MIAMI, Aug. 14 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Carnival Cruise Lines and the Jacksonville Port Authority (JAXPORT) today announced a significant increase in capacity for Jacksonville's cruise operations when the 2,052-passenger Carnival Fascination replaces the 1,486-passenger Celebration on four- and five-day cruises year-round from Jacksonville beginning Sept. 20, 2008.
Carnival is the only cruise operator to sail year-round from Jacksonville and the Carnival Fascination represents a 38 percent increase in capacity over the Celebration. With the deployment of the Carnival Fascination - the newest and largest ship ever homeported in Jacksonville on a year-round basis - Carnival is expected to carry 170,000 guests annually from JAXPORT.
"Jacksonville has proven to be a very successful homeport based on the convenient and affordable cruise options that it offers to consumers from across the Southeastern U.S.," said Vicki Freed, Carnival's senior vice president of sales and marketing. "These voyages are especially attractive to first-time cruisers, providing them with an opportunity to experience Carnival's unique vacation environment and wide-ranging product upgrades - all at an outstanding value," she added.
"We at JAXPORT are thrilled to be able to serve an even greater number of guests and allow them to enjoy the kind of quality customer care we have always offered," said Tony Orsini, JAXPORT's senior director of cruise operations. "We also thank Carnival for this clear sign of its commitment to the future of Jacksonville as a cruise homeport."
In conjunction with the redeployment of the Carnival Fascination to Jacksonville, the ship will offer a new five-day itinerary departing Saturdays and featuring daylong calls to award-winning Half Moon Cay, a private Bahamian island, and Nassau, The Bahamas. The five-day cruises departing Mondays will visit Key West and Nassau and the four-day weekend voyages departing Thursdays will call at Freeport and Nassau.
Carnival Fascination currently operates three- and four-day cruises from Miami and will continue that program through Sept. 15, 2008. The Celebration will remain in Jacksonville through its departure date of April 14, 2008. Future deployment plans for that vessel will be announced at a later date.
"Our Jacksonville-based cruises generate some of the highest guest satisfaction ratings in our fleet and we believe that this will only be enhanced when the Carnival Fascination starts service next fall," Freed said.
'Evolutions of Fun' Upgrades
The 70,000-ton Carnival Fascination underwent a multi-million-dollar renovation last year, the first phase in the line's extensive "Evolutions of Fun" shipboard enhancement initiative for its eight "Fantasy-class" vessels. The refurbishment included a new nine-hole miniature golf course, a patisserie, an atrium lobby bar, conference center, and expansive new facilities for children and teens, part of the line's top-rated "Camp Carnival" and "Club O2" programs, respectively.
In addition to a completely renovated spa, all 1,026 staterooms aboard the Carnival Fascination were upgraded with flat screen TVs, an entirely new décor and completely remodeled bathrooms. Two new lavish production shows, Fiesta Latina and Far From Over: the 80s, were added, as well.
Future "Evolutions of Fun" upgrades for the Carnival Fascination - scheduled to be completed in 2009 -- include an expansive Carnival WaterWorks aqua park, a new design style and features for the mid-ship pool area, and a new "Serenity" adults-only deck area, all part of a dramatic transformation of the ship's open decks.
Pricing and Reservations
Reservations will be accepted for the Carnival Fascination's new four- and five-day schedule from Jacksonville beginning August 22, 2007. Prices for the four-day cruises begin at $269 and five-day cruises start at $289, based on double occupancy.
Special rates for third and fourth guests sailing in the same stateroom and round-trip air supplements from dozens of North American gateways are also available. Carnival Fascination cruises can also be combined with a pre- or post-cruise land stay in Jacksonville.
For additional information and reservations, contact any travel agent, call 1-800-CARNIVAL or visit carnival.com.
Source: Carnival Cruise Lines