One year ago, who would have thought that America’s favorite cruise line would be operational from seven different US homeports. A lot has happened in the last 12 months, a lot has changed, but cruising is most certainly back again.
We’re also not done yet. Carnival has always said it would take a slow and careful approach to startup ships and bring them back into full service. In December, it will be the turn of Carnival Conquest and the long-awaited first cruise of Carnival Radiance. Both ships will start operations on December 13.
Carnival Conquest from Florida
The 110,000 gross ton, 2,980 guest Carnival Conquest will make its return to cruising on December 13 when she sails on her first cruise in twenty months from PortMiami. The Conquest-class cruise ship’s first cruise will be a four-day sailing from the largest cruise port in the world to Princess Cays and Bimini, both in the Bahamas.
The ship will combine cruises to the Bahamas, which also include cruises to Nassau and Half Moon Cay. Guests will also be able to sail on a 4-day cruise sailing to Cozumel, Mexico.
In January of next year, Carnival Conquest is scheduled to sail to the hotly contested Florida Keys with a call to Key West. Whether or not that will happen is still up in the air. The cruise ship ban had earlier been thrown out by the Florida government.
Still, a new bill proposed by locals could endanger cruise ship calls again, with mediation now ongoing between Safer Cleaner Ships, Pier B, and Caribe Nautical ships’ agents.
Carnival Radiance from California
Carnival Victory departed on a sailing to Cadiz, Spain, in March of 2020, for a 38-day dry dock that would transform her into a new cruise ship. Now, 20 months later, the day is nearly here that guests will be able to set foot on board the fully transformed, renewed, revamped, and renamed cruise ship.
On December 13, Carnival Radiance will set sail on a series of 3- and 4-day cruises that will see her sail from Long Beach, California, year-round. Her maiden voyage will be a 4-day cruise setting sail from Long Beach and heading over to Isla Catalina, and Ensenada, Mexico, with a day at sea before arriving back at the Long Beach Cruise Terminal in California. The 3-day cruises will have a stop in Ensenada only and a day at sea.
Carnival Radiance is a change out of the ordinary for Carnival Cruise Line; while the line has been chiefly focussed on new-builds, the transformation that Radiance has undergone has certainly added a ship to the fleet that adds value for guests. The vessel features all the new features the cruise line has added to its ships in recent years.
The 101,509 gross ton cruise ship, which has a capacity for 2,984 guests now includes Big Chicken, the restaurant of Carnival’s Chief Fun Officer Shaquille O’Neal, but also the Serenity Adults only area, SportSquare, the Alchemy Bar, Seuss at Sea kids club, and many more.
With Shaq already featuring onboard, the cruise line chose the former Basketball star’s mom, Author, and Philanthropist Dr. Lucille O’Neal as the godmother of the ship:
“When Shaquille was named Chief Fun Officer a couple of years ago, never in my wildest dreams did I think I would be named godmother of a cruise ship!” said Lucille. “To think that my name will be forever associated with Carnival Radiance and that I’m joining other esteemed women who have served as a Carnival godmother is truly an honor.”
Carnival Cruise Line plans to have all of its US ships operational by the end of March 2022. When it comes to Australia, that all depends on when the government there is ready to allow the cruise industry to reopen in 2022.
Carnival Spirit and Carnival Splendor are both scheduled for resuming in Australia in March 2022. Other ships that will restart in the first months of next year include Carnival Sunshine, Carnival Liberty, Carnival Ecstasy, Carnival Paradise, and Carnival Sensation.