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Carnival Breeze to shift to Galveston, Carnival Magic to Port Canaveral in spring 2016

Carnival Cruise Line today announced deployment changes designed to enhance its leadership position in two key homeports – Galveston and  Port Canaveral, Fla., – while providing exciting “Fun Ship” itinerary choices in time for next summer’s cruise season.

Carnival Breeze will reposition to Galveston in May 2016 and Carnival Magic to Port Canaveral in April 2016, several months earlier than previously announced.  Carnival Breeze will assume Carnival Magic’s year-round schedule of seven-day day Galveston cruises beginning May 8, 2016. Carnival Magic will take over Carnival Valor’s current seven-day day Port Canaveral cruise program April 23, 2016.   

In turn, Carnival Splendor will assume Carnival Breeze’s six- and eight-day Caribbean schedule from Miami May 1, 2016.  Carnival Valor will offer a new series of five- and eight-day departures from Port Canaveral beginning June 4, 2016 instead of October 2016 as previously announced.

“Galveston and Port Canaveral are two important markets for ‘Fun Ship’ cruising and these deployment changes provide our guests and travel agent partners with exciting new options featuring a variety of on-board innovations and visiting top destinations in the Caribbean, Mexico, Bahamas and Florida,” said Christine Duffy, Carnival’s president.

Carnival Breeze to Launch Year-Round Service from Galveston in May 2016

Carnival Breeze will kick off its new Galveston-based cruise program May 8, 2016, departing every Sunday on three different week-long itineraries:  western Caribbean cruises calling at either Montego Bay, Grand Cayman and Cozumel, or Belize, Mahogany Bay (Isla Roatan) and Cozumel, and a seven-day Bahamas/Florida route with stops in Nassau, Freeport, and Key West.

The line’s newest ship, Carnival Breeze offers such innovations as a multi-dimensional cinema experience called Thrill Theater, the Bonsai Sushi full-service Asian restaurant and WaterWorks, an aqua park that includes a 312-foot-long slide, a 150-gallon PowerDrencher tipping bucket, the DrainPipe funnel-style attraction and a splash area for younger cruisers.

Carnival Breeze, originally scheduled to reposition to Galveston in December 2016, replaces Carnival Magic which will reposition to Port Canaveral in April 2016.

Carnival Magic to Sail Seven-day Cruises from Port Canaveral in April 2016

Carnival Magic will reposition to Port Canaveral to operate seven-day Caribbean cruises beginning April 23, 2016.

Carnival Magic will offer two distinctly different week-long itineraries from the Space Coast – a western Caribbean route featuring Cozumel, Belize, Mahogany Bay (Isla Roatan) and Costa Maya; and an eastern Caribbean option calling at St. Thomas, San Juan, Grand Turk and Nassau or Amber Cove.  Prior to launching its new seven-day schedule from Port Canaveral, Carnival Magic will operate a special three-day cruise to Nassau April 20-23, 2016.

Carnival Magic was the first cruise ship to feature a suspended ropes course, part of an expansive open-air recreation area called SportSquare, as well as the Cucina del Capitano Italian family-style restaurant and the RedFrog Pub, a Caribbean-inspired watering hole serving the line’s private label draught brew, ThirstyFrog Red.

Carnival Magic’s previously announced schedule from Port Canaveral was scheduled to begin in December 2016.

Carnival Splendor to Offer Six- and Eight-Day Cruises from Miami in May 2016

Carnival Splendor will launch six- and eight-day Caribbean cruises from Miami May 1, 2016, departing alternating Saturdays and Sundays.

The schedule, which runs through December 2016, includes eight-day southern Caribbean cruises featuring Grand Turk, La Romana (Dominican Republic), Curaçao, and Aruba, along with eight-day eastern Caribbean departures visiting Grand Turk, San Juan, St. Kitts, and St. Maarten.  Carnival Splendor will also offer a three-port, six-day option featuring Grand Cayman, Cozumel and Ocho Rios.  

Carnival Splendor will offer a nine-day Carnival Journeys cruise round-trip from Miami departing May 26, 2016, and featuring an overnight call in King’s Wharf, Bermuda, as well as visits to Amber Cove (Dominican Republic) and Grand Turk. A number of special on-board activities and programming are planned, as well.  

The 113,300-ton Carnival Splendor boasts on-board features like a 21,000-square-foot Cloud 9 Spa featuring a thalassotherapy pool and thermal suite, a retractable dome covering the mid-ship pool, and a classic American steakhouse serving prime steaks and other gourmet cuisine.

Carnival Valor to Offer Three- to Eight-day Cruises from Port Canaveral in May 2016

Carnival Valor will offer a new short cruise schedule from the Space Coast in May 2016 before launching year-round five- and eight-day departures in June 2016.

Three- to five-day sailings will take place throughout May and visit such popular ports as Grand Turk, Nassau, Freeport, and Amber Cove. The ship will also offer a one-time six-day cruise departing May 15 and featuring Nassau, Amber Cove and Grand Turk.

Carnival Valor’s year-round five- to eight-day voyages begin June 4, 2016.  Five-day cruises will visit Nassau, Half Moon Cay and Freeport.  Eight-day eastern Caribbean cruises will call at Grand Turk, San Juan, St. Kitts and St. Maarten; while eight-day southern Caribbean sailings will include Curaçao or Bonaire, Aruba and Grand Turk.

Carnival Valor is currently based in Port Canaveral and scheduled to undergo an extensive dry dock in spring 2016 that will add a variety of Fun Ship 2.0 innovations. 

Odo-CBR Commentary: Could unallocated Carnival ships from Turku go to China?

Carnival Corporation & plc, the world's largest cruise shipping group, said that the two 180,000 gross ton LNG powered ships it had ordered from Meyer Werft in Papenburg will enter service with AIDA Cruises in Germany, while two similar vessels from Meyer Turku would be allocated to a brand later.

The company said two of the ships will be built for AIDA Cruises at Meyer Werft's shipyard in Papenburg. "Additional information about the ships, including which new ships will be added to each brand, will be made available at a later date," Carnival said in a statement this morning.

However, on 27 March Carnival signed two strategic memorandums of agreement, with Meyer and Fincantieri respectively, that will add a total of nine new cruise ships to the company's fleet over a four-year period from 2019 - 2022. Details of the vessels and to which brands they would be allocated will be disclosed later, but the company said they would serve the North American, European and Chinese markets, Carnival said at the time.

We think it is quite possible that the two ships from Turku will enter service in China, probably under the brand name of a new company that will focus on the Chinese markets.

The newbuildings Carnival group ordered today have a capacity of 5,000 in lower beds and a maximum of 6,600 and their public areas will be designed with flexibility and multi functionality in mind: a high density design probably best suited for fairly short cruises, which dominate the Chinese market.

Carnival group has shared platform designs between various brands for almost two decades and the concept appears to have proven quite successful.

New ships to replace old, enhance return profile -- Donald.

The contract Carnival Corporation & plc signed with Meyer Werft in Germany and Meyer Turku in Finland to build a total of four 180,000 gross ton ships is consistent with the company’s measured capacity growth strategy to replace less efficient capacity with newer, larger and more fuel efficient vessels over time, said Carnival Corporation & plc CEO Arnold Donald

"We are looking forward to executing on the next step in our fleet enhancement plan," said Donald. "At a cost per berth in line with our existing order book, these new ships will enhance the return profile of our fleet," he said in a statement.

Two of the ships will be built in Turku and two at Papenburg. They will be delivered in 2019 and 2020 respectively.

The Papenburg ships will be destined to AIDA Cruises, Carnival group's German unit, which has three ships of about 40,000 gross tons in its fleet. These are among the smallest ones operated by any major contemporary market brand.

Carnival orders four 180,000 gross ton LNG powered ships at Meyer

Carnival Corporation & plc, the world's largest cruise shipping group, has placed an order for four 180,000 gross ton LNG powered cruise liners at Meyer shipyards.

Two will be delivered for AIDA Cruises, its German brand, from the Papenburg yard in Germany. The two due from Meyer Turku in Finland wll be allocated to a brand at a later point.

The contracts are worth several billions of euros in all.

The orders are part of a nine ship order programme that the Carnival group unveiled in the spring. Each of the ships will have a maximum capacity of 6,600 passengers, which is the highest number of any existing vessel or any newbuilding on order. Their lower bed capacity will be 5,000.

Arnold Donald. CEO of the Carnival group, said that the ships are part of the group's programme to grow capacity and to replace older vessels with larger and more efficient ones.

The design of the ships has focused on making public areas on board more flexible so that they can be used more efficiently, which again enhances the cruise experience of passengers.

Jan Meyer, Managing Director of Meyer Turku, said that the orders bring stability for the company and its sub contractors. The Meyer family acquired the shipyard in Turku last year from the South Korean STX Offshore & Shipbuilding group.

Carnival Corporation launches new brand

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Cruise vacations have appealed to the masses for decades as an ideal way help you alleviate stress, help you relax and help you learn more about people and places.

Carnival Corp. is betting that many people think a cruise vacation is a fitting way to help others, too. John Roberts reports

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The world's largest cruise company on June 4 announced that it is launching a new brand called "fathom" that will sail seven-day voluntourism voyages from Miami to Carnival's brand-new port Amber Cove, which is set to open in October 2015 in the Dominican Republic. The fathom line is set to launch April 2016 and will use a ship redeployed for the task from one of Carnival's other lines. The 710-passenger P&O Cruises' Adonia will be the first ship in the fathom line when it moves from the British line. The ship remains named Adonia.

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Carnival made the announcement at the United Palace Theatre in Washington Heights, a New York City neighborhood with a large Dominican population.

Carnival Corp. said it aims to set the pace as it sets sail into what it defines as "social impact travel." The cruises to the Dominican Republic will be designed to offer passengers authentic, meaningful travel experiences as they work alongside residents on projects that meet community needs. The fathom line expects to have a long-term, systematic partnership approach with its partner countries "that allows for sustained impact and lasting development."

Carnival named Tara Russell president of the fathom brand, Carnival Corp.'s 10th line, and Global Impact Lead, a newly created role at Carnival Corp. Previously, Russell founded and was CEO of Create Common Good, a nonprofit that provided food-service job training. She also was part of the founding team of Jitasa, a global social venture providing affordable financial services for nonprofits.

Carnival Corp. CEO Arnold Donald said "what most impressed me about Tara is her passion for making a difference."

Russell said there is growing market demand for the type of experiences fathom will offer.

"Meaningful travel, working alongside residents in their communities can be among the most life-affirming experiences," she said.

Cruise passengers on a fathom trip will pay about $1,600 per person for the week and are free to spend their time as they wish, and additional types of excursions are available to purchase aside from the included voluntourism activities. But Donald said he doesn't think this type of trip is likely to attract a passenger who aims to just relax and spend his or her time on the beach. He also said that if the demand exists, Carnival would consider expanding the fathom line.

The cruises by fathom to the Puerto Plata region of the Dominican Republic will aim to assist the communities in three main areas: education, environment and economic development.

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"We work alongside their needs," Russell said. "But we'll also celebrate the fun we have together."

For example, a passenger might do an "eat with …" day, meaning you would wake up and go to the home of a family. You spend the morning teaching English. The family would then teach you how to cook a typical Dominican meal for lunch and walk with you to show you around their town.

Other projects include working to help educate cacao farmers on organic growing practices, for example.

"We won't fabricate impact," Russell said.

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The ship will serve as a hotel, essentially when you are in port for four days and three nights at Amber Cove. Passengers can start booking cruises this month at www.fathom.org or 1-855-9fathom.

Adonia was built in 2001 as part of the defunct Renaissance Cruises. The ship also has sailed as part of Princess Cruises and is the smallest member of the P&O fleet. It was refurbished in 2011 and will enter dry dock in March 2016, directly before it debuts under the fathom brand.