Newest Carnival Ship Heading to Texas – With a Party Waiting

A welcome party is planned for Carnival Jubilee's arrival to Galveston, but not all experiences will be ready when the first guests set sail.

Carnival Jubilee is well on her way across the Atlantic Ocean, having left Tenerife in the Canary Islands and set out to sea. What is coming next for the new Carnival Cruise Line flagship, and when can guests expect key experiences to begin onboard?

Carnival Jubilee On the Way

Carnival Jubilee was delivered to the cruise line, officially becoming the twenty-sixth Carnival ship, on Monday, December 4, 2023, and now the massive ship is on her way to her new home in Galveston, Texas.

The ship has already made her first port of call visit, a supply stop in Tenerife in the Canary Islands, before heading out across the Atlantic Ocean. The next stop will be Nassau in the Bahamas, also to take on additional supplies and crew members in preparation for her first official voyage.

At the moment, satellite tracking data indicates that Carnival Jubilee will arrive in Nassau at approximately 3:30 p.m. on Sunday, December 17. That quick visit – albeit without guests – will still be a momentous occasion for the new ship.

What will be most momentous, however, is when Carnival Jubilee sails into Galveston for the first time, sporting the beautiful star on her bow that connects her to the Lone Star State.

Party Planned for New Ship

Port of Galveston is planning a “Howdy, Carnival Jubilee Celebration” on Wednesday, December 20, 2023 from 8-9 a.m. when the ship arrives. The public is invited to offer a “Texas-sized welcome” to the new vessel as Piers 20-21.

“Bring your welcome signs and don your cowboy hats to cheer the Jubilee and her crew as they arrive to dock at their new home at Cruise Terminal 25,” the event announcement said. “An airplane flying overhead with a welcome banner and a tugboat shooting its water cannon will add to the festivities.”

Refreshments will be served at the event, which is sure to include iconic Texas fun to welcome the new ship. Carnival Cruise Line was the first ever cruise line to sail year-round from Galveston when they began passenger operations from Texas in 2001, and the new ship is the culmination of decades of dedication to fine Texas cruising.

Carnival Jubilee Conveyance on the Ems
Carnival Jubilee Conveyance on the Ems (Photo Credit: Carnival Cruise Line)

“This is the first brand-new ship to homeport in Galveston since we became a cruise home port 23 years ago,” said Rodger Rees, Galveston Wharves port director and CEO. “We hope to have a great turnout for this historic event so the Jubilee crew and Carnival staff see how happy we are to welcome this beautiful ship.”

While the exact timing of Carnival Jubilee‘s arrival may not be certain – weather during her crossing as well as on her way from Nassau to Galveston could impact her arrival – the celebration is sure to be a great occasion to make the new 183,521-gross-ton, Excel-class ship and all her 1,735 officers and crew members feel welcome and right at home.

Sailing Aboard Carnival Jubilee

Carnival Jubilee will welcome her first guests aboard on Saturday, December 23, 2023 for what is sure to be a very special Christmas cruise, with the new vessel decked out in her holiday finest.

That first sailing is a 7-night Western Caribbean itinerary, departing Galveston at 4 p.m. and with port visits to Roatan, Honduras (December 26) and Costa Maya (December 27) and Cozumel (December 28) in Mexico, before returning to Texas on Saturday, December 30.

Carnival Jubilee will be based from Texas year-round at least through April 2026, offering the same popular Western Caribbean itinerary, though the order of port visits may vary depending on the sailing date.

Some Experiences Not Ready

For the first few weeks of the ship’s operation, however, some key experiences will not be quite ready for guests. This is common with new ships, as crew members need time to familiarize themselves with the vessel’s quirks and settle in to general operation before offering special events.

For example, the Seuss at Sea breakfast – a special event with appearances by very special and beloved characters and featuring none other than green eggs and ham – will not be offered until approximately the January 6 departure date.

“Sadly, it’s not going to be ready for the first two cruises, which is very normal when we bring out a new ship,” said Carnival Cruise Line Brand Ambassador John Heald.

Dr.Inks Ph.D Bar on Carnival Jubilee
Dr.Inks Ph.D Bar on Carnival Jubilee

Similarly, the popular Behind the Fun tour that offers a limited group of guests behind-the-scenes visits to key operational areas of the ship will not be offered until approximately mid-January, though exact dates for the tour to begin have not been confirmed. Carnival Cruise Line is rolling out pre-cruise sales for the Behind the Fun tour, which will make it easier for guests to reserve their space.

Finally, the Faster to the Fun program will also not be offered on Carnival Jubilee for at least the first two or three months, according to Heald, which is also normal for a new ship. This exclusive program gives guests highly desirable perks such as priority boarding, express luggage delivery, immediate stateroom access, priority dining reservations, and more.

Read Also: Carnival Opens Priority Package for 2024 Cruises, Price Increased

Because many of the perks are also part of the cruise line’s VIFP loyalty program, it is not possible to offer Faster to the Fun right away on a new ship, as many experienced cruisers are setting sail on the new ship and the program is limited to ensure everyone is able to enjoy the benefits.

Undoubtedly, these premium experiences will be made available as soon as possible, and in the meantime, all guests aboard Carnival Jubilee will have plenty to enjoy on the new ship, from amazing dining to spectacular themed zones to the Bolt rollercoaster and more.

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