Carnival carries record 2.9 mn in Caribbean

Carnival Cruise Lines’ has shown a record-breaking 2007 Caribbean cruise season and will carry an unprecedented 2.9 million passengers within the region - the most in its 35-year history.
      In 2007, Carnival will deploy 18 ships in the Caribbean with 14
of those offering year-round service.  Overall, upwards of 1,150 three-
to eight-day cruises will be operated by Carnival, which is the only
cruise line to offer the option of departing from 12 convenient U.S.
homeports.
      According to statistics from the Cruise Lines International
Association, the Caribbean is the most sought-after cruise destination
by far, with the region featured on roughly half of all itineraries of
North American cruise operators.     
      “The Caribbean offers everything that consumers want in a
vacation - picture perfect weather, gracious hospitality, unique
sightseeing experiences, great shopping and, of course, gorgeous
beaches,” said Vicki Freed, Carnival’s senior vice president of sales
and marketing.  “But there’s more to the Caribbean than great beaches -
this is one of the most culturally diverse regions in the world, with a
rich history dating back centuries, magnificent architecture, and
historical attractions and landmarks,” she added.
      According to Freed, while Caribbean demand the past year or so
has been impacted by unfavorable economic factors affecting consumers’
discretionary purchasing, it was clearly part of a cyclical trend that
the industry has seen many times in the past.  “Bookings for the second
half of 2007 and early 2008 have shown much stronger fundamental demand
and the trend we were previously observing clearly was not a reflection
of the Caribbean’s popularity or desirability,” said Freed.  “Consumers
are unquestionably responding well to the strong value appeal inherent
in a cruise vacation versus other vacation options,” she added. 
      “Many of our other guest metrics also point to the strength of
Carnival’s Caribbean cruise product, with guest satisfaction levels
remaining at exceptionally high historical levels including very
favorable guest feedback on Caribbean destinations,” said Freed. 
      As the industry leader in Caribbean cruising, Carnival is
continually updating its cruise itineraries and destination choices and
over the next few months will introduce several new programs.           
      These include a new five-day itinerary on the Carnival
Imagination featuring Grand Turk, the new port in the Turks and Caicos
and the award-winning private island of Half Moon Cay; a seven-day,
five-port schedule on the Carnival Destiny from San Juan offering
extended day-long visits to St. Lucia, Antigua, Dominica, Barbados and
St. Thomas; and seven-day cruises aboard the Carnival Triumph from Miami
that feature Half Moon Cay, Grand Turk, Turks & Caicos Islands, St.
Thomas, and San Juan. 
      Carnival has also been working with destination partners to
enhance and expand shore excursion programming to cater to today’s
active lifestyles, offering more choices than ever for consumers to
immerse themselves in this fascinating destination.  In 2007 alone,
Carnival will offer approximately 900 landside tour choices in the
region.
      Carnival’s Caribbean expansion will continue in 2008 when the
3,006-passenger Carnival Splendor - the largest “Fun Ship” ever
constructed - launches a series of seven-day Caribbean cruises from Fort
Lauderdale Nov. 22.  Featured will be visits to San Juan, St. Thomas,
Nassau and Casa de Campo, one of the Caribbean’s finest resorts.
      In addition to three- to eight-day cruises to the Caribbean and
The Bahamas, Carnival offers three- to 16-day voyages to the Mexican
Riviera, Alaska, Hawaii, New England, Canada, Europe, the Greek Isles,
and South America.
      The line currently has three new ships on order - the
113,300-ton Carnival Splendor, set to debut in Europe July 13, 2008; and
the 130,000-ton Carnival Dream and Carnival Magic, scheduled for
delivery in October 2009 and June 2011, respectively.
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