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marella discovery
Marella Discovery will sail 26 seasonal voyages from May 2 through Oct. 24, 2021, with ports ranging from New York to New Orleans PHOTO: Marella Cruises

Canaveral bags Marella Cruises' first US homeporting business

The UK’s Marella Cruises has chosen Port Canaveral for its first homeporting operation stateside. Marella Discovery will sail from Central Florida beginning in May 2021, offering four new itineraries.

Marella’s decision is ‘another endorsement that our ongoing investments in state-of-the-art terminals and commitment to excellence in cruise operations continues to earn the confidence of some of the world’s most successful cruise brands,’ Port CEO Capt. John Murray said.

26 departures

Sales open Nov. 7 for 26 seasonal voyages from May 2 through Oct. 24, 2021. Marella Discovery, which has 1,830 lower berths, will sail from Canaveral’s Cruise Terminal 5.

‘Expanding our program provides an opportunity for cruisers to sample the "American Dream," and we’ve ensured there really is something for everyone, whether that’s a visit to Walt Disney World in Florida, an evening in New York, authentic jazz music in New Orleans or a roller-coaster in Busch Gardens,’ said Chris Hackney, managing director, Marella Cruises.

Overnights in New York and Tampa

Passengers on Marella’s ‘American Dream’ and ‘Big Apple Adventure’ itineraries will get an overnight stop in New York City. The Discovery will also visit Miami and Turks and Caicos on its ‘Sunshine States and Sands’ itinerary. And customers can select seven- or 14-night options with an overnight stay in Tampa on the ship’s ‘Floridian Favorites’ itinerary.

Other ports include Charleston, South Carolina; Freeport and Nassau, Bahamas; Norfolk, Virginia; Key West and Fort Lauderdale, Florida; and New Orleans.

Packaged flights from five regional airports in the UK will be offered.to Orlando Sanford International Airport with transport to Port Canaveral included.

Double-digit transit calls

In other Port Canaveral news, transit calls are spiking during the last months of 2019, with 38 vessels scheduled to call between now and Dec. 31.

Ships from AIDA Cruises, TUI Cruises, Norwegian Cruise Line, Royal Caribbean International, Holland America Line, Saga Cruises and Disney Cruise Line among them, with many on repositioning sailings from Europe to the Caribbean.

Mein Schiff 1 inaugural call

On Oct. 10, TUI Cruises’ Mein Schiff 1 made its inaugural call to the port, carrying more than 2,800 passengers. While on an 11-day, round-trip cruise from New York to the Bahamas, the ship stopped at Cruise Terminal 10. Many passengers took excursions to the nearby Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex, while others rented bicycles and toured the port’s recreational areas.

Mein Schiff 1 is sailing from New York through Nov. 5, and it returned to Canaveral on Oct. 30.

Other ships making recent transit calls were Holland America’s Zaandam (Oct. 15), AIDAluna (Oct. 21), Holland America’s Veendam (Oct. 22), Norwegian Pearl and Norwegian Escape (Oct. 29) and Disney Magic (Oct. 31). Upcoming transit calls include AIDAluna (Nov. 3), Royal Caribbean’s Anthem of the Seas (Nov. 4) and Grandeur of the Seas (Nov. 5), AIDAdiva (Nov. 9) and Norwegian Bliss (Nov. 26).

In total, 86 calls with 284,833 passengers will have made transit visits to Canaveral during fiscal 2019.