Carnival Cruise Line’s new ship has arrived in Long Beach. Built at the Fincantieri’s Marghera shipyard in Italy, the 4,008-passenger Panorama was welcomed to its new home port with a christening and ribbon cutting ceremony on December 10. From Carnival’s cruise terminal in Long Beach, the ship will take passengers on week-long voyages to the Mexican Riviera of Puerto Vallarta, Mazatlán and Cabo San Lucas every Saturday.
The Panorama is the cruise line’s first new ship on the West Coast in 20 years, and was brought in to replace Carnival Cruise’s Splendor, which could host up to 3,012 passengers. With the new ship, the company is increasing its capacity on trips departing from Long Beach by 33%.
“Bookings have remained constant over the years as we sail at capacity regardless of ship or cruise duration,” Fred Stein, Carnival Cruise Line’s vice president of revenue planning and deployment, told the Business Journal in December 2018. According to Stein, Carnival expects to carry 650,000 passengers a year from Long Beach going forward, “the most of any cruise operator on the West Coast.”
Carnival began taking reservations for trips on the 133,500-ton ship in March 2018. Passengers will board the company’s newest ship inside the Long Beach Cruise Terminal, a geodesic dome adjacent to Queen Mary Island that once housed Howard Hughes’ Spruce Goose seaplane. The Panorama will depart for its first full-length voyage on December 14, following a one-time, three-day trip to Catalina Island and Ensenada.
Considered a “Vista-class ship,” the Panorama is the third ship in that category, which is comprised of the largest ships ever constructed for the Miami-based cruise line, according to a press release. “Carnival Panorama is the perfect name to reflect the design inspiration of our Vista-class ships providing more venues and opportunities to connect with the sea,” Carnival President Christine Duffy said.
The ship will be supervised by three Carnival veterans: Captain Carlo Queirolo of Rapallo, Italy; Chief Engineer Nunzio Priolo, a fellow Italian from Catania, Sicily; and Hotel Director Damir Mrsic of Zadar, Croatia. The three will lead a team of 1,450 crew members.
That’s the manpower required to maintain and operate a vessel with the plethora of dining and entertainment options offered on the Panorama, from a Cuban-themed bar to the first ever Sky Zone trampoline park at sea. The ship also features two restaurants by celebrity chef and TV-personality Guy Fieri, Burger Joint and Smokehouse Brewhouse. “One of the things we are most proud of is the delicious food we offer across our fleet,” Duffy noted.
The ship’s christening ceremony was hosted by its godmother, Wheel of Fortune’s Vanna White. “I’m incredibly flattered and honored to be the godmother of this ship,” White said, before revealing the ship’s name letter by letter, Wheel-of-Fortune-style, and shattering a champagne bottle on the bow of the ship. “Naming Carnival Panorama was truly a special moment, and one I will never forget,” she added. “I look forward to sailing on her in the future.”
The festivities included a return of the Carnival AirShip, a 128-foot-long blimp emblazoned with the line’s “Choose Fun” tag line and concluded with a fireworks display.