BREAKING: Carnival to Add Two Ships to Galveston & NOLA

Carnival just announced that the Carnival Magic (sister to the Carnival Dream) will home port in my former hometown of Galveston in November 2011. She will be joined by the slightly smaller Carnival Triumph. The Magic will operate the 7-night routes and the Triumph will do the 4&5-Night routes.

The current Galveston based ships, Conquest and Ecstasy, will then reposition over to New Orleans, Louisiana, and resume their routes from there. NOLA is familiar waters for the Conquest, as this is where she was based out of prior to Katrina. Carnival moved the ship to Galveston when NOLA was out of commission following the storm. TX proved lucrative enough that she remained there ever since. The addition of these two ships, matches CCL’s pre-Katrina levels.

This comes hot on the heels of RCI bringing the Mariner of the Seas over from the west coast to replace the older Voyager of the Seas. Mariner will only be there seasonally (i.e. December-April) as opposed to CCL which will sail both of theirs yearround.

Carnival’s press release after the break.

Carnival Cruise Lines’ newest ship, the 3,690-passenger Carnival Magic, will operate seven-day Caribbean cruises from Galveston beginning Nov. 14, 2011, becoming the largest cruise ship based at the port year-round.  Additionally, the 2,758-passenger Carnival Triumph will reposition from New Orleans to Galveston to operate year-round four- and five-day Caribbean cruises from that port beginning Oct. 6, 2011.

Homeporting the Carnival Magic and Carnival Triumph in Galveston represents the largest-ever capacity commitment by a cruise line to Texas.  With these deployments, Carnival expects to carry more than 450,000 guests annually from Galveston – a 28 percent increase over the current year.

In turn, the 2,974-passenger Carnival Conquest and 2,052-passenger Carnival Ecstasy, both of which are currently based in Galveston, will reposition to New Orleans to operate year-round departures from that port, returning the line to pre-Katrina capacity levels there.  With Carnival Conquest and Carnival Ecstasy, the line is expected to carry nearly 340,000 passengers annually from New Orleans – the most of any cruise operator.

“Deploying the new Carnival Magic to Galveston and increasing capacity on our popular short cruise program with the Carnival Triumph is a clear indication of the tremendous appeal and growth of this key homeport, which consistently earns high marks from our guests,” said Gerry Cahill, Carnival president and CEO. “At the same time, we are very pleased to return to pre-Katrina capacity levels in New Orleans with the Carnival Conquest and Carnival Ecstasy – a wonderfully positive indicator of the city’s continued growth and recovery,” he added.

Carnival Magic, Carnival Triumph from Galveston

Carnival Magic, which is slated to debut in Europe in May 2011 with a host of innovative facilities and features, will offer two different week-long itineraries from Galveston, including seven-day western Caribbean voyages to Montego Bay, Grand Cayman and Cozumel, and week-long eastern Caribbean cruises to Nassau, Freeport, and Key West.

Carnival Magic will offer many exciting amenities including a spectacular water park, an exclusive adults-only retreat, a wrap-around promenade with whirlpools that extend out over the ship’s sides, and expansive spa and children’s facilities.  Also featured will be a variety of stateroom choices, including deluxe ocean view  accommodations with two bathrooms, some of which feature five berths and hold particular appeal for families; cove balcony cabins located closer to the water line; and spa staterooms that provide special access and benefits.  A number of new innovations are scheduled to be announced in the near future.

Prior to launching year-round Caribbean service from Galveston, Carnival Magic will operate a series of seven-, nine- and 12-day Mediterranean voyages from Barcelona May 1 to Oct. 16, 2011; followed by a 16-day trans-Atlantic crossing from Barcelona to Galveston departing Oct. 28, 2011.

Also being deployed to Galveston is the Carnival Triumph which will operate year-round four- and five-day western Caribbean cruises beginning Oct. 6, 2011, becoming the newest and largest ship to operate a year-round short cruise program from that port.  Four-day cruises depart Thursdays to Cozumel, while five-day voyages depart Mondays and Saturdays and visit Cozumel and Progreso, Mexico.  Carnival Triumph offers many guest-pleasing features and amenities, including nearly 500 balcony staterooms which are very popular among consumers and typically not available on short cruises. 

Expanded Capacity from New Orleans

Carnival Conquest will reposition to New Orleans for year-round seven-day Caribbean cruises beginning Nov. 13, 2011.  The ship will offer three different week-long Caribbean options from New Orleans: a new western Caribbean program featuring Montego Bay, Grand Cayman and Cozumel, an eastern Caribbean itinerary to Key West, Freeport and Nassau, and exotic western Caribbean cruises to Belize, Roatan and Cozumel.

Carnival Ecstasy will operate year-round four- and five-day western Caribbean voyages from New Orleans beginning Sept. 22, 2011. The ship underwent a multi-million-dollar renovation last year that added an expansive water park, tropical-style main pool area, adults-only retreat and 98 balconies to existing staterooms.  On the Carnival Ecstasy’s new itinerary, four-day cruises departing Thursdays visit Cozumel, while five-day cruises departing Mondays and Saturdays call at Cozumel and Progreso, Mexico.