Norfolk, Virginia, welcomes the first cruise ship in over two years this weekend. Carnival Magic has the honor to kick off the cruise season from the city, the first since the global pause in operations in March 2020. The ship is also the largest ever to homeport from Norfolk.
The Carnival cruise ship is sailing from the Half Moone Cruise Center on a six-day journey to the Bahamas. Guests are welcomed into the terminal with a signature Carnival ‘Back To Fun’ event, which Carnival Cruise Director Simon London is hosting.
Carnival Adds One More Homeport in the US
America’s cruise line, Carnival Cruise Line, adds another homeport to the list of departure cities the company sails from. Norfolk, Virginia, will be the home of Carnival Magic from today, May 15, through June 15, 2022.
“Norfolk is a key seasonal homeport for us and we are excited to have Carnival Magic based in Norfolk for our guests to enjoy and to support the local economy,” said Christine Duffy, president of Carnival Cruise Line.
“I want to thank the City of Norfolk for its ongoing commitment to Carnival and the enhancements it made to the beautiful Half Moone Cruise Center, so that we could bring the larger Carnival Magic here for our restart.”
Sailing from the Half Moone Cruise and Celebration Center on Waterside Drive, the 3690-guest Carnival Magic is sailing on a 6-day cruise to Nassau, Half Moon Cay, and Freeport, Bahamas. Carnival Magic, at 128,048 gross tons, is the biggest cruise ship to ever sail from Norfolk.
“We’re ready to welcome back our partners at Carnival and roll out the red carpet for these passengers,” said Nauticus’ executive director, Stephen E. Kirkland. “This particular ship is just massive, and the downtown skyline will look dramatically different when it arrives.”
This is the first in a series of eleven cruises scheduled to sail from Norfolk. Besides voyages to the Bahamas, Carnival Magic will sail one voyage to The Dockyard (Sandy’s Parish) in Bermuda.
Between June 20 and October 1, the Carnival cruise ship will sail from New York City and will return sailing from October 1 from Norfolk for an additional five voyages.
Those cruises include sailings to the Bahamas, Bermuda, and one nine-night cruise to the Caribbean, with stops in San Juan, Puerto Rico; Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas; and Grand Turk, Turks and Caicos.
Long Term Deal For Norfolk
Carnival Cruise Line has committed itself to a long-term deal with Norfolk, Virginia. In February 2020, just before the pandemic caused a global operational pause, the company signed a deal with Norfolk that would see ships call at the port regularly. The agreement was signed for a 5-year period, of which two have already passed.
As one of Carnival’s fourteen US homeports, Norfolk plays an important role in its close-to-home ship deployment strategy.
Most of the line’s ships have their homeport near large population centers on the East and West Coast and in the Gulf of Mexico. This allows guests to drive their car to the newest port and board a cruise ship instead of dealing with airports and airlines.
Carnival Magic’s first season in Norfolk is the direct result of the 2020 deal. In return for the income that Carnival’s ships generate for the city, the local government declared it would be making investments in the infrastructure around the port to the tune of $3.93 to $4.72 million.
After a dry dock that saw the vessel kitted out with the new Carnival Cruise Line livery, Carnival Magic resumed service on August 7, 2020, from Port Canaveral. Carnival Magic was the sixth ship in the fleet to restart operations.