Is Jacksonville Getting a New Cruise Ship? It looks that way.

norwegian pearl jacksonville

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Is Jacksonville getting another cruise ship? It looks that way.

jacksonville florida NCL website
(Screenshot from NCL.com)

Norwegian Cruise Line has recently added a new landing page on their website for the port of Jacksonville, Florida.

This follows an article published in the Jacksonville Daily Record where the CEO of JAXPORT was quoted as being in talks with a cruise line. The article revealed that a cruise line is eagerly seeking board approval to sail from Jacksonville.

What do we know so far?

NCL has Jacksonville as a port for future sailings with no ship specified as “Coming Soon!”

The CEO of JAXPORT, Eric Green, mentioned that a new cruise line could soon begin operating in the Jacksonville area. This cruise line will have a larger ship capacity than the current Carnival Cruise Line’s ship, the Carnival Elation.

He mentioned that it’s important to note that this is not just a larger Carnival ship, but an entirely new cruise line offering service out of northeast Florida. Carnival is not leaving Jacksonville.

We attempted to contact Norwegian Cruise Line but have not received a response yet.

norwegian pearl jacksonville
A Norwegian ship going under the Dames Point Bridge in Jacksonville, Florida.

The Jacksonville Cruise Terminal, operated by JAXPORT, opened to cruise passengers in 2003 with Celebrity Cruises’ former Celebrity Zenith. The following year, Carnival Miracle was christened in Jacksonville, which kicked off non-stop year-round cruise service on the First Coast for the line.

Carnival has been sailing from Jacksonville since 2004 and has operated over half a dozen ships, including Carnival Miracle, Jubilee, Celebration, Carnival Fascination, Carnival Ecstasy, Carnival Spirit, and Carnival Elation.

History of cruise ships in Jacksonville (JAXPORT)

Cruise ShipYears sailed
Celebrity Zenith2003-2005
Carnival Miracle 2004
Jubilee 2004
Celebration 2004-2008
Carnival Fascination2008-2016
Carnival Elation2016-2019
Carnival Ecstasy2019-2020
Carnival Spirit 2022
Carnival Elation (resumed)2022-current

Due to height restrictions with the Dames Point Bridge, the ship would need an air draft of less than 180 feet.

Simply put, a ship’s funnel cannot exceed the bridge clearance. Due to these restrictions, Carnival has opted to sail its smaller ships from Jacksonville over the past 20 years. For comparison, Norwegian Cruise Line’s older ships are 12 decks tall.

Other cruise lines that call to Jacksonville seasonally are American Cruise Lines, and Regent Seven Seas Cruises (owned by Norwegian’s parent company).

This story is developing and will be updated.

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