Carnival Cruise Lines is redoubling its push for more interesting itineraries, creating a new cruise collection that has novel onboard features in addition to longer voyages.

Called “Carnival Journeys,” the cruises will feature more local food and entertainment options, fun “Carnival style” enrichment classes, more crew interaction and a “Throwback Seaday” in which the clock will be turned back to 1987.

“We want to create something really different in terms of the experience,” said Terry Thornton, senior vice president of itinerary planning.

So far, 26 cruises have been designated Carnival Journeys. They are all longer than the typical Carnival cruise and include some smaller, less visited ports. Thornton cited Bonaire; Martinique; Grenada; Dominica; and Ixtapa, Mexico, as examples. Cruises will run between 9 and 15 days.

Well under 1% of Carnival cruises will be in the program. Part of the idea is to give experienced cruisers and Carnival's past guests something new to aspire to. “This will be a natural for people who have cruised before to come back to cruising and find something original and unique,” Thornton said.

For travel agents, Carnival Journeys offer the prospect of higher commissions than are typical for Carnival.

There are five components to the new onboard program. In “Authentic Eats,” Carnival will partner with local restaurants in ports of call to do onboard cooking demonstrations. There will be excursions to the restaurants and market tours with the chef.

“Local-tainment” will feature local bands either on or off the ship; "Academy of Fun,” will offer enrichment, but in a non-stuffy, entertaining way; and a “Throwback Seaday” will bring back the Baked Alaska dessert, the midnight buffet and white gloves on officers, as Carnival featured in 1987.

The fifth component is a heightened opportunity for interaction with the staff at all levels, and more chances to learn about shipboard life.

The first Carnival Journeys cruise is scheduled for Oct. 4 from New Orleans.

Correction: The first Carnival Journeys cruise will depart New Orleans, not Galveston as previously reported.


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