Carnival Cruise Line is officially back to sailing from Jacksonville, Florida.
The line’s ship Carnival Spirit arrived into the city last week, and today welcomed her first passengers in nearly two years. The ship’s resumption in Florida also marks the first time it has sailed from the United States in nearly 10 years — previously she had been sailing from Sydney, Australia since fall 2012.
To celebrate, Carnival Cruise Line and JAXPORT held a ribbon-cutting ceremony to kick off embarkation this morning.
The ship is kicking off a series of four and five-night Bahamas voyages, starting with today’s five-night itinerary to Nassau and Carnival Corporation’s private destination on Eleuthera, Princess Cays.
Carnival Spirit‘s Jacksonville program will also include port calls to other Bahamian destinations — Freeport and Bimini.
In April, the vessel will depart on a 16-night repositioning cruise to the west coast. The Panama Canal itinerary will sail from Miami to Seattle, stopping in Jamaica, Mexico, Costa Rica, and Colombia.
After arriving in Seattle, Spirit will kick off a series of six to eight-night Alaska cruises to ports including Juneau, Skagway, Icy Strait Point, Ketchikan, and Victoria.
Before resuming service today, Carnival Spirit underwent a dry dock in Dubai. In addition to undergoing routine maintenance, the ship was repainted with Carnival’s new blue, red, and white livery.
Carnival Spirit entered service in 2001 as the namesake for Carnival Cruise Line’s Spirit-class. The 88,500 gross ton vessel holds 2,124 guests, and 80 percent of the ship’s staterooms include either an oceanview window or private balcony.
Restaurants and bars on Spirit include Seafood Shack, BlueIguana Tequila Bar, Alchemy Bar, Guy’s Burger Joint, Bonsai Sushi, RedFrog Pub, and a steakhouse.
Other features on the ship are the Punchliner Comedy Club, adults-only Serenity Retreat, Spa Carnival, WaterWorks aqua park, Lip Sync Battle: Carnival, and the Cherry on Top sweets shop.
Carnival Spirit is Carnival Cruise Line’s second ship to resume service this month. Carnival Ecstasy restarted sailings on March 5 from Mobile, and Carnival Paradise is scheduled to resume passenger cruises on March 12 from Tampa.