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Carnival sails first cruise from Norfolk in more than two years

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Carnival Magic crew welcome passengers, with the first, Melody Harris, cutting the ribbon to begin embarkation. At right, Norfolk's Stephen Kirkland
Carnival Magic’s sailing from Norfolk on Sunday marked Carnival Cruise Line's return to passenger operations from the Virginia port for the first time since 2019.

'This is the largest cruise ship to embark passengers in our history and marks the return of our long-time partners at Carnival,' said Stephen Kirkland, executive director of Nauticus, which operates the Half Moone Cruise Center.

New gangway

To commemorate the day, Carnival held a 'Back to Fun' event that included a ribbon-cutting. This cleared the way for passengers to embark the terminal’s new gangway, built to accommodate larger ships.

'Norfolk is a key seasonal homeport for us and we are excited to have Carnival Magic based in Norfolk for our guests to enjoy and to support the local economy,' Carnival President Christine Duffy said. She thanked Norfolk for its ongoing commitment to Carnival and the enhancements it made to the Half Moone Cruise Center to accommodate Carnival Magic.

20-year partnership with Norfolk

Carnival has a 20-year partnership with Norfolk and the Nauticus maritime science center, which manages the city’s cruise ship program. Now, with increased capacity, more passengers will be able to sail from Norfolk this summer and fall.

Carnival Magic introduced many signature elements now found across the Carnival fleet, including the Caribbean-themed RedFrog Pub, the Cucina del Capitano family-style Italian restaurant and SkyCourse, a suspended ropes course.

Bahamas, Bermuda, Caribbean cruises

This first cruise of the season is a six-day sailing to the Bahamas, with stops at Nassau, Half Moon Cay and Freeport. Eleven Carnival voyages with various itineraries are set to depart from Norfolk this summer and fall, visiting destinations in Bermuda, the Bahamas, Puerto Rico, Turks and Caicos and the US Virgin Islands.

Carnival became the first major cruise line to return its full fleet — 23 ships — to service as of May 2. With the restart of its seasonal operations in Norfolk as well as sailings from New York City beginning in mid-June, all the line's 14 US homeports will be active.

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