Middle East Cruise News

Carnival Spirit to depart Dubai, ending lay-up to cruise from Florida

Carnival Spirit is ending her lay-up period in Dubai and will soon depart the city bound for the United States, where she has been scheduled to operate a series of Caribbean itineraries out of Florida.

Carnival Spirit will begin cruising from Jacksonville, Florida on March 7, taking over previous itineraries that were planned for the Carnival Sensation, the restart of which has been delayed.

In a letter to guests, Carnival Cruise Line confirmed the reshuffle for three of its ships.

Carnival Spirit will take over Carnival Sensation’s Jacksonville itineraries, while Carnival Ecstasy will move to Mobile, Alabama, in March to take over cruises that were also set to be sailed by Carnival Sensation.

Carnival Spirit in Dubai

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“Our plan is to move the Carnival Ecstasy to Mobile to sail the Carnival Sensation’s itineraries due to a delay in our places to start the Carnival Sensation,” the cruise line said in its letter.

Carnival Spirit had previously been deployed in Australia, but has been in lay-up since March, 2020 when the global cruise industry shut down.

Australia is yet to reopen its cruise industry, and has not signaled when cruises might be allowed to resume from its ports.

Carnival Spirit and Carnival Splendor have both spent the last several months in Dubai waiting out the pause, using Carnival Corporation’s dedicated new cruise terminal in the Dubai Harbour, the city’s second cruise port after Dubai Cruise Terminal.

Carnival Spirit and Splendor have been in lay-up in Dubai since July. (Picture taken prior to Spirit’s dry-dock).

Carnival has said the new cruise port will be its regional hub in the Middle East, where all Carnival Corporation-owned vessels will receive priority berthing.

In November last year, Carnival Spirit became the second Spirit-class cruise ship, and the ninth overall, to be repainted in Carnival Cruise Line’s new livery during her lay-up in Dubai ahead of her scheduled deployment to Australia.

The ship went into dry-dock in Dubai at the nearby Dubai Drydocks shipyard, where she was re-painted in the new red, white and blue livery design, while also having some technical work done.

The upgrade also included minor enhancements and maintenance such as new carpeting, tiling, and other cosmetic changes. The Ol’ Fashioned BBQ venue was also removed.

This was Carnival Spirit’s eighth dry-dock in her 20-year career, but marked the first time a Carnival Cruise Line ship has ever undergone shipyard work in Dubai.

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