For the first time ever, Marella Cruises will base a ship in the United States as the Marella Discovery will sail from Port Canaveral in 2021.
The TUI-owned brand targeted at the British market will sail the Marella Discovery from the port beginning in Summer 2021, offering four new itineraries with 11 port-of-call visits.
“We’re excited that Marella Cruises has selected Port Canaveral as the homeport for its first-ever cruises from the United States,” Port CEO Captain John Murray said. “Today’s announcement is another endorsement that our ongoing investments in state-of-the-art terminals and commitment to excellence in cruise operations continue to earn the confidence of some of the world’s most successful cruise brands.”
Cruise bookings go on sale Thursday, Nov. 7, for 26 seasonal voyages from May 2, 2021, through Oct. 24, 2021.
The ship will sail from Port Canaveral’s Cruise Terminal 5.
“We’re really excited to be setting sail from the USA,” said Chris Hackney, Managing Director at Marella Cruises. “Expanding our program provides an opportunity for cruisers to sample the American Dream, and we’ve ensured there really is something for everyone, whether that’s a visit to Walt Disney World in Florida, an evening in New York, authentic jazz music in New Orleans or a rollercoaster in Busch Gardens. Offering our customers more choice and flexibility is at the heart of what we do.”
Customers sailing on Marella’s American Dream and Big Apple Adventure itineraries will enjoy an overnight stop in New York City. The Discovery will also visit Miami and Turks and Caicos on its Sunshine States and Sands itinerary. And customers can select seven- or 14-night options with an overnight stay in Tampa on the ship’s Floridian Favorites itinerary. Guests choosing one of the four itineraries also have the flexibility to extend their cruise ashore with available cruise-and-stay packages available in Orlando.
The Marella Discovery will make port-of-call visits to the Ports of Charleston, S.C., New York City, Freeport and Nassau, Bahamas, Norfolk, Va., Key West, Miami, Tampa, Fort Lauderdale and New Orleans.
Anticipating the first LNG-fueled cruise ship to sail out of a U.S. port, Carnival Cruise Line’s Mardi Gras, Tom Strang, senior vice president of maritime affairs for Carnival Corporation, told Cruise Industry News that the company has worked closely with Port Canaveral, the LNG supplier, the Coast Guard and other stakeholders, paving the way.
“There were little formal rules existing on ship-to-ship bunkering,” he explained, “so together with Shell and Port Canaveral, we have agreed to follow the standardized processes we developed for our bunkering operations in Europe, in Tenerife and Barcelona. Our LNG ships pretty much share the same technical platform enabling us to follow the same processes and procedures.”
Strang noted that crew and officers have been trained in the bunkering operation at CSMART where Carnival built a full-scale mock-up bunkering rig.
In addition, an engineering simulator was built for training purposes, and pilots also travelled to CSMART to learn how the ship will handle.
Explained Strang: “With LNG, the rate of loading of the engines is slightly slower with a gaseous fuel than with conventional fuel, but working with the engine manufacturer, the shipyard and Valmet’s automation engineers, we have been able to negate any major issues.
“Also, if there is an emergency and full power is needed immediately, the engines will switch over to diesel and you get an immediate response.”
In addition, some MGO has to be burnt routinely to keep it moving through the tanks, he added. It is also used as a pilot fuel for the LNG.
Bunkering by barge in Port Canaveral, the process for the Mardi Gras will take about six to eight hours, according to Strang. That is longer than conventional bunkering, and the goal is to find ways to speed up the process, while obviously maintaining safety, he noted.
LNG will take Carnival all the way to IMO’s 2030 greenhouse gas reduction target as far as the newbuilds are concerned. “We have 21 new ships on order,” Strang said, “and 10 of them are LNG, after the AIDAnova, which entered service late last year.
“The percentage of the fleet with LNG will be high. Later we will also see how we can continue to reduce our carbon emissions by potentially introducing biogas or synthetic gas into the supply chain.”