Carnival Cruise Lines next new ship, Carnival Splendor, which will be unveiled in May 2008, is to be based in the UK.
The 2,800-passenger ship is expected to offer some cruises from either Harwich or Southampton to northern Europe. Although the majority of passengers will come from the US the deployment represents a major opportunity for the UK market.
No details of Splendor’s itineraries were announced, but vice-president international sales and marketing Jeffrey Weinstock said to expect a significant announcement within two weeks.
Last weekend Carnival welcomed its latest 2,974-passenger superliner Carnival Freedom into its fleet at a naming ceremony in Venice where the ship was built.
And in a move that will further boost the European cruise market, the ship will join Carnival Liberty in the Mediterranean, sailing the company’s first cruises to Greece and Turkey, itineraries expected to appeal particularly to Brits.
Weinstock said Carnival’s increasing capacity in Europe builds on the cruiseline’s popularity in the core Caribbean market.
“The fact we are putting our newest ship in the same place as Liberty indicates the success of the programme. The rising popularity of Greece and Turkey has created demand in the UK market,” he said.
With 19 cruises in Europe, including seven in Greece and Turkey, Freedom is projected to carry 62,000 guests in 2007, double the number who sailed on Liberty last year.
The Carnival programme out of the UK will build on what the operator believes is a growing reputation in the UK, which started when Dame Judi Dench became Carnival Legend’s godmother at its naming ceremony in Harwich in 2002.
Vice-president of sales Maurice Zarmati said: “We are thrilled with the reception Carnival has had in the UK, it has been almost overwhelming.”
- View images from the March 2007 launch of superliner Carnival Freedom in Venice