Sailing Times Shifted for Dozens of Carnival Sailings

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Following years’ of departure time changes just announced for Carnival Paradise, Carnival Cruise Line has also reached out to guests booked aboard both Carnival Sunshine and Carnival Radiance to alert them to similar departure time shifts for dozens of 2024 sailings. Between the two vessels, a total of more than 70 sailings are impacted by these changes.

Carnival Sunshine, which is currently homeported from Charleston, South Carolina, will now be departing at 3:30 p.m. rather than the originally planned 4 p.m. on select sailings.

This includes all cruises from July 1 through November 28, as well as departure dates from December 12 through and including December 30. In total, this change impacts 37 individual sailings.

Carnival Radiance Cruise Ship
Carnival Radiance Cruise Ship (Photo Credit: jejim / Shutterstock)

Similarly, instead of departing from her Long Beach, California homeport at 5 p.m. as originally planned, Carnival Radiance will now depart one hour earlier, at 4 p.m. This impacts a total of 36 different cruises, from July 1 through December 30. The exact adjusted sailings are as follows:

  • July 1 through and including September 6
  • September 27 through and including October 4
  • October 27 through and including November 22
  • December 15 through and including December 30

All the impacted sailing dates for both vessels are in 2024, and there is no indication that any cruises in 2025 or 2026 are being adjusted at this time. Only cruises within the stated departure date windows are affected, and other sailings will continue to depart at the original sailing times.

As a matter of interest, Carnival Sunshine and Carnival Radiance are both sister ships in the renovated Sunshine class. Carnival Sunshine was the former Carnival Destiny, while Carnival Radiance was previously Carnival Victory.

While these changes are not too dramatic – just a 30-minute change for Carnival Paradise and Carnival Sunshine and a 60-minute earlier departure for Carnival Radiance – they could cause problems for some travelers.

Read Also: Charleston Cruise Port – Terminal, Overview and What to Do

For example, local cruise passengers who may be planning a half day of work, school, or other commitments or appointments before leaving for their cruise vacation will need to be very mindful of the now-earlier departure times.

Similarly, any guests traveling to the cruise ports on the day of the sailing will want to be sure their flight arrangements or driving plans are early enough to accommodate the departure shift.

Carnival Paradise is sailing 4-, 5-, and 6-night cruises from Tampa, primarily to the Western Caribbean and the Bahamas, depending on sailing date and cruise length.

Carnival Sunshine is homeported from Charleston, offering 4- and 5-night Bahamas sailings, while Carnival Radiance offers primarily 3- and 4-night Baja Mexico cruises from Long Beach.

Why So Many Departure Changes?

The emails sent to guests booked on all three vessels have all been identical. No explanation has been given for the change in departure times, but guests are urged to ensure they are onboard “no later than the final boarding time specified on the boarding pass” to ensure an on-time sail away.

Carnival Sunshine docked in Charleston Harbor
Carnival Sunshine docked in Charleston Harbor (Photo Credit: Grindstone Media Group / Shutterstock)

There are several reasons Carnival Cruise Line might be adjusting departure times in such a broad way. Departing the homeport earlier could slightly improve fuel efficiency for the ships as they make their way to their first port of call, because they could sail at very slightly slower speeds.

It is also possible that the implementation of new facial recognition technology at multiple homeports is significantly speeding up both the debarkation and embarkation processes. This could mean less time is needed at the homeport to process all travelers and be ready to set sail.

If the cruise ship is able to leave earlier, there may also be a slight reduction in fees for the homeport. Even such a small change as 30-60 minutes could add up to significant savings for the cruise line with dozens of sailings impacted, if this is the case.

Tidal schedules, port operations, ship capacity, and other factors all also play a role in departure scheduling. Cruise travelers should always stay in close communication with their cruise line for updated details on any possible itinerary changes, departure adjustments, delays, or other notices as their sailing date approaches.

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