Carnival Fascination returns to San Juan

San Juan has regained its homeported Carnival Cruise Line ship, five months after Hurricane Maria knocked the Carnival Fascination out of the market.

The 2,056-passenger Fantasy-class ship was chartered to the Federal Emergency Management Agency for use by relief workers in St. Croix for several months after the storm while Carnival repaired damage to its terminal in San Juan.

The 24-year-old ship then went into a drydock to be upgraded before returning to cruising duty.  Several Funship 2.0 restaurants were installed during the drydock, including Guy’s Burger Joint, the BlueIguana Cantina and Bonsai Sushi Express. Bar concepts new to the ship will be the Alchemy Bar, the RedFrog Rum Bar and the BlueIguana Tequilla Bar. The candy store Cherry on Top was also retrofitted to the ship.

The Fascination will depart San Juan on Sundays for seven-day round-trip voyages stopping in St. Lucia, Barbados, St. Kitts, St. Thomas and St. Maarten.

FEMA Carnival Charter Cost $74.7 Million

Carnival Fascination

The Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) charter of the Carnival Fascination will cost the agency $74.7 million, according to the contract between FEMA and Carnival Corporation, which was obtained by Cruise Industry News through a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request.

The ship was chartered to provide housing for relief staff in the United States Virgin Islands following a number of hurricanes in September.

The charter period runs from October 11, 2017, to February 3, 2018, at a cost of $39.7 million, while a separate provision for port costs and other vessel costs comes in at $35 million, totalling $74.7 million.

By comparison, a 116-day operating period for the 2,056-guest Carnival Fascination would have resulted in gross revenue of approximately $44.2 million (versus the $39.7 million for the charter), calculated using gross revenue per passenger day reported by Carnival Corporation in the fourth quarter of 2016 and analyzed by Cruise Industry News.

By comparison, FEMA chartered the Grand Celebration in a similar deal for $25.8 million. 

The contract stipulates Carnival will provide three hot and cold buffet meals per day as well as drink availability (water, coffee, tea, juice) between meals. Staterooms will be cleaned on a weekly basis. In addition, Carnival will provide access to public spaces for FEMA personnel.

The separate $35 million line item includes docking and port fees in San Juan, various logistics provisions, waste removal, fuel costs, incremental costs related to crew compensation, and the “refurbishment of the ship at the end of the charter period to bring the ship to the same standards as the beginning of the charter period.”

Disney to Expand San Diego Season in 2019

Disney Wonder

Disney Cruise Line will offer an expanded two-month season from San Diego in 2019, sailing to Baja and the Mexican Riviera as the company today announced some of its 2019 deployment.

There are also cruises to Southern Caribbean from San Juan, Puerto Rico, according to the company. From January to May, all cruises departing from Florida feature a stop at Castaway Cay.

Bookings open to the public on Nov. 2, 2017.

More details on 2019 itineraries can be found on the Ports and Itineraries for 2019 page of disneycruise.com.

The Disney Wonder returns to San Diego for an extended season from March to May 2019, with a variety of cruises to Mexico, including two-, four-, five- and seven-night voyages.

Most sailings to Mexico’s Baja peninsula call on Ensenada. Two-night cruises to Ensenada boast Friday departures from San Diego for a weekend experience.

Four- and five-night Baja options include a visit to Cabo San Lucas.

Seven-night sailings to the Mexican Riviera call on Cabo San Lucas, Puerto Vallarta, and Mazatlán.

In January, three special Disney Wonder cruises from San Juan sail to the Southern Caribbean. The Disney Wonder arrives in San Juan after a five-night journey departing Jan. 9 from Galveston, Texas, with a stop in Falmouth, Jamaica.

On Feb. 3, a four-night cruise aboard the Disney Wonder takes guests from San Juan to Port Canaveral, Florida.

The Disney Fantasy continues to sail seven-night Caribbean voyages, with Eastern Caribbean itineraries visiting the Virgin Islands of Tortola and St. Thomas, and Western Caribbean cruises calling on Cozumel, Mexico, Grand Cayman and Falmouth.

The Disney Dream embarks on three- and four-night Bahamian cruises to Nassau and Castaway Cay and the Disney Wonder will alternate similar three- and four-night itineraries throughout February.

To kick off 2019, the Disney Magic continues sailing from Miami with four- and five-night voyages to the Bahamas, plus five-night Western Caribbean cruises.