Carnival Cruise Line has been steadily putting more ships to sea, adding more and more ports to its itineraries. Mardi Gras will finally be named this week during a short ceremony in Port Canaveral, while the health and safety protocols keep people talking as Carnival suspended vaccine exemptions from 2022.
So let’s take a look at what’s been happening recently with the cruise line with all the latest Carnival updates.
Three More Carnival Ships Prepare for Restart in November
Carnival’s pathway to have all of its ships operational is progressing nicely; this month, we’ve seen Carnival Freedom resuming operations from PortMiami in Florida on October 9, and Carnival Elation became the first Fantasy-class ship to resume operations on October 11.
For November, the plans involve three ships to start operations from three different homeports. However, one of those has already been sailing.
First of all, Carnival Valor will be sailing from New Orleans on November 1, 2021. Valor will be visiting Cozumel and Progreso in the Mexican state of Yucatán on a 5-day Western Caribbean cruise. The ship will be sailing the Western Caribbean for the rest of the year on varying 4-5- and 6-day cruises.
Carnival Legend is all set to make her legendary return on November 14 from Baltimore, the same day as Carnival Pride which will sail from Tampa Bay. Carnival Legend will take over the Baltimore itinerary from Carnival Pride. Pride will be sailing the Panama Canal and the Western Caribbean once she completes her repositioning from Baltimore to Tampa.
It could be somewhat surprising to hear that the naming ceremony for Mardi Gras is on Saturday, October 23. Not only has Mardi Gras been sailing since July 31, but Carnival has also kept the naming ceremony very much on the down-low. The ceremony is to take place in Port Canaveral and is for invited guests only.
The ship’s godmother will be Miss Dominican Republic, Kimberly Jiménez. Earlier this year, Christine Duffy, the Carnival President, said this: “Kimberly is a role model for female empowerment and has a passion for so many worthwhile causes, particularly those that assist women, children and families. It is such an honor to present Kimberly with the ‘Spirit of Carnival’ award and an even bigger thrill to announce that she’s going to be the godmother of our newest ship, Mardi Gras.”
Guests will be welcome in the terminal from 09:30 AM onwards. At 10:00 AM, there will be a welcome ceremony, followed by the inaugural ceremony at noon.
It’s been a long 19 months for St. Thomas, but the USVI finally welcomed its first Carnival Cruise ship back to its shores this week. Carnival Freedom arrived in St. Thomas on October 13. Freedom is sailing an eight-day itinerary from Miami, from where she departed on her first cruise on October 9. St. Thomas was the ship’s second port of call; other stops include San Juan and Amber Cove.
“We are delighted to return to St. Thomas and offer guests an opportunity to experience all of the beauty and charm of the island while providing a much-needed boost to the local economy,” said Christine Duffy, president of Carnival Cruise Line. “On behalf of Carnival, I would like to thank our partners in St. Thomas for working with us to bring safe cruising and our guests back to the port.”
It wasn’t just St. Thomas which Carnival Freedom visited for the first time; the ship was the first Carnival ship to visit St. Maarten as well, on the same voyage. “We are delighted to return to St. Maarten and offer guests an opportunity to experience all of the beauty and charm of the island while providing a much-needed boost to the local economy,” said Christine Duffy.
The next Carnival Cruise ship to visit the US Virgin Islands will be Carnival Magic on October 27. Magic will also visit St. Maarten on October 26.
Carnival announced controversial news during the first week of this month when it said it would no longer entertain exemption requests for 2022. The reason is the lowering of the vaccine age to 5-years-old and up.
The US Food and Drug Administration has scheduled an October 26 meeting to review the data before giving its opinion on whether authorization should be granted. But, Carnival is confident the vaccine will be approved for these ages. Therefore seeing no reason for exemptions to take place:
“The vaccine exemption process for sailings in 2022 is currently not open. We are optimistic that vaccines will be approved and available for children between 5 and 11 years before the end of the year, enabling us to welcome more of our families with young children back on board! We will provide guests with an update as the situation evolves.”
The only exemptions that will likely still be accepted onboard are those required by law, such as medical or religious reasons.