March 22, 2013

Carnival ship plans 8 visits to Portland this year

Cancellations of cruises on other ships taken out of service are not likely to affect the Carnival Glory.

By Dennis Hoey dhoey@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

PORTLAND – Carnival Cruise Lines' cruise ship Carnival Glory will still call on Portland this season, after the Miami-based company announced this week that it will take two other cruise ships out of service for overhauls.

click image to enlarge

Carnival Glory

John Ewing / Staff Photographer

Carnival's decision means the company will be forced to cancel 12 cruises in the Mediterranean and the Gulf of Mexico.

But the company's decision to overhaul ships and cancel cruises should not affect Carnival Glory, the 2,974-passenger ship that has regularly made Portland one of its stops on its New England-to-Canada cruises.

Vance Gulliksen, a spokesman for Carnival, said Thursday that Carnival Glory remains on track to visit Portland.

"There have been no schedule or itinerary changes announced for the Carnival Glory," Gulliksen said in an email.

Carnival has had its share of problems recently.

Carnival Triumph, which operates Mexico cruises from Galveston, Texas, was disabled by a fire last month in the Gulf of Mexico that stranded 4,200 passengers for five days. The ship had to be towed to port.

According to the city of Portland, which published its 2013 berthing schedule last week, Carnival Glory will visit Portland eight times and could potentially bring more than 23,000 visitors to Portland this year. Carnival Glory is scheduled to make its first visit to Portland on June 10 and its last visit on Oct. 8.

Carnival Glory has 13 guest decks, 10 penthouse suites, 22 bars and lounges, a 214-foot-long water slide, a nine-hole miniature golf course, a basketball court and a jogging track.

The cruise ship season in Portland officially begins June 1 with the arrival of the 98-passenger Independence.

City spokeswoman Nicole Clegg said cruise ship visits have proven to have a positive impact on the local economy.

A 2008 study by two University of Maine economists, which was funded by the city, found that a typical cruise ship passenger spends $80 to $110 a day in the Portland area.

The researchers said the cruise ship industry generates between $5.8 million and $8 million in local sales.

The study said cruise ship visitors tend to be older, well educated and affluent, with many of them residents of states west of the Mississippi River.

Clegg is estimating that more than 77,000 cruise ship passengers will visit Portland this year.

"There are a high number of first-time visitors on these ships," Clegg said. "And what we know is Portland makes a good first impression."

She said many of those visitors will return to Portland and to Maine, a trend that benefits the local and state economy.

Earlier this week, Carnival issued a press release announcing it was going to take Carnival Triumph out of service until June 3 to give the company time to increase the level of operating systems that can run on emergency power and to improve the ship's fire prevention and suppression systems.

The company says it will cancel 10 planned cruises on Triumph and offer guests full refunds as well as reimbursement for nonrefundable transportation costs and a 25 percent discount on future voyages.

Carnival Sunshine, which cruises the Mediterranean, is undergoing a comprehensive makeover that will force the cancellation of two European cruises. It will return to service on May 5.

"We sincerely regret canceling these cruises and disrupting out guests' vacation plans," Carnival Cruise Lines' President and Chief Executive Officer Gerry Cahill said in a statement. "We are fully committed to applying the recommendations stemming from our fleetwide review and to make whatever investments are needed despite the difficult decision to impact people's vacations."

 

Staff Writer Dennis Hoey can be contacted at 791-6365 or at:

dhoey@pressherald.com

 

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