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Longer cruises to fresh ports with extra on-board experiences branded as 'Carnival Journeys'

In its new Carnival Journeys, Carnival Cruise Line is marketing longer sailings to seldom-visited ports with beefed-up on-board programming ranging from an 'Academy of Fun' to 'Throwback Sea Day' that recreates Fun Ship experiences a la 1987.

The nine- to 11-day cruises kick off this fall and feature ports throughout the Caribbean, Central America, Hawaii and Mexico.

Carnival president Christine Duffy said the longer itineraries spring from the desire to give Fun Ship loyalists new choices while also drawing people who may not have cruised before. She added that Carnival Journeys give travel agents a 'tremendous new sales opportunity and a great way to earn enhanced commissions based on the longer cruise duration.'

'It's very, very important for all cruise lines to continue to offer new and innovative itineraries,' Carnival's Terry Thornton, svp itinerary planning, told Seatrade Insider. Thornton's team conceived of the longer options, which have been in development for more than a year, to provide fresh additional port content.

It was decided to package these cruises as Carnival Journeys to make them easily distinguishable for consumers and agents. Dedicated marketing will support the initiative, and the program is highlighted in a drop-down menu on carnival.com.

Unusual routes—some one-of-a-kinds, Thornton noted—include a New Orleans to San Juan cruise that visits Bermuda. 'To my knowledge, there has never been another cruise, on any line, that has gone from New Orleans to Bermuda,' Thornton said. That 11-day itinerary also includes Nassau, St. Maarten and St. Thomas. It sails aboard Carnival Dream on Oct. 4.

Among other destinations for Carnival Journeys are St. Croix and Ixtapa, not offered elsewhere in the Carnival lineup, as well as Mexico's Manzanillo and La Paz, and Tobago, Grenada, Martinique and Bonaire.

Carnival Journeys will run through Nov. 27, 2016, encompassing 28 departures from eight North American homeports including Los Angeles, Galveston, New Orleans, Miami, Port Canaveral, New York, Baltimore and San Juan. Cruises will operate round-trip or one-way between these ports and San Juan. Additional sailings will be announced in the near future.

The on-board programming will be tailored to each itinerary, offering additional experiences related to dining, entertainment and interactions with shipboard personnel.

For example, Carnival will partner with local restaurants and chefs for on-board cooking demonstrations. Passengers will also have an opportunity to dine at the chef’s restaurant ashore, for a fee, and accompany the chef to local markets.

Through the new 'Academy of Fun,' shipboard experts will provide instruction in topics ranging from cooking and arts and crafts to digital photography and social media, even celestial navigation. Other offerings include local entertainment brought on board, question and answer sessions with the captain and other key personnel, and a crew show.

And 'Throwback Sea Day' will turn the clock back to 1987 and recreate a day at sea with retro pool and deck games, old school dining options like Baked Alaska and the gala midnight buffet, a white glove Captain’s Celebration, popular movies from that era, a circa 1987 version of the Carnival Capers shipboard newsletter, and more. 

'It's nostalgia. It's fun,' Thornton said.

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