Carnival's chief fun officer Shaquille O’Neal joined celebrations in Miami (Image: Carnival Cruise Line)
Carnival Cruise Line has hosted two ‘Choose Fun’ celebrations to mark Carnival Horizon’s arrival at her new PortMiami homeport and Carnival Vista starting her new year-round schedule from Port of Galveston.
Carnival Horizon’s arrival into Miami, Florida was marked with a basketball-themed event featuring the company’s chief fun officer and NBA Hall of Fame player Shaquille O’Neal, as well as Miami Heat players legends Alonzo Mourning, Shane Battier and Glen Rice.
During the celebrations, Carnival unveiled a large ‘Choose Fun’ sticker on Carnival Horizon’s stern and organised for a flyover from the Carnival AirShip – a 128-foot-long red, white and blue blimp that has been flying to the southeast of the US to raise awareness of new ship deployments in several key markets as part of the line’s month-long Homeport Advantage campaign.
Carnival also presented a US$25,000 cheque to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, donating funds that have been raised from people posting a photo of the AirShip on social media with the hashtag #ChooseFun.
“With her awesome top-deck attractions and wide variety of al fresco dining experiences, Carnival Horizon is the ideal ship for the Caribbean and this event was a perfect way to celebrate her Miami arrival while benefiting the special children of St. Jude,” said Christine Duffy, president of Carnival Cruise Line. “And we’ve taken our ‘Choose Fun’ tagline to the next level by putting a giant a bumper sticker on our newest ship proclaiming our never-ending commitment to fun!”
Following a two-day inaugural cruise, Carnival Horizon embarked on her year-round schedule of six- and eight-day Caribbean itineraries cruises on 22 September. The six-day cruises will include calls at Ocho Rios, Jamaica; Grand Cayman, Cayman Island; and Cozumel, Mexico. Meanwhile, one eight-day itinerary will take guests to Grand Turk, Turks and Caicos Island; La Romana, Dominican Republic; Curacao; and Aruba. The other will call at Grand Turk; San Juan, Mexico; St. Kitts; and St. Maarten.
Meanwhile, Carnival Vista sailed into Galveston in Texas on 23 September, becoming the largest cruise ship to ever homeport at the port. Her arrival was marked during a celebration attended by Duffy, local officials, travel agents, military families supported by Operation Homefront and the ship’s godmother Deshauna Barber, who was the first member of the US military to be named Miss USA.
“Carnival Vista brings Texas-sized fun to Galveston for guests of all ages and we are thrilled to celebrate the arrival of the port's newest ship and show our appreciation for the local community,” said Duffy. “Carnival is Texas’s number one cruise operator and positioning one of our newest ships, Carnival Vista, in Galveston underscores our commitment to our confidence in growing this key market.”
During the event, Galveston Mayor Pro Tem Craig Brown presented Duffy with a key to the city and proclaimed 23 September as ‘Choose Fun Day’ in recognition of Carnival’s brand campaign. To show its support for the local community, Carnival donated US$10,000 to animal protection organisation Houston SPCA and an additional US$10,000 to the Houston Food Bank.
“After 18 years of cultivating the cruise business in the State of Texas, we are thrilled to welcome Carnival’s largest class ship to her new home,” said Roger Rees, the port’s director. “As one of Carnival’s most successful homeports, the company’s decision to reposition its newest ship is a testament of its confidence in the port’s continued success as one of the nation’s top cruise ports. We look forward to continuing our mutually beneficial partnership.”
Sailing year-round from Galveston alongside Carnival Freedom and Carnival Valor, Carnival Vista will provide two different week-long western Caribbean itineraries. The first will take guests to Montego Bay, Jamaica; Grand Cayman; and Cozumel. The second will include calls in Mahogany Bay (Isla Roatan); Belize; and Cozumel. Together, these three ships operate more than 200 sailings and carry more than 600,000 passengers annually.
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