Cruise News – Feb. 12, 2018
Carnival Cruise Line has announced several significant initiatives designed to further bolster its West Coast presence: the deployment of Carnival Panorama to Long Beach in 2019 — the first new Carnival ship based in Southern California in 20 years; the grand re-opening of its 146,000-square-foot state-of-the-art Long Beach Cruise Terminal; and a multimillion-dollar port development project in Ensenada, Mexico, that promises one-of-a-kind experiences.
“The West Coast is an important market with vast growth potential and these initiatives further demonstrate the confidence in our future success in Long Beach,” said Carnival president, Christine Duffy at a ceremony unveiling the enhancements to the newly upgraded cruise terminal. “We are very much looking forward to having Carnival Panorama homeported here beginning next year.”
In 2019, Carnival will make history when it deploys its third Vista-class ship, the 3,960-passenger Carnival Panorama, on 7-day Mexican Riviera cruises from Long Beach. The newest Vista-class ship will be joining Carnival Vista and Carnival Horizon as the largest ships ever built for the line and feature attractions like the SkyRide, WaterWorks aqua park; and a Havana section with tropical staterooms and a Cuban-themed bar and pool.
Carnival’s Long Beach Cruise Terminal has been operated by Carnival since 2003 and encompasses the world’s largest, free-span geodesic dome, which was originally built to house Howard Hughes’ Spruce Goose plane and served as the location for many famous Hollywood movies. With the expansion, Carnival is now utilizing 100 percent of the dome, up from a portion, for its operations. The renovation of the Long Beach Cruise Terminal more than doubles the size of the facility’s space while dramatically enhancing the passenger experience and operational flow. It also includes the expansion of portside shore power to enable larger ships to plug into the local electric grid, reducing exhaust emissions while docked.
The terminal’s striking design features California’s recognizable landmarks, bringing indoors the state’s iconic natural elements, including a backdrop of the majestic Sierra Nevada mountain range. In a nod to the dome’s former tenant, a replica of the Spruce Goose hangs from above, as well as the original model of the plane used in the 2004 movie, The Aviator. The dome also includes the cruise industry’s first 1980s-style arcade, which is available for families to enjoy. Long Beach is also home to the nostalgic Queen Mary, currently docked as an attraction, hotel, and event venue.
“This project is many years in the making and Carnival’s Long Beach Cruise Terminal is one of the most visually striking and efficient facilities of its kind, providing a seamless embarkation for our guests while making a tremendous economic impact on the Southern California region,” said Carlos Torres de Navarra, Carnival’s vice president, strategic and commercial port development.
The grand re-opening of the terminal coincides with the arrival of Carnival Splendor to Long Beach, which operates 7-day cruises to Mexico and longer-length voyages to Alaska and Hawaii, representing a 40 percent capacity increase on this route.
Carnival Splendor joins Carnival Imagination and Carnival Inspiration, which sail 3- and 4-day cruises to Ensenada and Catalina Island. Together, these three ships carry approximately 600,000 guests annually from Southern California on more than 250 three- to 14-day cruises, offering a mix of destinations.
Carnival officials also announced a major port development project in Ensenada, Mexico, currently featured on the line’s 3- and 4-day cruises from Long Beach. The project promises visitors one-of-a-kind dining and retail experiences, along with unique attractions. Details about the development will be announced at a later date.
Photos: Carnival Cruise Line