SHIPS were on the run again last weekend from Hurricane
Rita, which came ashore between Galveston, Texas, a major home port
for cruise ships, and New Orleans, where two of Carnival Cruise
Lines chartered vessels have been docked. Those ships, the Ecstasy
and the Sensation, were moved from New Orleans before the storm in
the interest of caution, a Carnival spokeswoman said. The Elation
and the Carnival Conquest, which are sailing with passengers,
stayed at sea and are expected to return to Galveston Sept. 27. The
Elation and the Conquests next voyages were shortened to a two-day
cruise to nowhere and a five-day cruise, respectively.
OF THE SEAS, which normally sails from Galveston on
Sundays, is expected back in port Sept. 28. Passengers scheduled to
depart on a Sept. 25 sailing will now sail on a four-day cruise to
Cozumel, Mexico, Royal Caribbean International said.
MEANWHILE, set October 2006 for the return of New Orleans
cruising, when it plans to again deploy the Sensation on four- and
five-day cruises from the city. But the Sensation will not sail
directly to New Orleans once its charter with the Federal Emergency
Management Agency expires; the ship will kick off a new program of
four- and five-day cruises from Port Canaveral, Fla., on March 23
that will call at Nassau and Freeport, Bahamas; Carnivals new
facility in Grand Turk, Turks and Caicos; and Half Moon Cay, the
private Bahamian island owned by Holland America Line.
CARNIVAL 2006 DEPLOYMENT NEWS:
Elation, which currently is sailing seven-day cruises from
Galveston, will launch seven-day cruises from Miami to Half Moon
Cay; St. Thomas; San Juan, Puerto Rico; and Grand Turk. That new
itinerary begins April 30.
Elation will take over the four- and five-day Canaveral
route on Oct. 19, when the Sensation redeploys to New Orleans.
Holiday will resume year-round, four- and five-day
cruising from Mobile, Ala., on March 27. The ship is under charter
Ecstasy, which also is under charter, will resume its
four- and five-day schedule from Galveston on April 8. Carnival said its three chartered vessels would each
receive a comprehensive refurbishment once the FEMA charter
CRUISES will get its first megaship in 2008, thanks to a
decision by parent company Carnival Corp. to assign P&O one of
two post-Panamax ships that the company ordered last year. The
116,000-ton, 3,100-passenger ship, which will be named the Ventura,
is similar in design to Princess Cruises most recent builds. It
will be the largest cruise ship built specifically for the British
market, Carnival said. The line ordered four ships from Italian
shipbuilder Fincantieri last year but deferred a decision on which
of its brands would get two of the ships. Look for an announcement
about the second ship this week.