Steel was cut last week for Carnival Corporation’s first-China built ship, now under construction at Shanghai Waigaoqiao Shipbuilding Co Ltd facility., and due for delivery in the second half of 2023, according to Chinese news sources.
At the steel cutting ceremony, a rendering and vessel model was unveiled, which appear to show a Vista-class ship with a dual AIDA/Costa funnel, and sporting an AIDA livery.
Carnival’s China newbuild project is part of a joint venture, with the ships set to go to a yet-to-be-named domestic brand in which Carnival is a partner with China State Shipbuilding Corporation. Fincantieri is also involved, having licensed the Vista-class platform.
Further information about the domestic brand has yet to be revealed.
The joint venture calls for the transfer of existing vessels (two Costa ships) and then the newbuild project, with orders firmed up for a pair of 135,000-ton Vista-class ships, and an option for up to four more.
The contracted price is reported to be $770 million per new vessel.
The outdoor serving station at Guy’s Pig & Anchor Smokehouse/Brewhouse. Photo Credit: Tom StieghorstONBOARD THE CARNIVAL HORIZON — Before this ship got its official name, Carnival Cruise Line president Christine Duffy liked to joke that it would be called the Vista Sista.
The two ships are truly as similar as siblings, with just a few wrinkles separating the 2016-delivered Carnival Vista from 2018’s Horizon.
One of the most noticeable differences can be discerned as soon as guests board the 133,500-gross-ton Horizon, however. The Horizon is the first Carnival ship to be equipped with “destination-based” elevators.
The system, which was initially intended for the Vista, puts all the elevator floor commands on a touchscreen in the waiting area, rather than having them clustered on a panel inside the elevator itself.
Passengers punch in their destination, and a software program assigns them the next elevator that is headed to their destination floor. The idea is to cut down on wait times.
For anyone who hasn’t encountered the system on land previously, it takes a day or two to get comfortable with not having the traditional buttons to push inside the car. The walls next to the elevator doors look oddly empty, and one is left to trust that the system really will deliver you to the desired destination.
Many of the features introduced on the Vista have been faithfully reproduced on the Horizon without any variation, including the Imax theatre, the Family Harbor Lounge and the amazing Dreamscape columns that anchor the main atrium and the casino bar.
Up top, the nifty SkyRide recumbent bikes suspended from their dual tracks circle the funnel just like on the Vista.
At first glance, the Havana Cabana section seems like another duplicate, but the warren of tropically themed suites has been enlarged, giving it 79 cabins, 18 more than on the Vista.
On the top deck, the WaterWorks children’s water park has been festively rebranded with Dr. Seuss themes, with Seuss characters prowling the premises. Kids can choose between the red-and-white Cat in the Hat slide or the blue Fun Things slide. There’s also a 300-gallon Cat in the Hat tipping bucket.
In the atrium, Carnival has added new retail names such as Michael Kors, Hublot and Kate Spade. But the biggest addition for the Horizon is Victoria’s Secret store, the lingerie chain’s first full store at sea.
Perhaps the greatest area of innovation on the Horizon has been in the food offerings, starting with Guy’s Pig & Anchor Smokehouse/Brewhouse, a name that requires some unpacking to understand.
The Guy is Guy Fieri, the TV chef who has created a burger concept for Carnival and also some complimentary BBQ pit stops on a few Carnival vessels. The Horizon is the first ship to have a proper barbecue restaurant, which accounts for the Smokehouse part of the name. It is open for free lunch on embarkation and sea days and at dinner with a la carte pricing each evening of the cruise.
The Brewhouse is a relocation of the brewery on the Vista from the RedFrog Pub into the BBQ restaurant. Carnival’s brewmaster has created four craft beers intended to complement the smoky food.
Another area where Carnival has combined venues is Fahrenheit 555, the steakhouse speciality restaurant that now has piano music at dinner. That was accomplished by relocating Piano Bar 88 from an area down the hall on the Vista to a space immediately adjacent to the steakhouse, where a private dining room sits on the Vista.
A wall divider between the piano bar and the restaurant is opened during early evening when dinner begins.
“You have live piano music while you’re in the steakhouse,” Duffy said. “And then we close that off and go back to the piano bar after dinner.”
Another change in the steakhouse is dessert presentation, which is done with flair and brio at the table.
The Bonsai Sushi area has been expanded to incorporate Carnival’s first attempt at teppanyaki, the Japanese griddle restaurant with performing chefs who plate food with a circus-like theatricality
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.”