Newest Carnival Ship Welcomes First Guests on Inaugural Cruise

Carnival Jubilee has officially set sail with her first guests, becoming the new Carnival Cruise Line flagship.

Carnival Jubilee has welcomed her very first guests onboard and set sail on her inaugural cruise from Galveston, Texas, bringing bigger-than-ever fun to the Lone Star State and growing Carnival Cruise Line to new heights.

Cruise line and port executives were on hand for the momentous occasion, made even more exciting by the fact that Carnival Jubilee‘s first sailing is a very special holiday cruise that will be filled with even more special times to make fabulous memories.

New Carnival Flagship Officially Sets Sail

At 4 p.m. on Saturday, December 23, 2023, Carnival Jubilee officially set sail on her maiden voyage with more than 6,000 guests aboard. The new ship, now Carnival Cruise Line’s flagship, had arrived in Galveston on Wednesday, December 20 to great fanfare and a Texas-sized welcome for the only cruise ship in the world to proudly display the Texas Lone Star on her bow.

On hand at Galveston Wharves’ Terminal 25 were cruise line and port executives to greet guests, with formal commemorative presentations and a ribbon-cutting ceremony, as well as a special welcome to the very first family to board the ship.

“This is the start of a new era for us here in Galveston,” said Christine Duffy, Carnival Cruise Line President. “This stunning ship not only brings together our best offerings, from thrilling entertainment like the BOLT roller coaster to delicious dining options like Emeril’s Bistro, it also expands our capacity – allowing us to deliver the quintessential Carnival fun to more people sailing from Texas.”

Carnival Jubilee‘s first sailing is a 7-night Western Caribbean itinerary to Roatan, Honduras as well as Costa Maya and Cozumel in Mexico. This is the same itinerary that the new ship will be offering year-round, but two different types of extra-special apply to this specific sailing.

Carnival Jubilee Inaugural Voyage Begins
Carnival Jubilee Inaugural Voyage Begins

As an inaugural cruise, all the events onboard, as well as the port visits, will be momentous firsts for the ship. Furthermore, as a Christmas cruise, there will be all sorts of special holiday offerings with themed activities, seasonal festivities, the Christmas Gala Dinner, visits from Santa and Mrs. Claus, and much more.

“We’ll have more celebrating to do in the coming months, but for now, we’ll let our skilled team take the reins and bring to life the special holiday season cruises they’ve been preparing to deliver to our guests,” Duffy remarked.

Of course, Carnival Jubilee‘s second sailing will be equally festive as a New Year’s cruise with guests ringing in 2024 in style.

Special Firsts

Not only is the first sailing of any cruise ship a special occasion, but Carnival Jubilee has a few extra special notes that make her unique. She is the first-ever new-built ship to be homeported from Galveston, bringing greater prestige and amazing experiences to Texas cruisers.

To properly welcome the new ship and service her in style, Galveston Wharves’ Terminal 25 has undergone a $53 million renovation and upgrade. Gangway modifications were essential to accommodate the ship’s size, and other upgrades have been done to elevators, the roof, security, and more to ensure the smoothest and most efficient port operations.

Carnival Jubilee Arriving in Galveston
Carnival Jubilee Arriving in Galveston (Photo Credit: Carnival Cruise Line)

The 183,521-gross-ton, Excel-class ship also has exclusive firsts onboard, including the Lone Star Tailgate party and a new production show, “Dear Future Husband” that is only to be seen on Carnival Jubilee.

The ship does share key features with her sister ships, Mardi Gras and Carnival Celebration, such as the wildly popular Big Chicken restaurant, the amazing view from the central atrium and its wall of glass, and the distinctive zones throughout the ship. On Carnival Jubilee, the Currents and Shores zones have an ocean-inspired theme not found anywhere else in the Carnival fleet.

Of note is the fact that Carnival Jubilee is also one “last” for the moment – the last new build ship ordered for Carnival Cruise Line at least for the next couple of years, though Carnival Firenze will be joining the fleet in April 2024.

The large ship with her 5,374-guest-occupancy (double occupancy; 6,631 passengers when fully booked) does significantly expand the cruise line’s overall capacity and is sure to usher in an era of amazing cruises filled with Texas hospitality.

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