The cruise industry’s first newborn is berthed today when Carnival Pride arrives at Port Canaveral. The 85,000-ton ship, which will be the largest to homeport there, will sail year-round, 7-day Eastern and Western Caribbean itineraries.
Today’s christening festivities begin at 2 p.m. The ship’s godmother -- Tamara Jernigan, an astronaut -- will handle official “naming” duties. After a series of showcase cruises for travel agents and the like, the ship begins her regular voyages in mid-January.
The itineraries are interesting for a couple of reasons. Pride’s Western Caribbean is quite port-intensive and while including some of the usual suspects -- Cozumel and Key West -- also calls in at Belize City, Belize, and Progresso, Mexico, two rather off-the-beaten-port stops. The eastern Caribbean route is a “greatest hits” itinerary with stops at the big-two: St. Maarten and St. Thomas -- plus one unusual call. Beginning in April, Carnival, which at one time was just about the only cruise line to hold-off on buying a private island in the Caribbean, saying it wanted to focus on ports and the Fun Ship experience, will stop in at Half Moon Cay. Sound familiar? Carnival didn’t buy one, it’s just borrowing. Half Moon Cay has been Holland America’s private island for years.