Carnival Panorama Re-Launches SoCal Cruising
The Carnival Panorama, Carnival Cruise Line's big investment in West Coast cruising, has set sail on her first post-shutdown cruise. She is the first cruise ship to depart California with passengers since the cruise shutdown began in March 2020.
Her departure marks a welcome turnaround for Carnival Cruise Line after a challenging year. Carnival Panorama delivered in late 2019 and deployed to Long Beach, making her the first newly-built ship to home port in Southern California in decades. She had just begun her first revenue cruises in early 2020 when the COVID-19 pandemic broke out, and in March 2020 - like all other North American cruise ships - she had to halt operations.
The following month, Carnival used her hotel capacity to carry thousands of Filipino employees back to their home country - an 8,000-mile voyage. It represented just a small part of the company's massive crew-repatriation drive, which was designed to overcome the near-shutdown of international air travel in the early months of the pandemic.
Now, Panorama is back at Long Beach and fulfilling her original mission. After a welcome-back ceremony featuring Carnival President Christine Duffy and the vessel's master, Capt. Luca Lazzarino, Panorama departed Saturday on a seven-day cruise to the Mexican Riviera, including stops in Mazatlan and Cabo San Lucas.
Carnival Panorama is operated in compliance with the CDC vaccinated-sailing standard, and booking is available for fully-vaccinated passengers (with limited exceptions). All passengers have to obtain a COVID-19 test within three days of embarkation, and they must be able to show their vaccination record prior to boarding. Children under 12 are exempt from the vaccination requirement.
The ship's comeback is a welcome development for the City of Long Beach, which is looking forward to the return of cruise tourism revenue.
"We get over 600,000 passengers that come into Queen Mary Island, there at the Carnival Cruise terminal, and they visit our attractions and amenities and they stay in our hotels, so the impacts of not having tourists means we don't necessarily have [as many] jobs," said John Keisler, the city's economic development director, speaking to ABC's L.A. station.