Carnival Itinerary Planning: Focus on the Caribbean

The Carnival Mardi Gras

With 25 ships in the market in 2022, Carnival Cruise Line will sail 18 ships year-round in the Caribbean and three ships year-round on the West Coast, one ship will be alternating between the Caribbean and Alaska and one between the Caribbean and Europe, while two are year-round in Australia, Fred Stein, vice president of ship deployment and revenue planning, told Cruise Industry News.

“We have 10 year-round homeports and four seasonal homeports in North America,” he said, “and our two ships in Australia. That is our footprint.”

After the new Mardi Gras launches service from Port Canaveral, the standout event for Carnival in 2022 will be the arrival of the Carnival Celebration.

Another highlight for 2022 is Carnival’s 50th anniversary in March. Plans call for a Sailabration event. Explained Stein: “The Fun Ships will meet up at sea. These meets are scheduled for evenings from all the homeports we sail from during the month of March – in the Bahamas/Eastern Caribbean, Western Caribbean, off the California/Mexico coastline and in Australia. We will have as many as seven ships gathering together.”

(In terms of deployment) “We are continuing the strategy we have employed for the past few years,” Stein said. “We are deploying our ships in a number of homeports that our customers can drive to.

“Our new, large ships obviously require larger terminals and other port infrastructure investments, so they are going to Port Canaveral and Miami. Hence, both of those ports will see an increase in our guest capacity.

“When we plan, we look at what we think is going to generate the best guest satisfaction, which also leads to increased guest demand. And ultimately, we have to balance the cost of fuel, the cost of the ports, and so on. Also, we are not concentrating our capacity in just one place.

“Overall, I do not see our basic planning criteria changing. But what I think is happening is that there is more consciousness of environmental impact and environmental compliance.

“You saw the recent news about the Port of Miami planning to bring in shorepower, and we are very supportive of that. The environment has become a new planning element.

“Obviously, one of our highest objectives is to operate safely and in compliance everywhere we go. So, we have to factor that into our planning.”

Ultimately, however, it boils down to is that itineraries must resonate well with Carnival’s target customers, Stein said.

“An itinerary has to be interesting enough to drive demand so the guests will want to buy the cruise. And once they are there, the destinations have to deliver a great experience so that the guests want to come back and tell their friends; it keeps the demand machine going.

“And for the destinations it is not only about our guests but also our crew. They are ambassadors and if they are treated well, they will talk up a destination to the guests onboard,” he added.

Excerpt from Cruise Industry News Quarterly Magazine: Spring 2021

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