Carnival Cruise Line is returning to Charleston after a 22-month hiatus.
As the first cruise ship to sail from South Carolina since the pandemic started, the Carnival Sunshine is resuming service from the homeport today.
Sailing from Charleston, the 2,964-guest vessel is kicking off a program of four- to ten-night cruises to the Bahamas and the Caribbean.
The first voyage includes a visit to Nassau, in the Bahamas, in addition to two days at sea for its four-night journey
The Sunshine is also visiting other destinations in the Bahamas during its year-round, including Bimini, Half Moon Cay and Princess Cays.
During the Caribbean itineraries, the vessel is set to call in other ports too, such as Turks and Caicos, Puerto Rico, Antigua, St. Maarten and St. Kitts.
The Carnival Sunshine entered service in 1996, as the Carnival Destiny. The largest cruise ship in the world at the time, the vessel holds another distinction – it is the first cruise ship to exceed 100,000 tons.
In 2013, the Destiny was subject to one of the industry’s biggest refits to date. The $155 million makeover included the complete rebuild of all public areas, in addition to the introduction of new partial decks, other features and more capacity.
After 49 days in a drydock in Italy, the vessel emerged as the Carnival Sunshine, showcasing all the latest Carnival Cruise Line dining, bar and entertainment features, as well as a variety of innovations unique to the vessel.
Among the new highlights is a new racing-themed water park featuring one of Carnival’s longest water slides, the tropical-themed Havana Bar, a full-service Asian restaurant, a two-deck Serenity adults-only solarium, and more.
With the Sunshine back in action, 19 Carnival vessels have successfully returned to service since July – when the cruise line first resumed service after the pandemic.
Continuing its restart plan, Carnival is welcoming back more ships over the next few weeks, returning to additional ports such as Jacksonville and Mobile.