Carnival Cruise Line solidified its place as the cruise leader in Texas with Sunday’s arrival of Carnival Vista – the largest ship ever homeported in Galveston. The arrival was celebrated with Carnival Cruise Line President Christine Duffy and ship Godmother Deshauna Barber, the first member of the U.S. military to be named Miss USA, before the ship left on its first voyage from Galveston Sunday afternoon.
Carnival Vista is part of the line’s newest and largest class of ships and has been wowing guests out of Miami for the past two years with new features like the SkyRide aerial bike ride, an IMAX theater, onboard brewery, two dining venues developed by Food Network star Guy Fieri, an expansive water park, and the Family Harbor accommodations with larger staterooms and lounge area.
Carnival Vista offers two distinctly different week-long western Caribbean itineraries from Galveston, visiting the region’s most popular destinations. The first itinerary includes calls at Montego Bay; Grand Cayman; and Cozumel, while the other features visits to Mahogany Bay (Isla Roatan); Belize; and Cozumel. Carnival Vista joins Carnival Freedom and Carnival Valor with year-round departures from Galveston. Together, these three ships operate more than 200 sailings each year carrying more than 600,000 passengers annually – the most in cruising.
The homecoming event was attended by local officials, travel agents and military families supported by Operation Homefront. Galveston Mayor Pro Tem Craig Brown presented Duffy with a key to the city and proclaimed Sept. 23 “Choose Fun Day” in recognition of Carnival’s brand campaign. In support of the local community, Carnival made a $10,000 donation to Houston SPCA and an additional $10,000 to the Houston Food Bank.
The Homeport Advantage campaign also included a flyover in Houston, Galveston and the surrounding area earlier this month by the Carnival AirShip, a 128-foot long red, white and blue blimp emblazoned with #ChooseFun. Consumers who posted a photo of the AirShip in social media with #ChooseFun were entered into a sweepstakes awarding free cruises and other prizes and triggering a donation to St. Jude.