Since Carnival Cruise Lines announced the move of the Carnival Spirit to Australia, the story has been painted that the line is abandoning the West Coast, but that is not the reality, according to Terry Thornton, senior vice president of marketing planning. “We have right-sized our capacity on the West Coast due to less than the best economic results,” he explained. However, Carnival will continue to have three ships on Mexican Riviera cruises – two year-round and one seasonally – until fall 2012, so the brand remains the largest single cruise line in the market, and will continue to have two ships after that.

“We are the largest operator on the West Coast,” Thornton said. “We will carry about 450,000 guests on the West Coast in 2011 and more than 400,000 on an ongoing basis.

“Carnival is the only cruise line to have year-round service on the West Coast since 1982,” he added.

Meanwhile, Carnival is also offering variety in its Riviera sailings. The Splendor sails seven-day cruises year-round from Long Beach and the Paradise three-and four-day cruises. The Spirit is sailing five- and nine-day cruises from San Diego through April and resumes a five- and nine-day rotation from Los Angeles (San Pedro) after the Alaska season. From January through April 2012, the Spirit goes back to San Diego.