(1:25 p.m.) -- Today Carnival Cruise Lines announced plans that will see the line's full return to all 10 U.S. homeports—the most of any cruise line—by March. Additionally, the line shared that come May when Carnival's Alaska season begins, the cruise line will celebrate a full fleet return to service since the beginning of the pandemic.
In the process of the planning the full return, the Fun Ship line has shaken things up a bit with a reshuffling of ship assignments (mostly involving Florida ports), and a new addition to their summer 2022 Seattle-to-Alaska lineup.
One of the bigger switch-ups is that Carnival Freedom's Alaska itineraries will now be operated by Carnival Splendor. The last time we saw Splendor in Alaskan waters was over a decade ago when Mexican hurricanes caused the ship to be rerouted to Vancouver.
As it stands now, Carnival will kick off its summer 2022 Alaska season in May with itineraries on Carnival Splendor, Carnival Spirit and Carnival Miracle. We can't remember the last time the Funderstruck line had three ships in Alaska—and we're taking it as a good sign in terms of the line's confidence in this year's Alaska season.
Further reshuffling will see Carnival Elation swap its homeport of Port Canaveral for Jacksonville from April 23 through October 13. Carnival Freedom, no longer running the aforementioned Alaska itineraries, will now relocate from Miami to Port Canaveral to take over all previously assigned Elation itineraries scheduled between April 21 through October 15.
As the dominos continue to fall, Carnival Spirit will now pick up Carnival Freedom's Miami itineraries, including the April 17 Carnival Journeys sailing from Miami through the Panama Canal and up to Seattle. This new itinerary gets Spirit into the perfect position to start its Alaska season beginning May 10 with an 8-day Alaska return sailing from Seattle. Carnival Spirit's Alaska sailings will run from May through September with itineraries available for booking as of February 14.
At the end of Carnival Spirit's Alaska season, it will then embark on a Journeys cruise back to Miami via the Panama Canal, an itinerary originally assigned to Carnival Freedom.
Carnival has announced they are planning to send Carnival Splendor to Australia with a new Journeys cruise to Sydney once the ship finishes its Alaska season. However, the Australian government has not yet announced when it will officially reopen cruising in Australia.
"We appreciate everyone's patience as we work through this process," Christine Duffy, president of Carnival Cruise Line said in a statement. "We are excited to have every Carnival Cruise Line ship in the fleet sailing again by May and to be back in all 10 of our year-round U.S. homeports. We are also continuing to make plans for a return to guest operations in Australia upon completion of our Alaska season."