Carnival Cruise line is kicking off a new year-round cruise program from the Port of Charleston on Saturday, May 18 when Carnival Sunshine moves to the port. Carnival Sunshine replaces Carnival Ecstasy which is being repositioned to Jacksonville.
On its new Charleston-based route, Carnival Sunshine will operate a diverse schedule that includes four- and five-day sailings to the Bahamas, six- and seven-day voyages to Bermuda and the Caribbean, and the first-ever Cuba cruises from Charleston with a series of five-day sailings calling at Havana.
There are also longer 10- and 11-day Carnival Journeys sailings that visit spectacular Caribbean islands and offer special onboard programming including local cuisine and entertainment and fun activities like a retro Throwback Sea Day.
Carnival Sunshine is the newest year-round ship ever homeported in Charleston offering a wide range of onboard features and facilities. These include food and beverage options such as Ji Ji Asian Kitchen, Cucina del Capitano family-style Italian restaurant, Fahrenheit 555 steakhouse, the Caribbean-inspired RedFrog Pub and the cocktail pharmacy-themed Alchemy Bar.
Outdoor spaces are just as impressive with a stunning three-level Serenity adults-only retreat with its own pool, a suspended ropes course that is part of the expansive SportSquare outdoor recreation area, and WaterWorks aqua park highlighted by dual Speedway Splash racing slides. Carnival Sunrise also offers a huge array of accommodation choices with nearly 500 balcony staterooms and more than 50 suites.
Charleston is an important part of Carnival’s ship deployment strategy in which the line positions ships near large U.S. population bases along the East and West Coasts and the Gulf of Mexico. Carnival sails from 20 different North American homeports providing a convenient and cost-effective means for its guests to get to and from their cruise. It’s estimated that roughly half of the U.S. population is within a day’s drive of a Carnival homeport.
Carnival launched Charleston’s first year-round cruise program in 2010 and the departures attract guests from across the Southeast and other regions. Carnival and other cruise operators generate $131 million in direct expenditures and account for nearly 2,400 jobs and $93 million in wages toward the South Carolina economy.
With Carnival Sunshine repositioning to Charleston, Carnival Ecstasy shifts to year-round departures from Jacksonville, operating four- to seven-day cruises to the Bahamas and Caribbean. In turn, Carnival Elation, previously based in Jacksonville, repositions to Port Canaveral to operate a new four- and five-day Caribbean/Bahamas schedule from the Space Coast.