Carnival charters three ships to help in Katrina relief efforts

MIAMI -- Carnival Cruise Lines chartered three of its cruise ships for six months as part of Hurricane Katrina relief efforts.


The ships, the Ecstasy, the Sensation and the Holiday, have been chartered to the Military Sealift Command on behalf of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, effective Sept. 5.

The Ecstasy and the Sensation, which each accommodate 2,052 passengers, will likely remain docked in Galveston, Tex.; the 1,492-passenger Holiday will likely be docked in Mobile, Ala.

The ships will be used to house people affected by the hurricane, said Carnival CEO Bob Dickinson.

Carnival has canceled the ships scheduled sailings through early March -- each operates short Caribbean cruises -- and providing full refunds to passengers booked on affected sailings. Passengers who rebook will receive a $100 per-person shipboard credit; agent commissions are protected.

We trust our guests will understand that the decision to enter into these charters was the right one, Dickinson said. This inconvenience to our guests will provide desperately needed housing for thousands of individuals.

As a result of the charter, the Elation, which currently operates seven-day cruises from Galveston will offer a six-day cruise departing Sept. 4 before taking over the Ecstasys four- and five-day programs on Sept. 10.

Passengers booked on the Ecstasy will automatically be rebooked on the Elation, which is identical in layout. The Ecstasys five-day cruise departing Sept. 5 was canceled.

Meanwhile, the Conquest -- which Carnival relocated to Galveston from New Orleans -- will sail to its scheduled port calls from Galveston indefinitely, Carnival has said.

To contact the reporter who wrote this article, send e-mail to Rebecca Tobin at [email protected].

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