I had the pleasure of attending one of Carnival Cruise Line’s luncheon and ship inspection gatherings held for Travel Professional’s a couple of weeks ago in Norfolk, Virgina. Here are a few highlights:
Saturday, May 16, 2015: Carnival Splendor cruise ship, just recently docked, awaited our arrival as she was being prepped to return to sea at 5pm on a short, 2-night “Cruise to Nowhere”. Our Carnival Cruise Line sales team had a set agenda and itinerary for us to follow with an anticipated start at 11am with cabin inspections, followed by lunch at 1pm and conclude by 3:30pm. Well as things happen in life, the schedule got blown off track early on during our embarkation as something went awry with the returning cruiser guests’ debarkation process. We could not get on the ship until everyone from the prior sailing got off the ship and that didn’t happen until about 12:30pm, which is unusually very late.
The goal was for us to inspect cabins before the guests occupying those cabins arrived for check-in. I was able to set foot in a Grand Suite with its full bathroom amenities and extended balcony-(very, very nice), and an Ocean Suite as well as a Balcony stateroom. I missed out on viewing the Premium Wrap around Balcony Stateroom and the Spa Suite as the guests had arrived and were already in their cabins when we got to the door. We felt a little rushed at this point, not able to take good pictures as there were too many travel agents roaming in and out throughout each cabin as we were all trying to hurry to the next one before the guests arrived to lock us out. 😦 I was a little disappointed about that but, oh well. Like I said earlier, things happen.
Lunch was great and the Travel Professionals group had about 45 minutes after lunch to explore the rest of the ship on our own before the 3:30pm deadline to exit the ship. I decided a few weeks earlier that my family (Hubby & 2 teens) and I would try the 2-night “Cruise to Nowhere” since we were in Norfolk for the Carnival lunch/inspection so I didn’t feel slighted by the time crunch. I knew I would be meeting up with my family when the lunch was over and staying onboard to explore the rest of the ship over the weekend.
The drive from my corner of Central North Carolina to the Half Moone Cruise Port and Celebration Center in Norfolk, VA took approximately 3.5 hrs. My adult daughter came from the Charlotte area early-early that morning to take the drive with us in another car with her BFF. We are in the midst of her Destination Cruise Wedding plans for next year so they came along to see if the Norfolk cruise port is a doable option and it is. Both vehicles left together at about 5:45am to arrive in downtown Norfolk at about 10am. This includes a 30 minute breakfast stop when we reached the Portsmouth area right outside of town.
Here is what we can look forward to for sailing from the Half Moone Cruise Port in Norfolk for the remainder of 2015 and 2016 cruising season from Carnival Cruises: **UPDATE as of June 12, 2015**
Carnival Splendor Cruise Ship: 2015
May 16, 2015: 2-Day Cruise to Nowhere May 11, 2015: 5-Day Bahamas Cruise May 18, 2015: 5-Day Bahamas Cruise
- October 12, 2015: 5-Day Bahamas Cruise – (sailing from NYC on 10/11/15)
- October 17, 2015: 6-Day Bahamas Cruise
- October 23, 2015: 7-Day BERMUDA Cruise – (heads to Miami for a 7-day Caribbean sailing on Nov 1st.)
Carnival Sunshine Cruise Ship: 2016
- June 10, 2016:
2-Day Cruise to NowhereItinerary changed to: 5:Day Bahamas:-> On 6/11/2015 Carnival announced the cancellation of all 2-day sailings as well as the following 6/12/16 sailing. Read “Say Farewell to Cruises-to-Nowhere” here: (Sunshine will sail from Charleston S.C. on 6/9/16 after completing a 10-Day Eastern Caribbean “Carnival Journeys” special itinerary cruise. June 12, 2016Due to the 2-day cruise cancellation/itinerary change, the Sunshine will now sail on June 15, 2016: 5-Day Bahamas Cruise – (heads to NYC for a 5-day Canada/New England 6/20/16 itinerary)
- October 23, 2016: 5-Day BERMUDA Cruise – (sailing from NYC on 10/22/16)
- October 28, 2016:
2-Day Cruise to NowhereNEW:-> 8-Day Eastern Caribbean – Find out more about why these itineraries have been cancelled: “Say Farewell to Cruises-To-Nowhere” October 30, 2016: 6-Day Bahamas Cruise– (heads back to Charleston for a Bahamas sailing on 11/6/16)
We were provided with information from our Norfolk travel partners at “Visit Norfolk Today” of new Park and Cruise Packages now being offered from Quality Suites & Sleep Inn Lake Wright Hotels. Airport shuttle service as well as Cruise port transportation services are also available at the Quality Suites/Sleep Inn properties located at 6280 Northampton Blvd. in Norfolk.
My take away from this short trip to experience sailing from Norfolk was a definite “Green-Light” for GO DO! These special sailings scheduled by Carnival from Norfolk is a great way for new cruisers on the mid-east coast to get a taste of a Carnival “Fun-Ship” cruise life. The hassle of traveling way down to Florida, way up to New York or way across the country to the west coast does not have to be factored into these easy-breezy short cruise getaways from Norfolk!
Side note: Carnival’s “Self-Assist” disembarkation process is the way to go if you want off the ship early-early on the morning of your return. If you are not schlepping everything & the kitchen sink on your cruise and can carry your own luggage off, “Self-Assist is the option for you. Also, loved the disembarkation by deck call. This made for the smoothest transition off the ship that I have ever experience before with Carnival or Princess cruises.
#Plan2Travel and #Cruise from Norfolk, VA on Carnival Cruise Line’s Splendor ship in October 2015 and/or Carnival Sunshine ship in 2016! Tina, TLC Travels’ Tours & Cruises! 😉