Carnival Significantly Expands West Coast Presence
Carnival Cruise Line has announced major changes to their presence in the west coast. Alongside the announcement of a new port project in Ensenada, they revealed they will reopen their massive Long Beach Cruise Terminal and deploy a new ship to California for the first time in 20 years.
In recent history, Carnival introduced their newest ships to the Mediterranean or Caribbean, before shuffling them around later on. But in 2019, the third Vista-class ship, Carnival Panorama will head to southern California while the paint is still drying. The 3,960-passenger ship will operate seven-night Mexican Riviera cruises, bringing new life to the somewhat stale Long Beach lineup.
Panorama lives up to its name by offering both indoor and outdoor venues, including the Fahrenheit 555 steakhouse, Bonsai Sushi, and the cozy Library Bar. Panorama will also have the ever-popular “bicycle in the sky” attraction, the SkyRide, that debuted on Carnival Vista, as well as a massive WaterWorks park and a SportSquare recreation area.
Long Beach Cruise Terminal
Carnival has been operating the Long Beach Cruise Terminal since 2003, and it’s the busiest terminal in North America. It encompasses the world’s largest, free-span geodesic dome, originally built to house Howard Hughes’ Spruce Goose plane. With the expansion, Carnival is now utilizing 100 percent of the dome for its operations.
The renovation of the terminal has doubled the facility’s space and streamlined every step of the boarding and disembarkation process. The project also included expanded portside shore power, enabling larger ships to plug into the local electrical grid and reduce exhaust emissions while docked.
The terminal features a backdrop of the Sierra Nevada mountain range, a replica of the Spruce Goose hanging from the ceiling, and the cruise industry’s first 1980s-style arcade that families can enjoy while waiting to board their ship.
Carnival Splendor Arrives in Long Beach
The grand re-opening of the terminal coincided with the arrival of Carnival Splendor, which replaced Carnival Miracle in California. Splendor now operates seven-day cruises to Mexico and longer voyages to Alaska and Hawaii, while Miracle has moved to Tampa for Caribbean and Panama Canal cruises. The 113,300-ton Splendor is currently the largest ship based year-round in southern California. Onboard is a Cloud 9 Spa, a gourmet steakhouse, a magrodome-covered pool area, and nearly 600 balcony cabins.
The ship joins Carnival Imagination and Carnival Inspiration in Long Beach, operating three and four-day cruises to Ensenada and Catalina Island. Together, the three ships carry around 600,000 guests annually on more than 250 cruises, from quick three-night getaways to extended fourteen-night sailings.
Ensenada Port Development Project
Officials from Carnival have also announced a major port development project in Ensenada, Mexico, a regular port of call on their three- and four-night cruises. The project will provide passengers with new shoreside dining and retail options, along with unique attractions. Carnival plans to announce more details at a later date.