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Carnival-Norfolk pact includes terminal upgrade, city’s largest cruise ship

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Mayor Kenneth Alexander, center left, and Carnival's Terry Thornton, announced the new deployment at Half Moone Cruise Center
Carnival Cruise Line signed a five-year agreement with the city of Norfolk to operate seasonal cruises from the Half Moone Cruise Center through 2025.

The announcement was made at a news conference by Norfolk Mayor Kenneth Alexander, who was joined by Carnival’s Terry Thornton, SVP nautical and port operations.

New boarding bridge and city's largest cruise ship

As part of the agreement, Norfolk has agreed to make investments in the Half Moone Cruise Center to accommodate larger vessels. These include a new boarding bridge that will streamline the embarkation and debarkation process, among a host of other improvements.

Alexander and Thornton also announced the 130,000gt Carnival Magic will become the largest cruise ship to ever sail from Norfolk when it launches a dozen sailings from the port in 2021 that will carry nearly 50,000 passengers.

Norfolk has been a valued partner for nearly 20 years, Carnival President Christine Duffy noted. ‘Our cruises from Norfolk have been very well received by our guests, and this new agreement speaks volumes about our confidence in growing this market,’ she said.

Four- to eight-day cruises

Carnival Magic’s 2021 schedule from Norfolk offers varied options, from short getaways to the Bahamas and Bermuda to longer voyages to the Caribbean.

Included are six-day cruises to Freeport, Nassau and Half Moon Cay on May 16 and June 5, and five-day cruises to Freeport and Nassau on May 22 and 31, June 11 and Oct. 4 and 30

A four-day long weekend sailing to Bermuda on May 27 returns on Memorial Day. Other Bermuda sailings are Sept. 29 (five days) and Oct. 17 (six days).

A weeklong cruise on Oct. 23 will call at Grand Turk, Half Moon Cay and Nassau.

Cadiz drydock

Before its Norfolk schedule in 2021, Carnival Magic will offer a series of sailings in the Mediterranean and undergo a two-week drydock at Cadiz, Spain.

The 2011-built Carnival Magic introduced many of the line’s signature elements now featured across the fleet, including the Caribbean-themed RedFrog Pub, the Cucina del Capitano family-style Italian restaurant and SkyCourse, a suspended ropes course 150 feet above the sea.

The ship also offers hundreds of balcony staterooms and suites, a children’s programs for three age groups, the Cloud 9 Spa, the Ocean Plaza indoor/outdoor dining and entertainment promenade, a Serenity adults-only retreat and a WaterWorks park with two massive slides, a tipping bucket and a kiddie splash zone.