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.
"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' 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."
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.
"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 Rees. "As one of Carnival's most successful homeports, their decision to re-position their newest ship is a testament of their 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."
"Choose Fun" is a key component of Carnival's ongoing Homeport Advantage campaign designed to heighten awareness of new ship deployments. A bumper sticker adorned with the "Choose Fun" tag line was unveiled on Carnival Vista's stern during the event.
Added Barber, "As godmother, Carnival Vista remains very near and dear to my heart and I'm proud and honored to be a part of the festivities to bring this spectacular ship to its new homeport of Galveston."
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