PHOTO: The Carnival Dream moves from Port Canaveral to begin year-round service from New Orleans. (Courtesy of Carnival Cruise Lines)
As cruise ships reposition to their new summer sailing regions, two homeports — New Orleans and Port Canaveral — are welcoming new Carnival Cruise Lines vessels as they begin year-round operations.
Carnival’s 3,646-passenger Carnival Dream today begins year-round Caribbean cruises from the Port of New Orleans. And Port Canaveral was preparing to officially welcome the Carnival Sunshine, which is scheduled to begin year-round service from there on Thursday.
The 130,000-ton Carnival Dream will operate out of New Orleans’ Erato Street Cruise Terminal, which just completed a $2.3 million upgrade so it could accommodate a ship as large as that. Along with the Carnival Elation, which also operates year-round out of New Orleans, the line will carry more than 400,000 passengers daily from the Crescent City. The Carnival Elation offers year-round four- and five-day cruises to Mexico.
The Carnival Dream departs today on a six-day inaugural voyage, visiting Costa Maya, Cozumel and Mahogany Bay on Honduras’ Roatan Island.
Beginning April 20, Carnival Dream will begin operating three different seven-day itineraries. Two Western Caribbean itineraries visit Montego Bay, Cozumel and Grand Cayman or Mahogany Bay, Belize and Cozumel. And, a Bahamas/Florida route calls at Key West, Freeport and Nassau.
“The arrival of the Carnival Dream is the culmination of a lot of hard work and a strong commitment by Port of New Orleans officials, tourism leaders and Carnival Cruise Lines to build strong cruising demand from the Crescent City,” said Gary LaGrange, president and CEO of the Port of New Orleans. “The ship’s amenities and features are second to none. We’re thrilled to welcome the Carnival Dream as a year-round resident of the Port and City of New Orleans.”
The Carnival Dream moves to New Orleans from Port Canaveral, where it is being replaced by the Carnival Sunshine, the totally rebuilt ship formerly known as Carnival Destiny. The ship’s $155 million makeover added such features as a suspended ropes course, a revamped Cloud 9 Spa, the largest RedFrog Pub in the fleet, a three-level Serenity adults-only retreat and Guy’s Burger Joint developed in partnership with Food Network star Guy Fieri.
The Carnival Sunshine joins Carnival Sensation and the Carnival Liberty, which is set to launch service next month. The three ships will carry about 600,000 passengers annually from Port Canaveral. The three ships will operate 250 three- to eight-day voyages a year visiting 14 destinations throughout the Caribbean, Bahamas and Florida.