Carnival Cruise Line plans to significantly increase operations out of Norfolk, Virginia by doubling on the number of cruises the line will offer from the homeport in 2023.
The cruise line announced the plan on November 14, 2022, with ambitions to first offer expanded sailings for a 6-month season, followed by a further expansion to year-round cruises from Norfolk in 2025.
Carnival Cruise Line Expansion Out of Norfolk
With more travelers eager for vacation options close to home that won’t necessarily involve airfare and complicated airline arrangements, Carnival Cruise Line’s plan to expand homeport operations at Norfolk will offer amazing choices for prospective guests with no nearby homeport.
Norfolk, the third-largest city in the Commonwealth of Virginia, is 80 miles (129 kilometers) southeast of Richmond, 150 miles (241 km) south-southeast from Washington, D.C., and 150 miles (241 km) northeast of Raleigh, North Carolina.
Ultimately, about 100,000 cruisers will have the chance to sail from Norfolk in 2023 – the highest volume of cruise guests in the history of the city’s Half Moone Cruise Center, located on the Elizabeth River.
“We have been working closely with Norfolk city officials on this expansion since our successful restart earlier this year and it’s great to now share our plans with our guests,” said Christine Duffy, president of Carnival Cruise Line.
The new 2023 Norfolk homeport cruises are now on sail, and consist of 4-10-night voyages aboard the Dream-class Carnival Magic. Depending on the sailing date and cruise length, itineraries include visits to the Eastern Caribbean, The Bahamas, Bermuda, and Canada and New England.
Carnival began sailing from Norfolk in 2002 and Carnival Magic first began sailing seasonally from the port in May 2022 as the cruise line’s largest vessel from the homeport. The 128,000-gross-ton vessel can welcome as many as 3,690 guests at double occupancy, and up to 4,724 guests when fully booked.
Further Expansion to Come
While Carnival Magic is the only ship planned to homeport from Norfolk in 2023, the expanded length of her deployment from Virginia comes as the soon-to-be Carnival Venezia will homeport in New York from June 2023.
Previously, Carnival Magic split her time between Norfolk and New York, but will now remain in Virginia for longer stays. While additional ships to homeport from Norfolk have not yet been announced, Carnival’s commitment to the city is clear.
“We look forward to building on our 20-year commitment to this community and continuing the momentum toward further expansion in the future, while increasing our positive economic impact in Norfolk,” said Duffy.
Furthermore, the city supports the presence of Carnival Cruise Line and is happy to grow its homeport program.
“For twenty years, Norfolk has valued its partnership with Carnival Cruise Line. Today’s announcement is a significant milestone for our cruise program and our community,” said Norfolk Mayor Kenneth Alexander.
“For a full six months next year, guests from across the Mid-Atlantic will have the chance to board a Carnival ship from Norfolk and beginning in 2025, our collective goal is for Carnival to set sail from Nauticus year-round.”
Nauticus is the maritime discovery center along the waterfront in downtown Norfolk, housing not only the cruise terminal, but also a museum, the battleship Wisconsin, Schooner Virginia, and more – ideal for visitors to dive into the maritime history of the region.
Undoubtedly, as cruises from Norfolk become more popular, the cruise line will likely consider additional ships homeported from Virginia.
While Carnival Cruise Line is the only line to currently homeport from Norfolk, the port is also visited by Norwegian Cruise Line, Princess Cruises, TUI Cruises, and smaller lines, particularly those offering regional river sailings.