Carnival to use Royal Caribbean island

By Tom Stieghorst
Carnival Cruise Lines has arranged with Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. to use its private island at Coco Cay for selected sailings of two Carnival ships this year.

Starting March 14, the Carnival Fascination will call there 19 times this year on its five-day cruise from Jacksonville, while the Carnival Ecstasy will call 11 times on five-day cruises from Port Canaveral.

For each ship, the calls replace a stop in Key West. The switch is being made to expand and diversify Carnival's port of call/destination options, Carnival said.

Guests are currently being notified about the itinerary change.

Carnival brands use two other private islands in the Bahamas, Princess Cay and Half Moon Cay, which was developed for Holland America Line.

Carnival spokesman Vance Gulliksen said that given the short duration of the cruises and the other ports on the itineraries, it would be difficult to reach Half Moon Cay and still maintain the ships' published schedule.

In addition, Princess Cay does not offer tender operations, he said.

Asked about payment, Gulliksen said Carnival entered into a commercial agreement with Royal Caribbean for the use of Coco Cay, also known as Little Stirrup Cay.

Follow Tom Stieghorst on Twitter @tstravelweekly.
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