Carnival Cruise Lines, the world's largest cruise operator, will introduce the first year-round cruise schedule from Charleston, S.C., with the deployment of the 2,056-passenger Carnival Fantasy in May 2010.
Carnival Fantasy will operate five-, six- and seven-day voyages to The Bahamas and Key West, Fla., from the Passenger Terminal in historic downtown Charleston beginning May 18, 2010.
On Carnival Fantasy's new Charleston-based cruises, Carnival is expected to carry more than 140,000 passengers annually from the port. Including Charleston, Carnival Cruise Lines will operate from 20 North American homeports in 2010, with 12 year-round departure points "“ the most in cruising.
The new year-round departures from Charleston dramatically expand upon Carnival's decade-long relationship with the port. Previously, Carnival has operated seasonal voyages from Charleston, including two five-day departures on the Carnival Triumph this year and two on the Carnival Glory next year.
Charleston's centralized location within the southeastern U.S., as well as the city's strong appeal as a tourist destination, were key factors in the decision to launch year-round service aboard the Carnival Fantasy.
"Charleston is an extraordinary city within easy reach of millions of U.S. residents who will now have convenient access to Carnival's fantastic and affordable cruise vacation options year-round," said Gerry Cahill, Carnival's president and CEO. "Our past experience with the Port of Charleston, which has a very efficient and conveniently located cruise terminal, has been outstanding."
"Carnival and this vessel fit perfectly with the internationally acclaimed Charleston tourism market, which draws cruise passengers from across the Southeast and beyond," said Jim Newsome, president and CEO of the South Carolina State Ports Authority. "We have enjoyed a successful, long-standing relationship with Carnival, and we are very pleased to significantly expand that relationship with a year-round calendar. This commitment by Carnival underscores Charleston's cruise development potential."
New Year-Round Departures from Charleston On its new Charleston-based program, Carnival Fantasy will operate five-, six- and seven-day voyages on a variety of departure days beginning May 18, 2010.
Five-day voyages departing Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays will call at Nassau and Freeport, The Bahamas. Six-day voyages departing Saturdays will visit Freeport, Nassau and Key West, Fla. Seven-day voyages depart Saturdays and will feature Grand Turk, the private Bahamian island of Half Moon Cay, and Nassau.
Each of these tropical destinations has a character all its own and offers a wide range of snorkeling, fishing and water sports opportunities, as well as beautiful beaches and a distinctive island ambiance.
Carnival Elation to Mobile
Carnival Fantasy is currently based in New Orleans and is scheduled to transfer to Mobile for a program of four- and five-day cruises that will operate from that port from Nov. 10, 2009 through May 10, 2010.
Replacing the Carnival Fantasy in Mobile will be its sister ship, the 2,052-passenger Carnival Elation, which will reposition from San Diego to launch year-round service from that port May 15, 2010. In addition to four- and five-day cruises from Mobile, Carnival Elation will operate a series of seven-day Western Caribbean voyages in spring, summer and fall 2010.
Prior to the start-up of its new Mobile-based program, Carnival Elation will sail on a 15-day Panama Canal cruise departing from San Diego April 30. Guests will have the option of debarking the vessel in Tampa on May 14 or in Mobile on May 15. Featured ports will include Cabo San Lucas and Acapulco, Mexico; and Puntarenas, Costa Rica; followed by a Panama Canal transit; and visits to Cartagena, Colombia; and George Town, Grand Cayman.
Truly a "˜Fun Ship'
The namesake vessel in Carnival's 70,000-ton Fantasy-class, the Carnival Fantasy offers a host of on-board amenities and facilities: a 12,000-square-foot health spa, extensive children's facilities for kids in three age groups "“ Camp Carnival (2-11), Circle "C€ (12-14) and Club O2 (15-17), a variety of formal and casual dining options and 12 lounges and bars.
Also featured is Carnival WaterWorks, an expansive, all-ages aqua park featuring a 300-foot-long water slide, 82-foot-long dual racing slides and a splash zone. Carnival Fantasy also offers Serenity, an exclusive adults-only retreat, and a resort-style main pool area.
An Internet cafÃ© with ship-wide Wi-Fi access and cell phone service are also available.
The ship also offers a variety of spacious accommodations, all of which feature the Carnival Comfort Bed sleep system with plush mattresses, luxurious duvets and high quality linens and pillows.