LONG BEACH, Calif. -- Carnival Cruise Line will put a new
ship in Long Beach in 2019, marking the first time in decades that one of its
newbuilds will sail an inaugural season in a U.S. city outside of Miami.
The new ship, the Carnival Panorama, is the third in a class
that started with Carnival Vista in 2016.
Carnival president Christine Duffy announced the deployment
at a ceremony to dedicate an expanded Carnival terminal in Long Beach. She said
the decision underscores Carnival's ambitions for the Southern California
"I think this demonstrates to everyone the commitment
that we at Carnival have made to the West Coast operation," Duffy said. "I'm
sure for travel agents in this community it will be a great opportunity to sell
even more people on cruising."
Carnival Cruise Line president Christine Duffy dedicates Carnival's expanded terminal in Long Beach. Photo Credit: Tom Stieghorst
Duffy also disclosed that Carnival will make a big
investment to upgrade the passenger experience in Ensenada, Mexico, a stop
featured on all Carnival short cruises from Long Beach.
The Ensenada improvements, which will include both indoor
and outdoor features, are expected to be finished by 2020. Duffy said details
would be forthcoming at a later date.
Betsy Geiser, vice president at Uniglobe Travel, Irvine,
Ca., said the Ensenada upgrades will be especially welcome for repeat
passengers. "Everybody who cruises out of Southern California has been
there 20 times," she said.
For the past 15 years, Carnival's operation in Long Beach
has been separate from other cruise lines, located in an unusual geodesic dome
that was originally built to house the Howard Hughes-designed Spruce Goose
The cruise line has used only part of the 146,000-square-foot
dome, with exhibitions and an annual ice sculpting competition in the other
part. Carnival reached agreement to lease the entire building and began using
the expanded terminal on Jan. 25.
The most important impact is that it can now board and
disembark passengers simultaneously. Before, arriving passengers sometimes had
to wait outside the building in the weather while ships were emptied.
Carnival's new Long Beach Terminal features artificial trees and a large cut-out display of a California mountain. Photo Credit: Tom Stieghorst
Carnival is using the expanded terminal to debut a
streamlined mobile check-in, which in most cases lets agents swipe
identification through a mobile device and take a ID card photo in a minute or
"With our new embark technology people are able with
just a swipe to come in and relax before they board the ship," Duffy said.
The enlarged terminal affords more room and a better set-up
for Customs and Border Protection.
Carnival also created elaborate theming for the cavernous
interior of the dome, with a 30-foot high billboard representation of Thunder
Mountain in the Sierra Nevada range, and dozens of freeze-dried trees for
Carnival also obtained a scale model of the Spruce Goose
that was flown in the Hughes bio-pic "The Aviator." It has been
installed on a second -floor landing where embarking passengers can pose with
it for photos.
The giant Spruce Goose, formally the Hughes H-4 Hercules,
was an eight-engine prototype made of wood and had the largest wingspan of any
plane ever flown. It made one brief flight in 1947 but was rejected for
production by the U.S. military. It was hangered in Long Beach from 1980 to 1991.