In 2013, Carnival Cruise Lines (www.goccl.com) will increase capacity on its seven-day southern Caribbean itineraries from San Juan as well as on four- and five-day cruises from Miami. The cruise line will deploy newer, larger ships in both markets.
The 2,974-passenger Carnival Valor will launch a five-port, seven-day schedule from San Juan beginning Feb. 10, 2013, becoming the newest and largest ship to operate year-round from that port.
The itinerary will feature extended calls at St. Thomas, U.S.V.I.; Bridgetown, Barbados; St. Lucia, West Indies; St. Kitts, West Indies; and St. Maarten, Netherlands Antilles.
Carnival Valor will replace the 2,758-passenger Carnival Victory in San Juan, which, in turn, will reposition from San Juan to Miami to assume the Carnival Destiny’s four- and five-day cruises beginning Feb. 4, 2013.
Carnival Victory will be the newest and largest ship to operate year-round four- and five-day voyages from South Florida. The schedule for 2013 includes three different itineraries.
Four-day “long weekend” cruises departing Thursdays call at Key West, FL, and Cozumel, Mexico; five-day cruises departing Mondays include stops at Grand Turk, Turks & Caicos Islands; the private Bahamian island of Half Moon Cay; and Nassau, The Bahamas. Five-day voyages departing Saturdays feature George Town, Grand Cayman; and Ocho Rios, Jamaica.
When the two ships reposition, they also will each offer one special voyage. Carnival Victory will sail an eight-day cruise from San Juan to Miami departing Jan. 27, 2013, with stops at St. Thomas, Aruba, Curacao and Nassau.
Carnival Valor will feature a one-time seven-day cruise from Miami to San Juan departing on Feb. 3, 2013, and calling at Grand Turk, Antigua, St. Kitts and St. Thomas.
Where is Destiny Going?
The big question is what's happening with Carnival Destiny, which the Carnival Victory replaces in Miami. The 101,000-ton ship was launched back in 1996, so it's now 16 years old.
Carnival said that ship will offer a 16-day transatlantic crossing departing Miami on Feb. 4 and arriving Civitavecchia (Rome) on Feb. 20, 2013. Featured ports on the crossing include Ponta Delgada (Azores), Portugal; Malaga, Spain; Monte Carlo, Monaco; and Genoa and Livorno, Italy.
Carnival said details on the Carnival Destiny’s deployment following the trans-Atlantic crossing will be announced at a later date. John Heald, the line's popular cruise director, told readers of his Facebook page that he couldn't reveal the plans.
Trade speculation focuses on several possible options, based on other lines' actions in the past. Possibilities? The ship could offer additional Mediterranean cruises beyond what Carnival has already announced in Europe. It could possibly leave the Carnival fleet and sail for another Carnival Corp. brand that caters to the European market. Or, it could find a new home with a non-Carnival brand.
But, for now, Carnival hasn't announced its plans. Stay tuned.