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Wednesday,  June 12, 2024 10:49 AM 

Carnival Firenze christened in Long Beach, Calif. with actor Jonathan Bennett

  • Cruises
  •   04-26-2024  6:28 am
  •   Pax Global Media

Carnival Firenze christened in Long Beach, Calif. with actor Jonathan Bennett
Godfather Jonathan Bennett and Captain Enzo Palomba christen Carnival Firenze. (supplied)
Pax Global Media

Carnival Cruise Line christened its newest ship, Carnival Firenze, at its new home, the Long Beach Cruise Terminal, on Wednesday (April 25).

Hollywood actor Jonathan Bennett served as the ship's godfather, and he and Carnival Cruise Line President Christine Duffy celebrated all things Italian with the help of a Broadway star, a Puccini aria, and even a Catholic priest making a running jump onto the stage to deliver a blessing.

The 5,000-guest Carnival Fun Italian Style ship is sailing year-round from the Port of Long Beach, building on the popularity of Carnival cruises by adding significant capacity and joining two Carnival ships currently sailing year-round -- the 5,100-passenger Carnival Panorama and the nearly 4,000-passenger Carnival Radiance.

A "significant" expansion

Ahead of the summer season, and amid continued growth in cruise vacation popularity, the cruise line shared that Carnival Firenze is part of a significant expansion to the Carnival fleet that added five ships in 18 months.

By next year, Carnival said it will embark more than 750,000 guests from Long Beach on more than 200 sailings, an increase of 100,000 more guests compared to 2019.

“We carry more guests than any other cruise line from California, and now this ship is giving us the opportunity to offer more fun to more people sailing from Long Beach,” said Duffy in a statement. “The recipe combining this ship’s beautiful Italian theming with the familiarity of our friendly team’s hospitality is, in a word, perfecto!" he said.

Bennett was made an honourary Italian during the fun-filled evening, which included a performance of Puccini’s "Nessun Dorma" by Carnival's Playlist Productions cast, an Italian blessing by Father Charbel Grbavac of the Mary Star of the Sea Catholic church in nearby San Pedro, and was capped off by a show-stopping performance by Leslie Kritzer, Bennett's co-star from the recent Broadway revival of "Spamalot."

Carnival Firenze is officially named in Long Beach. (supplied)

New concepts, new experiences

Like sister Carnival Venezia, the ship features new concepts and experiences that put an Italian Style twist on Carnival staples for guests to enjoy.

Carnival Firenze, however, is the first ship in the fleet to usher in new technology and harnesses artificial intelligence that creates guides for optimal, energy-saving routes on each sailing.

The ship’s captain and officers will be the first to utilize this “significant” update to Carnival’s voyage efficiency system, ahead of a fleetwide rollout the cruise line expects to begin later this year.

The cruise line reports that this ship is also the latest Carnival vessel to utilize shore power and joins Carnival Panorama and Carnival Radiance in connecting to the electric grid while docked in Long Beach instead of running its engines.

The 2020-built Carnival Firenze just finished a 49-day dry dock in Cadiz, Spain that integrated Carnival Fun Italian Style features into the ship’s design.

Notable additions to the ship include the specialty restaurant Il Viaggio – Italian for “The Voyage;” it’s aptly named as its menu promises a journey across Italy through the country’s rich and diverse cuisine.

Special programming, like Festa Italiana, a top-deck street party, enhances the Italian theming.

Variety itinerary lengths

According to Carnival, the ship will sail a variety of itinerary lengths, with three- to seven-day Baja Mexico and Mexican Riviera cruises open for sale now through the spring of 2026.

The ship is setting sail on a seven-day cruise to Puerto Vallarta, Mazatlán and Cabo San Lucas on Thursday afternoon.

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