Ship sail

Carnival cruise ship largest to home port of Norfolk, guest operations resume

Norfolk, Virginia welcomes the first cruise ship in more than two years this weekend. Carnival Magic has the honor of launching the cruise season from the city, the first since the global pause in operations in March 2020. The ship is also the largest to ever call home in Norfolk.

The Carnival cruise ship sails from the Half Moone Cruise Center for a six-day trip to the Bahamas. Customers are welcomed into the terminal with a Carnival ‘Back To Fun’ event, hosted by Carnival Cruise Director Simon London.

Carnival adds another US homeport

The American cruise line, Carnival Cruise Line, is adding another home port to the company’s list of departure cities. Norfolk, Virginia will host Carnival Magic from May 15 to June 15, 2022.

Carnival Magic of Norfolk (Courtesy of Carnival Cruise Line)

“Norfolk is a key seasonal home base for us and we are delighted to have Carnival Magic based in Norfolk for our customers to enjoy and support the local economy,” said Christine Duffy, president of Carnival Cruise Line.

I want to thank the City of Norfolk for their continued commitment to Carnival and the improvements they have made to the beautiful Half Moone Cruise Center, so we can bring the greatest Carnival Magic here for our restart.

Sailing from the Half Moone Cruise and Celebration Center on Waterside Drive, the 3,690 guests Carnival Magic sails on a 6-day cruise to Nassau, Half Moon Cay, and Freeport, Bahamas. Carnival Magicat 128,048 gross tons, is the largest cruise ship to ever sail from Norfolk.

“We are ready to welcome our partners back to Carnival and roll out the red carpet for these passengers,” mentioned Nauticus Executive Director Stephen E. Kirkland. “This particular ship is just huge, and the downtown skyline will look dramatically different when it arrives.”

Carnival Magic New livery
Courtesy of Carnival Cruise Line

This is the first of a series of eleven cruises scheduled to depart from Norfolk. Besides trips to the Bahamas, Carnival Magic will make a trip to The Dockyard (Sandy’s Parish) in Bermuda.

Between June 20 and October 1, the Carnival cruise ship will depart from New York and return from Norfolk from October 1 for five additional voyages.

These cruises include sailings to the Bahamas, Bermuda and a nine-night cruise to the Caribbean, with stops in San Juan, Puerto Rico; Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas; and Grand Turk, Turks and Caicos Islands.

Long-term agreement for Norfolk

Carnival Cruise Line has entered into a long-term agreement with Norfolk, Virginia. In February 2020, just before the pandemic caused a global operational pause, the company signed a deal with Norfolk which would see ships calling at the port regularly. The agreement was signed for a period of 5 years, two of which have already passed.

As one of Carnival’s fourteen U.S. homeports, Norfolk plays an important role in its nearby ship deployment strategy.

Half Moon Cruise Center
Half Moone Cruise Centre, Norfolk (Photo credit: Kyle J Little/Shutterstock)

Most of the line’s ships are homeported near major population centers on the east and west coasts and in the Gulf of Mexico. This allows customers to drive their car to the newest port and board a cruise ship instead of dealing with airports and airlines.

Carnival Magic The first season in Norfolk is a direct result of the 2020 deal. In return for the revenue Carnival’s ships generate for the city, the local government said it would make investments in infrastructure around the port to match from $3.93 to $4.72 million.

After a drydock which saw the ship fitted with the new Carnival Cruise Line livery, Carnival Magic resumed service on August 7, 2020 from Port Canaveral. Carnival Magic was the sixth ship of the fleet to restart operations.

Norfolk Carnival magic