Friday, February 17, 2012

Cruise News: Carnival Cruise Lines Shifts More Ships in the Caribbean & Europe for 2013

With this week's story about Carnival Legend’s 2013 European deployment still fresh in our minds, Carnival Cruise Lines has announced another surprise ship shift to take place next year. The “Fun Ship” line will increase capacity on its 7-day Southern Caribbean itineraries from San Juan, as well as on its 4- and 5-day cruises from Miami, deploying newer, larger ships in both markets. And, the bigger surprise is that another ship will set sail for Europe.

The 2,974-passenger Carnival Valor will launch a five-port, 7-day schedule from San Juan beginning Feb. 10, 2013, becoming the newest and largest ship to operate year-round from that port. Carnival Valor will replace the 2,758-passenger Carnival Victory, which will reposition from San Juan to Miami to assume the Carnival Destiny’s 4- and 5-day cruises beginning Feb. 4, 2013. Carnival Victory will then be the newest and largest ship to operate year-round 4- and 5-day voyages from South Florida.

Carnival Valor’s 7-day Southern Caribbean sailings from San Juan will feature extended calls at five tropical islands–St. Thomas, USVI; Bridgetown, Barbados; St. Lucia, West Indies; St. Kitts, West Indies; and St. Maarten, Netherlands Antilles. In addition to calling at some of the Caribbean’s most beautiful beaches, these seaside destinations are known for their world-class snorkeling and scuba diving, as well as water sports opportunities.

Carnival Victory will offer year-round 4- and 5-day cruises from Miami when it launches service from the popular homeport. Carnival Victory’s Miami-based schedule features three distinctly different itineraries, providing a variety of convenient and affordable cruise options departing from one of America’s top tourist destinations. Four-day “long weekend” cruises departing Thursdays call at Key West, Florida, and Cozumel, Mexico; 5-day cruises departing Mondays include stops at Grand Turk, Turks and Caicos Islands; the private Bahamian island of Half Moon Cay; and Nassau, The Bahamas. Five-day voyages departing Saturdays feature George Town, Grand Cayman; and Ocho Rios, Jamaica. Each of these destinations offers a truly unique vacation experience, with miles of gorgeous white-sand beaches and an interesting array of shore excursion choices such as zip-lining, horseback riding, kayaking, and more.

So, what’s with the Carnival Destiny’s schedule? When Carnival Victory replaces her in Miami, she will offer a 16-day transatlantic crossing departing Miami Feb. 4 and arriving in Civitavecchia (Rome) on Feb. 20, 2013. Featured ports on the crossing include Ponta Delgada (Azores), Portugal; Malaga, Spain; Monte Carlo, Monaco; and Genoa and Livorno, Italy. Details on the Carnival Destiny’s deployment following the transatlantic crossing will be announced at a later date.

Once again we note that without a brand-new ship launching from Italy next year, Carnival is sending not one, but two ships across the Atlantic to fill that void. Granted that neither ship, Carnival Legend (2,124-passengers) or Carnival Destiny (2,642-passengers), is as large as the 3,646-passenger Carnival Breeze that debuts this summer and sails her maiden season in the Mediterranean; however, when combined, the two older ships far exceed previous capacity for Carnival’s seasonal European deployment.

In addition to the above announced itineraries, there will be special repositioning cruises to get the fleetmates in position. Carnival Victory will offer a one-of-a-kind 8-day cruise from San Juan to Miami departing Jan. 27, 2013, with stops at St. Thomas, Aruba, Curacao and Nassau, while Carnival Valor will feature a one-time 7-day cruise from Miami to San Juan departing on Feb. 3, 2013, visiting Grand Turk, Antigua, St. Kitts and St. Thomas.

And then, of course, there is that unexpected Carnival Destiny transatlantic crossing. For the time being, we’ll have to wait to see where’s she sailing once she reaches the Med, although there is the possibililty that Carnival Destiny could take over the schedule of Costa Concordia. Perhaps Carnival Destiny could even be transferred to the Costa fleet. Of course that’s pure speculation on my part. But if it comes to pass, remember that you heard it here first.

Image Courtesy of Carnival Cruise Lines

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