LONG BEACH - In a move that will make Long Beach the busiest cruise port on the West Coast in passenger capacity, Carnival Cruise Lines has announced it will bring a third ship to Long Beach in 2014.
The 2,052-passenger Carnival Imagination will start offering three- and four-day cruises to Ensenada, Mexico, and Catalina Island when it arrives from Miami on Jan. 26, 2014, the company announced this week.
The newly renovated, more energy-friendly ship features an aqua park, a tropical-themed resort-style main pool area, renovated spa and children's facilities.
"Carnival's West Coast cruises are exceptionally convenient and popular, particularly for guests from California and other areas within easy driving range of Long Beach," Gerry Cahill, president and CEO of Carnival Cruise Lines, said in a statement. "These fun, high-quality vacation getaways offer an exceptional value compared to land-based options, including Las Vegas."
Paired with the Carnival Inspiration and Carnival Splendor, the trio of ships will ferry about 550,000 guests annually from Long Beach. It will make approximately 224 calls annually, city and cruise officials said.
"We believe the addition of the Carnival Imagination will continue to elevate and build brand recognition of Long Beach as a prime destination in Southern California," said Steve Goodling, president and CEO of the Long Beach Convention & Visitors Bureau.
The addition also could potentially generate an economic impact of $65 million for the Southland and make Long Beach the nation's fourth busiest cruise terminal in terms of passenger capacity, city officials said.
"I'm delighted to hear of Carnival's plans to add another ship to be based out of Long Beach," Mayor Bob Foster said in a statement. "Not only will the ship and its passengers have a significant local economic impact, but also there are environmental benefits as Carnival moves forward with cold ironing their ships while docked in Long Beach."
By Karen Robes, Press Telegram