In an email sent to booked guests, Carnival Cruise Line has announced an itinerary change for the May 21, 2022 sailing of Carnival Magic.
Instead of calling on Nassau, the capital of The Bahamas, the ship will now visit Bimini instead. Because the cruise is more than a month away, guests have plenty of time to plan for the changed port of call.
Nassau Canceled, Ship to Visit Bimini Instead
The email, dated April 15, states “As we continue to refine our operational plans for your cruise, we have replaced our call to Nassau, The Bahamas, with a visit to Bimini, The Bahamas.”
The ship’s May 23 port of call in Nassau was to have been from 2-11 p.m., but instead, the visit to Bimini will be from 12-7 p.m.
Nassau and Bimini are roughly 150 miles apart, and because of the change, the port of call times for the following port – Freeport – are also slightly changed. The ship was initially scheduled to be in Freeport from 7 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on Tuesday, May 24. Instead, the port of call will only be from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Carnival Magic departs on the affected sailing on Saturday, May 21, from Norfolk, Virginia. The first day is a day at sea, followed by Bimini and Freeport on Monday and Tuesday, and then another day at sea on Wednesday before the ship returns to Norfolk on Thursday, May 26.
This 5-night itinerary is part of a series of six roundtrip sailings Carnival Magic is making from Norfolk. Five of the cruises are visits to The Bahamas, while the May 26 sailing is a 4-night voyage to Bermuda.
In mid-June, the ship will reposition to New York to spend the summer season offering Bermuda and Eastern Caribbean sailings, before returning to Norfolk for another four cruises in October, after which Carnival Magic will be based from Port Canaveral through the winter and into spring 2023.
Shore Tour Options
Guests who had already booked shore tours for Nassau will have those tours automatically refunded to their original form of payment. If guests have made independent excursion arrangements in Nassau, they should contact the tour operators as soon as possible to arrange cancelations and refunds, if applicable.
Shore tours are now available for guests to book for Bimini, and include a range of tropical favorites, including beach days, stingray adventures, and snorkeling, including an exciting option to snorkel with reef sharks or explore a shipwreck.
“Thank you for understanding. We look forward to welcoming you aboard for a FUN and memorable cruise,” the email concludes.
Why the Itinerary Change?
No details have been provided about why this itinerary change has been made, but such port of call changes are not uncommon.
Three other cruise ships are scheduled to be in port at Nassau on May 23: Carnival Elation, MSC Divina, Royal Caribbean’s Enchantment of the Seas. Together, these ships have a capacity of more than 9,500 guests if fully booked.
Nassau is also a popular tourist destination for guests flying into the city or arriving via ferries.
Heavy crowding can make visits less enjoyable for everyone, as tour operators may be unable to add capacity to their excursions, especially if social distancing and extra sanitation and cleaning measures remain in place.
Because of this, it is not unusual for cruise ships to adjust itineraries to better balance how many guests are in different ports each day, in order to provide more pleasant experiences.
By contrast, Carnival Magic is scheduled to be the only cruise ship in Bimini on May 23, ensuring more exclusive experiences for all guests.