adding a fourth ship,” Stein continued.

The four ships will mean Carnival is posting a 25 per cent increase in berths out of Galveston, according to Cruise Industry News data, with over 13,000 berths based in the Texas port in 2021.

Demand comes via 37 million people within a 500-mile drive, according to Stein, and many who fly in from the West Coast to Houston.

Fred Stein

The Radiance, which will be converted from the Carnival Victory after a $200 million drydock next year, is moving to Galveston from Port Canaveral, while the Breeze comes over from Port Everglades for her Texas return.

The Freedom will be redeployed elsewhere, with an announcement expected soon.

All told, Carnival could carry nearly one million guests from Galveston on 235 itineraries in 2021, ranging from five to 14 days.

Stein said the port’s infrastructure can handle the four ships, and parking capacity was more than sufficient. 

The Radiance will concentrate on mainly five-day cruises, but three new nine-day options are available that depart on Fridays. Stein said these voyages were ideal as they offered a nine-day vacation, but for the most guest, only a week off work.

One nine-day option will call at Cozumel, Limon (Costa Rica), and feature a partial Panama Canal transit or a visit to Colon (Panama), while another features Key West, Grand Turk, Half Moon Cay and Nassau. The third voyage calls at Grand Cayman, Mahogany Bay (Isla Roatan), Belize, Costa Maya and Cozumel.

“This is the most differentiated content we have been able to offer from Galveston,” Stein told Cruise Industry News. 

The company is also offering two 14-day Carnival Journeys sailings, featuring eight ports each. 

“Those offer a lot of differentiated port content you wouldn’t get on a short cruise,” Stein said.

The Carnival Breeze will move into the short cruise rotation, sailing year-round four- and five-day itineraries.

“The Breeze has been in Galveston for quite a while,” Stein said. “She is very popular in Texas and will take on the four- and five-day cruises that the Dream is doing.”

Four-day “weekend” cruises leave on Thursdays and call in Cozumel while five-day cruises depart on Mondays and Saturdays with calls at Cozumel and either Progreso or Costa Maya. 

The Dream will move to a new six- and eight-day cruise schedule in May 2021 while the Vista will sail week-long cruises on two separate Western Caribbean itineraries.

Carnival plans to carry its 8 millionth guest from Galveston in early 2021.

2000 to 2020

Carnival started year-round cruising out of Galveston in 2000 with the Carnival Celebration, which was based in the port and offered four- and five-day Western Caribbean sailings at the time.

Double Carnival Call in Galveston

At the time, the Miami-based brand was the first major cruise line to base a ship year-round out of Galveston. Carnival made a five-year deal in 2000 and in return, the port invested in renovating its passenger terminal and building a parking facility for 1,100 cars.

It’s been all growth then, with the Jubilee joining the Celebration in 2002. 

The ships got bigger over time, and two ships became three in 2015, with 2021 set to see four ships sailing year-round for Carnival from Galveston.

Carnival increases capacity for short cruises

Image result for carnival Dream

Carnival Cruise Line will raise the number of cabins devoted to short cruises out of Galveston and New Orleans in 2019.

It will send the 2,974-passenger Carnival Valor to New Orleans and the 3,646-passenger Carnival Dream to Galveston, representing capacity increases of 10% and 22%, respectively, for the four- and five-day itineraries there.

In Galveston, the Carnival Dream replaces the Valor and will join the Carnival Freedom and Carnival Vista, which repositions to Galveston in fall 2018.

The Valor will swing to New Orleans to replace the Carnival Triumph, which will be repositioned to a port to be determined.

Four-day cruises depart Thursdays and visit Cozumel. Five-day voyages depart Mondays and Saturdays, calling at Cozumel and Progreso. Some five-day itineraries from Galveston feature Cozumel and Costa Maya.

The Carnival Dream recently underwent a refurbishment that added Guy’s Pig and Anchor Bar-B-Que, the pharmacy-themed Alchemy Bar, the BlueIguana Cantina Mexican restaurant and the full-service Bonsai Sushi restaurant.

Valor last year added Guy’s Burger Joint, the Caribbean-themed RedFrog Pub, SkyBox sports bar, an Alchemy Bar and the poolside RedFrog Rum Bar and BlueIguana Tequila Bar.