The QUEEN MARY is going to have a lot more company this year as Carnival Cruise Lines expands their prescence in the Port of Long Beach, California. Five days each week, one of three different ships in Carnival’s fleet will occupy the berth at the stern of the iconic liner.
Beginning on January 26th, the 2,052 passenger CARNIVAL IMAGINATION (ex IMAGINATION) joined its sistership CARNIVAL INSPIRATION (ex INSPIRATION) in offering three and four day cruises from Long Beach. Four day voyages now depart every Sunday and Monday with three day cruises leaving Thursdays and Fridays aboard the two nearly identical ships. The IMAGINATION was built in 1995 as the fifth member of the eight-ship “Fantasy Class,” with the INSPIRATION completed the following year. Both ships are 855 feet long and 103 feet wide, measuring 70,367 gross tons. The three day cruises visit the port of Ensenada in Northern Baja California, while the four day trips add the quaint town of Avalon located on Santa Catalina Island, just 23 miles distance from Long Beach.
In addition, the CARNIVAL MIRACLE offers seven day cruises to Mexico departing Saturdays throughout the spring 2014 season, resuming in the autumn after a summer break in Alaskan waters. A 16-night positioning voyage takes the ship from Long Beach via Hawaii to Vancouver in April, reversing course in September. A few additional 15-night roundtrip Hawaii cruises will be interspersed with the Mexican Riviera itinerary during the winter months. The CARNIVAL MIRACLE, was completed in 2004 as the fourth and final ship in Carnival’s “Spirit Class” and carries 2,124 passengers based on double-occupancy. The ship is 88,500 gross tons with dimensions of 963 feet in length and a beam of 106 feet.
Combined, the three ships will carry 550,000 passengers annually from Southern California.
Shawn J. Dake, freelance travel writer and regular contributor to MaritimeMatters, worked in tourism and cruise industry for over 35 years. A native of Southern California, his first job was as a tour guide aboard the Queen Mary. A frequent lecturer on ship-related topics he has appeared on TV programs. Owner of Oceans Away Cruises & Travel agency, he served as President of the local Chapter of Steamship Historical Society of America. With a love of the sea, he is a veteran of 115 cruises.