The much-anticipated Carnival Venezia has set sail on her inaugural itinerary from Barcelona to New York, the very first sailing of the new, reimagined ship that brings a unique Venetian vibe to Carnival Cruise Line.
The 15-night cruise will visit multiple ports of call en route to New York, and will remain homeported from the Big Apple through early December 2024.
Carnival Venezia Welcomes Guests for the First Time
Costa Venezia was first announced to be joining the Carnival Cruise Line fleet in June 2022 as part of the “Costa by Carnival” initiative, and now, nearly a year later, the renovated and updated ship has finally set sail with a whole new Italian spin on Fun Ship cruises.
The inaugural sailing left Barcelona, Spain on Monday, May 29, 2023, and will call on Malaga, Gibraltar, Lisbon, Ponta Delgada, and Halifax before arriving in New York on Tuesday, June 13.
Along for the first part of the sailing are special guests in the cruise line’s leadership, Christine Duffy, president of Carnival Cruise Line, as well as Emeril Lagasse, the cruise line’s Chief Culinary Officer, to give guests very special greetings and fun activities to begin the momentous voyage.
“We wanted to welcome the ship with ‘BAM’ by having Emeril join me on board as we interact with guests and show off this beautiful ship,” said Duffy.
The VIP pair will host exclusive events on the vessel, including the very first Sail Away Party, the Captain’s Venetian Toast, and a private cooking demonstration by Lagasse on Tuesday, May 30. Reservations for the cooking demo will go to Carnival’s longtime charity partner, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.
Amazing Upgrades to Experience
Before welcoming guests, Carnival Venezia has undergone an extensive wet and dry dock refit to update, refresh, and renovate the vessel. Not only did this include general maintenance and housekeeping work, as is common with all dry dock updates, but more intensive updating was done to add familiar Carnival style to the ship.
The former Costa Cruises ship arrived in Cadiz, Spain for the refit near the end of March, and has spent two months undergoing extensive updating.
Changes to the Vista-class ship include the addition of popular Carnival favorites Guy’s Burger Joint, the Fahrenheit 555 steakhouse, and Bonsai Sushi & Teppanyaki to the dining venue lineup, as well as introducing Camp Ocean and Club O2 for younger cruisers.
The ship has not lost its characteristic Italian flair, however, with special touches throughout to maintain the unique Venetian ambiance onboard.
Not only does the ship retain amazing Italian décor including a full-size gondola, but extra attention has been paid to the Italian influence in unique ways, such as adding bocce ball and foosball to the SportSquare and creating a “Venetian Mask Night” party for guests to enjoy, with custom-designed Venetian-style masks available for purchase onboard.
Of special interest for the dining venues is the new “Il Viaggio” restaurant, a specialty dining option featuring elevated Italian fare evoking a culinary journey through Italy.
“Highlighting the various Italian regions renowned for certain specialties will invite our guests to enjoy an immersive exploration of flavors – a meal that’s truly unique, delicious and offers an enriching experience as well,” said Lagasse. “Guests will find their favorite Italian staples here, and they’ll also have the chance to try authentic dishes and drinks that might just become new favorites.”
The most visible update to the new ship is, of course, the new blue-and-gold hull livery. The colors reflect the ship’s Costa Cruises origins, while the graceful lines match the new red-white-and-blue design being introduced across the Carnival Cruise Line fleet.
Once she reaches New York, Carnival Venezia will begin to offer a variety of itineraries and cruise lengths, ranging from 4-15 nights and including popular destinations such as Bermuda, The Bahamas, Canada, New England, and various Caribbean ports of call on both Southern Caribbean and Eastern Caribbean itineraries.
In December 2024, the new ship will reposition to Port Canaveral to bring Italian style to the Sunshine State, with Eastern, Western, and Southern Caribbean sailings available, as well as select dates for Panama Canal cruises.
Carnival Firenze Still to Come
The next Costa by Carnival ship due to join the fleet is Carnival Firenze, which at the moment is still sailing as Costa Firenze with Costa Cruises. The ship is currently sailing Northern European cruises, departing either from Kiel, Germany or Copenhagen, Denmark.
In January 2024, Costa Firenze is scheduled to end her service with Costa Cruises. Shortly thereafter, the ship will enter wet/dry dock for her own refurbishments to become Carnival Firenze, before deploying to Long Beach, California and sailing Baja and Mexican Riviera itineraries with her new Fun Ship vibes.