Carnival Celebration celebrates 50 years of Carnival Cruise Line


A new ship to celebrate 50 years of Carnival Cruise Line described by Alan Moorhouse

The pre dawn arrival Carnival Celebration in Southampton on 6 November was the first port of call for the new Meyer Turku built flagship en route to her homeport at Miami.

Guests and visitors were welcomed at Ocean Cruise Terminal by Carnival President and Chief Executive Christine Duffy.

The delivery of the Excellence class ship followed sister ship, Mardi Gras (181,808gt), with the ships helping to celebrate the Golden Jubilee of Carnival Cruise Line.

Founded by Ted Arison in 1972, Carnival operations commenced with the introduction of the first ‘fun ship’, Mardi Gras, built in 1960 by Vickers Armstrong as the Canadian Pacific liner Empress of Canada (27,284gt).

The arrival of Carnival Celebration at Miami will coincide with the celebration of the opening of Terminal F, the new third terminal for the Florida based company.

The $1 billion 181,808gt 344m ship has a flared bow design, modern BluArch designed Carnival hull colouring, and a trademark red blue and white winged Joe Farcus-inspired funnel configuration.

The main accommodation decks have cabins accommodating 5,282 guests. There is a crew complement of 1,735.

The ship incorporates advanced technology and is dual-fuelled, including LNG power. The four MAK caterpillar engines (57MW and 76,706hp) drive azimuth pods and the ship can achieve 23 knots.

Other Excellence class ships (XL and Helios sub Class) constructed by Meyer Turku and the Papenburg shipyard include Costa Smeralda, Costa Toscana , AIDAnova, AIDAcosma, Iona and Arvia. A sistership to Celebration, Carnival Jubilee, will follow in 2023.

Internally Carnival Celebration is divided into six public areas and themed neighbourhoods: Celebration Central; The Gateway; 820, Biscayne; Summer Landing; Lido-Pool; and The Ultimate Playground.

The main feature of Celebration Central is the Atrium which includes a large expanse of panoramic glazing on the starboard side covering three decks and including a stage for entertainment. The neighbourhood also includes bars and restaurants and the Celebration Theater.

The Gateway neighbourhood, located on Decks 6 and 7 aft, includes a two-deck-high promenade; Lattitudes Bar; Carnivale and Festivale Restaurants (named after early Carnival ships); Emerils Bistro 1397, a venue featuring award winning chef and restauranteur Emeril Lagasse; and the Limelight Lounge.

The Golden Jubilee Lounge is anniversary themed. It includes a model of the ship and the former Carnivale which entered service as the second ship of Carnival Cruise Line in 1973 after a career as Empress of Britain (1956).

820 Biscayne is a Miami-themed neighbourhood, occupying the midship area of Deck 8. The bars and food outlets include Miami Slice Pizzeria, Cucina Del Capitano seafood restaurant, and Bar 820.

Also on Deck 8, but located aft, is the Summer Landing neighbourhood. The indoor and outdoor areas include the Pig and Anchor brewhouse, the Watering Hole, Parched Pig, and the Heroes Tribute Lounge dedicated to veteran servicemen and their families.

There is a sports bar, sun deck and infinity pool. The Lido-Pool neighbourhood on Decks 16 and 17 is a recreational area designed with a South Pacific atmosphere.

The main pool and lido surround is the primary focus with a large LED feature screen, and adjacent food outlets including TV Food presenter Guy Fieri’s Burger Joint, the Seafood Shack, Big Chicken By Shaq, and the popular Lido Buffet.

Finally, The Ultimate Playground neighbourhood on Decks 18 to 20 is dedicated to fun and play. It includes a sports square, water park, Aquapark water works, and a myriad of coloured flumes wrapping around the squat Carnival funnel. The highlight is the Bolt roller coaster (built by Maurer AG) stretching 300 metres with two person cars able to streak around at 40mph.

The latest family orientated Carnival ‘fun ship’ will operate out of Miami on east, south and west Caribbean itineraries.

The ship was named in Miami on 20 November 2022 by TV personality Cassidy Gifford who’s mother Kathy Lee Gifford formally named the ‘Holiday’ Class ship Celebration in 1987.

Photos by Alan Moorhouse

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