Carnival Splendor to Sail from the Big Apple in 2013

Industry giant Carnival is expanding in New York, even as it cuts back on the West Coast.

The line today announced it would reposition the 3,006-passenger Carnival Splendor to the Big Apple from the Los Angeles area in March 2013, boosting its capacity in the city significantly.

The Splendor will sail year-round out of New York, taking the place of the smaller, 2,124-passenger Carnival Miracle, which is scheduled to begin sailing year-round out of the city in April of this year. The Carnival Miracle, in turn, will head to the West Coast to offer cruises to Mexico, Hawaii and Alaska.

Carnival says the Carnival Splendor will sail the same eight-night itineraries to the Caribbean as the Carnival Miracle is scheduled to sail. The swapping of the two ships will result in a 41% increase in capacity in the New York market, the line says.

On its way to New York, the Carnival Splendor will sail a series of three 13- to 18-day South America voyages as it repositions from Long Beach. The ship is too large to reach New York via the Panama Canal.

The Carnival Splendor's first sailing out of New York will take place March 23, 2013. The ship will operate three different eight-day itineraries that include such ports as Port Canaveral, Fla.; Nassau and Freeport, The Bahamas; San Juan, Puerto Rico; St. Thomas, U.S.V.I.; and Grand Turk.

The ship also will operate a single seven-day Bermuda sailing departing April 16, 2013.

The departure of the Carnival Splendor from Long Beach marks the end of the era for Southern California-based cruising as it was the last ship sailing year-round, seven-night itineraries out of the region. Cruise lines have cut back significantly on cruises from Southern California ports in recent years as demand has waned, in large part due to growing violence in nearby Mexico. Cruises to Mexico had long been the mainstay of Southern California ports.

While the Carnival Miracle is replacing the Carnival Splendor on the West Coast, it will not remain in the Los Angeles area year-round. Instead, it will spend part of the year sailing to Alaska out of Seattle.

A spokesperson for Carnival notes the line still will offer seven-night cruises out of the Los Angeles area seasonally. In addition, the line still has a second ship, the Carnival Inspiration, operating year-round three- and four-day cruises from Long Beach.