Carnival Cruise Line has announced a series of changes that will move its San Juan, Puerto Rico-based ship to Mobile, AL, while expanding its capacity in Norfolk, VA.
Starting next year, the cruise line will send the Carnival Magic to Norfolk, where it will operate a series of 12 cruises carrying a total of 50,000 guests. The move is part of a new five-year agreement with the cruise line and the city to operate seasonal cruises from the Half Moone Cruise Center through 2025. As part of the agreement, the City of Norfolk will also expand the Half Moone Cruise Center to accommodate larger vessels and enhance the port experience, particularly with a new boarding bridge that will aim to streamline the embarkation and disembarkation process.
The Carnival Magic introduced many of the brand’s signature elements, including the Caribbean-themed RedFrog Pub, the family-style Italian restaurant Cucina del Capitano and the suspended SkyCourse ropes course. From Norfolk the ship will operate cruises ranging from four to eight days with calls including the Bahamas and Bermuda for the shorter cruises and stops at Grand Turk, San Juan and St. Thomas on longer ones. Prior to repositioning to Norfolk, the ship will offer a series of Mediterranean sailings before undergoing a two-week dry dock in Cadiz, Spain.
Effective January 16, 2022, the Carnival Fascination will move from its current homeport of San Juan to Mobile, AL. The Carnival Fantasy will continue its schedule of four- and five-day cruises out of Mobile through that time, after which the Carnival Fascination will pick up the itineraries. Guests currently booked on Carnival Fantasy and Carnival Fascination through January 2022 will not be affected and voyages will operate as planned.
In a written statement Fred Stein, Carnival’s vice president of revenue planning and deployment, said that repositioning the Carnival Fascination to Mobile would bring a variety of new features to the market, such as more balcony accommodations, the Bonsai Sushi Express venue, the Alchemy Bar and the Cherry On Top sweets shop.
Carnival said that it expects to announce plans for the Carnival Fantasy in the coming months, and that its deployment team will continue to evaluate options for a return to San Juan after 2022.
Carnival Magic’s 2021 cruises from Norfolk and Carnival Fascination’s itineraries from Mobile are now open for booking.