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To say Carnival Cruise Line has a few developments in the works would be an understatement. In fact, many are related specifically to the West, so we chatted with the brand’s president, Christine Duffy, to help put it all in perspective.
Besides new deployments coming to California and Texas, Mexico is preparing for new arrivals. Additionally, a major ship redesign is in the works. It all means more opportunities for travel professionals to sell the line locally and beyond.
What prompted Carnival to return to sailings from San Diego?We enjoy good demand out on the West Coast with the three ships we’ve had there. We upsized in Long Beach, Calif., with Carnival Splendor, and we hadn’t been in San Diego for some time, given some of the other moves. But with the new capacity we’ve brought in, we were able to make it work to bring Carnival Miracle to San Diego next year.
Do these voyages potentially open the door for even more sailings from San Diego in the future?Well, you know us. We’re all about putting ships where we have demand, and I’m hopeful and anticipating that San Diego is going to be a good market for us. Miracle is one of our Spirit-class ships, and with people who have cruised with us before, or people who cruise out of Long Beach, and with the military members we have in San Diego, I’m optimistic that we’ll have strong demand. And that’s really what drives our deployment decisions in the future.
How are Carnival’s Ensenada developments in Mexico coming along?Like any of these development projects, it always takes a little longer than we’d like, but we’re optimistic that we’ll have something ready for Carnival Panorama. And if not, it will be shortly after that, but we’re very excited about what this will do for the guest experience in Ensenada, because it is an important port of call for us with our short cruises out of Long Beach.
Tell us about some of the ship moves and the new promotion.Galveston, Texas, is going to get Carnival Vista because we’re making room for the newest Vista sister: Carnival Horizon, which has been sailing out of New York all summer. Horizon will be making its way to Miami. We have a lot of other ship moves that we’re making, and we wanted to highlight everything in the markets that are getting new ships.
For this, we have our Carnival AirShip, a blimp that reflects the Carnival “Choose Fun” message. We launched its 30-day journey from St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, Tenn. From there, it travels to cities such as Dallas, San Antonio, Houston, New Orleans and Tampa, Fla., then it will arrive in Miami on Sept. 16 to meet up with Horizon.
We have a big event planned in Miami with our Chief Fun Officer, Shaquille O'Neal, along with the Miami Heat NBA players. After Miami, the AirShip will ultimately land in Atlanta, where it will conclude the journey.
What can you tell us about how Carnival Sunrise will differ from Carnival Sunshine?With the opportunity to put the ship in dry-dock several years after Sunshine, there are things we have learned over time as we bring ships in and make modifications. There will be some new features on Sunrise that we don’t have on Sunshine. It will be a ship with lots of great guest experiences. All the cabins and corridors will be redone, and we think it will be a great new ship, which is why we’re giving it a new name.
Are any further enhancements earmarked for Sunshine to match Sunrise?Not at this time. I think we’re focused on Sunrise as the next generation of ships on which we’re putting Fun Ship 2.0 features — to really make sure that we have consistency across our fleet with favorites that our guests look for. Things like Guy Fieri’s Guy’s Burger Joint, Alchemy Bar and Bonsai Sushi.The DetailsCarnival Cruise Linewww.carnival.com