The Carnival Sunshine has launched a schedule of four- to 11-day voyages from the Port of Charleston, becoming the newest ship to operate year-round cruises from that port, according to a press release.
“Carnival launched Charleston’s first-year round cruise program nearly a decade ago and we’re delighted to homeport the Carnival Sunshine which offers our guests so many wonderful onboard features and amenities,” said Terry Thornton, senior vice president of nautical and port operations for Carnival Cruise Line. “This weekend’s festivities were a great way to celebrate the arrival of Charleston’s newest year-round cruise ship while supporting a longtime charitable partner that has made such a tremendous impact on the community.”
The inaugural festivities on Saturday, May 18, included a luncheon for travel advisors, local officials and VIPs during which Carnival made a donation to One80 Place, a homeless assistance center supported by the cruise line for many years.
Charleston-based ships have donated hundreds of mattresses, chairs, dishes and other items for use at the facility over the years.
The Carnival Sunshine’s schedule from Charleston 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. Also offered are longer-length 10- and 11-day Carnival Journeys sailings to the Caribbean with day-long calls at tropical islands, opportunities to sample local cuisine and entertainment and activities like a retro Throwback Sea Day.
Commented Jim Newsome, SC Ports Authority president and CEO: “Carnival Cruise Line is a great customer of the Port, and we’re proud to welcome the Sunshine as a reflection of their success in Charleston. Cruise operations are an important part of SCPA’s maritime commerce mission and the diversification of our business segments. We look forward to continuing this productive relationship with Carnival and applaud their commitment to supporting charitable organizations in our community.”
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 was deployed to Jacksonville for year-round four- to seven-day cruises to the Bahamas and Caribbean. In turn, Carnival Elation, previously based in Jacksonville, shifted to Port Canaveral for a new four- and five-day Caribbean/Bahamas schedule from the Space Coast.