Deshauna Barber returns
Taking part in festivities were Carnival president Christine Duffy and the ship's godmother, Deshauna Barber, the first member of the US military to be named Miss USA, before Carnival Vista left on its first voyage from Galveston Sunday afternoon.
Carnival Vista is part of the line’s newest and largest class of ships, with features like the SkyRide aerial bike ride, an IMAX theater, brewery, two dining venues developed by Food Network star Guy Fieri, an expansive water park and Family Harbor accommodations with larger staterooms and a lounge area. The ship has been sailing from Miami for the past two years.
Carnival Vista will offer two different weeklong western Caribbean itineraries from Galveston. One has calls at Montego Bay, Grand Cayman and Cozumel, while the other features visits to Mahogany Bay (Roatán), Belize and Cozumel.
More than 600,000 Fun Ship cruisers a year
Carnival Vista joins Carnival Freedom and Carnival Valor with year-round departures from Galveston. Together, these three ships will operate more than 200 sailings annually, carrying more than 600,000 passengers.
'Carnival is Texas’s number one cruise operator and positioning one of our newest ships, Carnival Vista, in Galveston underscores our commitment to our confidence in growing this key market,' Duffy said.
'Choose Fun Day' is proclaimed
The homecoming event was attended by local officials, travel agents and military families supported by Operation Homefront. Galveston Mayor Pro Tem Craig Brown presented Duffy with a key to the city and proclaimed Sept. 23 'Choose Fun Day' in recognition of Carnival’s brand campaign. In support of the local community, Carnival made a $10,000 donation to Houston SPCA and an additional $10,000 to the Houston Food Bank.
'After 18 years of cultivating the cruise business in the State of Texas, we are thrilled to welcome Carnival’s largest class ship to her new home,' said Rodger Rees, CEO/port director, Port of Galveston.
Earlier this month, the Carnival AirShip, a 128-foot red, white and blue blimp emblazoned with #ChooseFun, flew over Houston as part of the line's Homeport Advantage campaign to raise awareness about ships moving to new homeports.