(8:00 a.m. EDT) -- Carnival Cruise Lines has announced it will base a second cruise ship -- Carnival Legend -- Down Under from September next year.
Legend will be deployed seasonally from September 24, in Sydney, and will join sister ship Carnival Spirit, which moved there permanently last year.
The 88,500-ton, 2,680-passenger Carnival Legend will like Spirit be “Aussified” during a dry dock next year, a spokeswoman for Carnival confirmed.
The ship was built in 2002 and has 1,062 cabins.
Jennifer Vandekreeke, Director Carnival Cruise Lines Australia and New Zealand, said the move was prompted by "overwhelming demand" from Australian passengers: “The tens of thousands of Aussies who have already travelled on Carnival Spirit tell us they love the quality of our dining, entertainment, activities on offer for families and couples, comfort of our staterooms, and of course the exceptional service provided by our crew -- and we can now offer this to even more guests with the arrival of Carnival Legend.
“As sister to Carnival Spirit, Carnival Legend will offer the same wide spaces, an abundance of stateroom options such as balconies and interconnecting rooms and an unparalleled variety of activities.”
She added: “Carnival Legend will go into dry dock in 2014 where she will receive a range of upgrades to ensure she's perfectly suited for the tastes of the Aussie market. We will be using our valuable learnings from the first year of Carnival Spirit's deployment to decide on the best features and enhancement for Australians.”
Carnival Legend will set sail from Sydney Harbour on her first cruise on 24 September 2014. She will then visit the Pacific Island destinations of New Caledonia, Vanuatu and Fiji on 8-12 day cruises. Carnival Legend will spend the winter months in the Northern Hemisphere before returning again to Australia in the spring of 2015.
Bookings will open next month, and details of upgrades planned for Carnival Legend will be unveiled over the coming months.
Information on Carnival Legend's itineraries will be revealed on 28 May, 2013.
--by Adam Coulter, U.K. Editor