Yesterday afternoon Cruise Diva shared the unfortunate news regarding Mobile, Alabama’s loss in the homeport sweepstakes. Frankly, if we had predicted a loser, it would have been Los Angeles (Long Beach), California. The Mexican Riviera isn’t a particularly exciting itinerary and, while it hasn’t cost the life of a cruise passenger (yet), the violence in some of Mexico’s ports has caused cruise lines, including Carnival, to avoid them for at least the near future.
However, there’s good news about Port Canaveral to share with you. In fact, it’s so good that port officials “leaked” the information to local media prior to Carnival announcing that they’ve added a new “Fun Ship” cruise program from that Florida homeport. The 2,052-passenger Carnival Ecstasy will operate 4- and 5-day Bahamas cruises from the Space Coast beginning Nov 7, 2011. The move further bolsters Carnival’s position as Port Canaveral’s largest cruise operator with three year-round ships carrying approximately 600,000 guests annually.
On Carnival Ecstasy’s new schedule, two different 4-day itineraries will be offered, along with two different 5-day itineraries. Carnival Ecstasy will depart Thursdays on 4-day ‘long weekend’ cruises visiting Nassau and Half Moon Cay or Freeport. Five-day cruises will depart Mondays and Saturdays and call at Nassau, Freeport and Half Moon Cay or Key West. Prior to repositioning to Port Canaveral, Carnival Ecstasy will continue to operate from Galveston, Texas through Sept 8, 2011 and then from New Orleans Sept 22 through Nov 5, 2011, as previously scheduled.
“In addition to offering a convenient departure point for millions of consumers in the southeastern US, along with attractive port facilities and excellent flight options into nearby Orlando, Port Canaveral is an extremely popular homeport and we’re excited to provide our guests with some fantastic new cruise choices from Central Florida,” said Gerry Cahill, Carnival president and CEO.
With Carnival Ecstasy’s new 4- and 5-day schedule, combined with year-round 3- and 4-day Bahamas cruises aboard Carnival Sensation, and 7-day eastern and western Caribbean voyages on Carnival Dream, the line will offer an unprecedented array of cruise lengths and itineraries from Port Canaveral.
Carnival Elation from New Orleans
Carnival Elation will reposition from Mobile, Alabama, to New Orleans to operate year-round 4- and 5-day western Caribbean cruises beginning Nov 5, 2011. On this route, 4-day cruises will depart Thursdays and visit Cozumel, Mexico, while 5-day voyages will call at both Cozumel and Progreso, Mexico.
Carnival Elation’s new schedule from New Orleans replaces the previously announced program from that port on Carnival Ecstasy. Carnival Elation will join Carnival Conquest in New Orleans, marking the first time Carnival has operated two ships from New Orleans in six years. Carnival will be the only cruise line with two ships based year-round in New Orleans, carrying more than 350,000 passengers annually.
Guests with Current Reservations
As a result of these deployment changes, Carnival will no longer offer cruises from Mobile, Alabama, as Cruise Diva reported yesterday. Guests booked on those voyages will have the option of re-booking from an alternate homeport and receive a $25 per person onboard credit, or they can elect to receive a full refund.
Things gets a bit confusing at this point, but stick with us. Guests booked on cruises from New Orleans on Carnival Ecstasy that will now be operated on Carnival Elation are being automatically shifted to Carnival Elation. Itineraries on Carnival Elation will be identical to those that were scheduled for Carnival Ecstasy. The two vessels are sister ships with largely similar features, amenities, and staterooms. (Those guests who were booked in standard balcony staterooms on Carnival Ecstasy—a cabin category not featured on Carnival Elation—will be contacted individually to discuss their preferences.) The movement of bookings from Carnival Ecstasy to Carnival Elation will be completed by Friday, March 11, 2011.
Carnival will begin accepting reservations for Carnival Ecstasy and Carnival Elation’s new programs from Port Canaveral and New Orleans beginning Friday, March 11. For additional information, visit Carnival.com.