Carnival to Launch Year-Round Cruise Program from Charleston

Next spring Carnival Cruise Lines will begin offering regular cruises from Charleston, the first ever year-round cruise schedule for the port. Carnival will operate five-, six- and seven-day voyages to The Bahamas and Key West, Fla., from the Passenger Terminal in historic downtown Charleston beginning May 18, 2010.

Charleston’s centralized location within the southeastern U.S., as well as the city’s strong appeal as a tourist destination, were key factors in Carnival’s decision.

“Charleston is an extraordinary city within easy reach of millions of U.S. residents who will now have convenient access to Carnival’s fantastic and affordable cruise vacation options year-round,” said Gerry Cahill, Carnival’s president and CEO. “Our past experience with the Port of Charleston, which has a very efficient and conveniently located cruise terminal, has been outstanding.”

The cruises from the Port of Charleston will be aboard the 2,056-passenger Carnival Fantasy.

“This vessel is a perfect fit for the Port of Charleston and is similar in size to others we have hosted in years past,” said Newsome. “We have enjoyed a successful, long-standing relationship with Carnival, and we are very pleased to extend that relationship with a year-round calendar.”

Previously, Carnival has operated seasonal voyages from Charleston, including two five-day departures on the Carnival Triumph this year and two on the Carnival Glory next year.

On its new Charleston-based program, Carnival will operate five-, six- and seven-day voyages on a variety of departure days. Five-day voyages departing Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays will call at Nassau and Freeport in the Bahamas. Six-day voyages departing Saturdays will visit Freeport, Nassau and Key West, Fla. Seven-day voyages depart Saturdays and will feature Grand Turk, the private Bahamian island of Half Moon Cay, and Nassau.

Coinciding with the new business is the collaborative effort by the SCSPA and the City of Charleston to upgrade the Passenger Terminal to more effectively meet new security requirements, as well as to better serve the market needs of its cruise customers. An urban design firm has been selected to update the Master Plan for nine acres in downtown Charleston, including and surrounding the Passenger Terminal.

Carnival’s reservation system for the new voyages launched today, and travelers can book now by contacting a travel agent, by calling 1-800-CARNIVAL or by visiting www.carnival.com.

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