Carnival Cruise Lines has announced that its Miami-based Carnival Liberty, which was originally scheduled to reposition to Europe in May 2009, will instead remain in Miami to operate year-round Caribbean cruises.

The Carnival Liberty will continue to offer its existing schedule of seven-day Caribbean cruises through next spring and then introduce a new seven-day program from Miami beginning in April 2009.

In turn, the Carnival Pride, currently based in Long Beach, Calif., and originally scheduled to shift to Miami for a five-month Caribbean deployment from April through August, will instead launch its Baltimore-based program on April 27, 2009.

Prior to its Baltimore deployment, Carnival Pride will operate its previously scheduled Panama Canal cruise from Long Beach, Calif., to Miami March 22–April 5, 2009, as well as a six-day cruise departing April 5 and two seven-day Caribbean cruises departing April 11 and 18, 2009, all operating from Miami.

“Based on current market conditions, continued economic uncertainty and high air costs to Europe, we are shifting our focus to an even greater extent toward our core, close-to-home cruise options which are clearly the preference of the vast majority of the mainstream vacation market right now,” said Gerry Cahill, Carnival president and CEO.  “We are excited that this change in deployment will also enable us to bring the Carnival Pride to Baltimore four months earlier than originally planned to start up that city’s first year-round cruise program, which is proving to be extremely popular based on advanced bookings so far,” he added.

Cahill noted that Carnival will still offer several European cruises next year when the 3,646-passenger Carnival Dream – the line’s newest and largest ship – debuts with a series of three 12-day Grand Mediterranean cruises from Rome (Civitavecchia) in September and October 2009. Carnival Dream will also operate a 16-day trans-Atlantic crossing from Rome (Civitavecchia) to New York in late October 2009.

Cahill said that the company will be offering assistance in finding vacation alternatives to Carnival Liberty guests who were scheduled to sail in Europe, including European cruises on Carnival’s sister companies that have a strong presence in the region such as Holland America and Princess. “We understand that our guests who were scheduled to sail in Europe are going to be disappointed by this development and we sincerely apologize to them for this disruption to their vacation plans. Europe remains a desirable vacation choice for many and we will endeavor to help our guests find alternative plans to sail within the region,” he said.

Existing Bookings - Carnival Liberty and Carnival Pride

Guests booked on the Carnival Liberty Europe cruises will be provided special onboard credit offers toward other 2009 Carnival cruises, including the Carnival Dream European departures. In addition, Carnival will assist guests with the cost of changes/cancellations for non-refundable air transportation.

Guests who were booked on the Carnival Pride’s Caribbean cruises from April 25, 2009 to August 29, 2009 from Miami will be automatically shifted to the same accommodations on the Carnival Liberty.  The Carnival Liberty will also operate the same itineraries as previously scheduled on the Carnival Pride.

Carnival Liberty’s New Seven-Day Caribbean Cruises From Miami

Carnival Liberty will continue its current program of seven-day Caribbean cruises from Miami through April 18, 2009 then assume a new schedule of weeklong cruises to the Western and Exotic Eastern Caribbean beginning Saturday, April 25, 2009, through November 28, 2009.  The new Exotic Eastern Caribbean cruise route will feature Half Moon Cay, a private Bahamian island; St. Thomas, U.S.V.I.; San Juan, Puerto Rico; and Grand Turk, Turks & Caicos Islands.  The western route will visit Ocho Rios, Jamaica; George Town, Grand Cayman; and Cozumel, Mexico

Carnival Pride’s New Spring/Summer Departures From Baltimore

Carnival Pride will launch Baltimore’s first year-round cruise program beginning on April 27, 2009, four months ahead of the original schedule.  From April 27, 2009 to September 6, 2009, the ship will operate a series of six-, seven- and eight-day cruises.  These cruises will visit a wide variety of ports including Nassau, Freeport, Half Moon Cay (a private Bahamian island), Port Canaveral (Orlando) and Grand Turk in the Turks & Caicos.

Reservations

Carnival will begin accepting reservations for the new Carnival Liberty and Carnival Pride programs from Miami and Baltimore beginning October 30, 2008.   For additional information and reservations, call 1-800-327-9501 (individual) or 1-800-327-5782 (groups) or visit the line’s travel agent Internet portal, BookCCL.com.