This week, the brand new Carnival Celebration arrived in Miami and Carnival officially christened it into service. The ship just finished a 14-day transatlantic sailing where a few thousand guests got to check out Carnival Cruise Line’s newest ship. It then arrived at its new home in Miami for a special six-day Thanksgiving cruise.
Cassidy Gifford christens the Celebration
The Carnival Celebration is named after the M/S Celebration that debuted back in 1987. That ship’s Godmother was famous talk show host Kathy Lee Gifford. In an homage to that, the new Celebration’s Godmother is her daughter, Cassidy Gifford. Both Cassidy and Kathy Lee joined Carnival President Christine Duffy and Captain Vincenzo Alcaras in christening the ship with the traditional breaking of a champagne bottle.
New Terminal F in Port Miami opens
VIPs and travel professionals from across the country gathered at Carnival’s new Terminal F in Port Miami to celebrate. The new terminal was built to be a home for the Celebration for the foreseeable future. Carnival specifically designed this terminal to help speed up the embarkation and boarding process. With over 5,200 guests boarding each sailing, they needed unique technological solutions to make it a hassle-free process. Terminal F is a far cry from the old warehouse-like terminals that guests have experienced in the past. It makes a great start to a cruise vacation.
A look at unique Carnival Celebration venues
Now that the Celebration is sailing, we actually get glimpses of what the ship looks like, not just renders from architects. For the most part, the Carnival Celebration is like its sibling, the Carnival Mardi Gras. As the second ship in the class, though, it had various improvements and tweaks based on learning Carnival received when the Mardi Gras started sailing. The ship also has two new zones, the “French Quarter” on Mardi Gras becomes “The Gateway” and “La Piazza” becomes “820 Biscayne”.
The Gateway is the new zone that’s dedicated to the joy of travel. One of the more unique features in this zone is the new interactive video screens that function as virtual windows in the space. During the day, they can reflect the weather outside, but at night they come to life with vibrant images from around the world.
While the renders looked nice, the real images are just as impressive. Here you see the new Latitudes Bar. Styled after an old-school bar at a train station or airport, the flip board style header updates throughout the day with a familiar “clacking” sound. You can see the virtual windows here reflecting images of the American Flag. It transforms the whole space.
Golden Jubilee Bar
The Golden Jubilee Bar is also located in this zone. The bar is dedicated to Carnival’s 50 years of fun and is full of fun nods and Easter eggs to Carnival’s history. The two-story bar area had a grand feel to it and brings an impressive scope to the venue. Unlike the Brass Magnolia on Mardi Gras, this version of the space is enclosed on one side with original doors from the Mardi Gras. Not only does it add a unique feel, but it also helps isolate the sound, creating a more intimate experience. In addition, blueprints of old Carnival ships adorn the main bar area and bring a fun feel to the space.
Emeril’s Bistro 1397
The Gateway also features Emeril’s Bistro 1397. It’s a similar concept to Emeril’s Bistro 1396 found on Mardi Gras, but the menu has been tweaked to add more global cuisine instead of just creole. It’s still a specialty restaurant where you pay for items a’ la cart. Don’t worry; they still have the beignets that people on Mardi Gras rave about. A nice change to this venue is they swapped out where the kitchen is, so now there’s a lot more seating and actual ocean views at this restaurant.
The other new zone on the Carnival Celebration is the Miami-themed 820 Biscayne. Named after Carnival’s original headquarters in Miami, the space pays homage to old-school Miami. It has a retro feel that’s unique, with lots of neon and art deco touches. You’ll find hot pink flamingos and neon signs throughout the zone. It straddles the line between the over-the-top decor Carnival had in the past (under designer Joe Farcus) and the new, more sleek and modern decor of the new ships. Blending them together creates a fun new experience without being gaudy.
This zone still has the pizza place and deli, but they’re renamed Miami Slice and Deco Deli on the Celebration. For the most part though, they’re very similar to the food venues found on other ships, Pizzeria del Capitano and Carnival Deli. Carnival brand ambassador John Heald keeps mentioning that it’s “Miami-style” pizza, and hopefully, he’s just joking about that.
The area also has the new Bar 820. With both inside and outside seating, this bar has new cocktails to try and is a great place to stop while grabbing a casual bite at either of the two fast-casual options here.
Carnival Celebration looks amazing
Overall, the Carnival Celebration looks like it’s going to be an amazing ship. We’ll give you our first-hand experience when we sail on the Celebration this March.
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