The Carnival Venezia steamed into Hell’s Kitchen yesterday to mark Carnival’s arrival as the second company to use the Manhattan Cruise Terminal as a year-round destination — and departure point.
The Carnival Venezia arrived at Pier 88 in the early hours of Tuesday morning, June 13, sporting her new blue-and-gold livery. It marked the end of her first cruise, a transatlantic voyage that departed on May 29 from Barcelona, Spain. During the 15-day voyage, the ship made calls to Malaga, Spain; Gibraltar; Lisbon, Portugal; Ponta Delgada, Azores and Halifax, Canada.
For its inaugural season sailing from New York City, the Italian-style ship will embark on a series of 22 itineraries starting tomorrow, June 15. The summer schedule includes four-, five- six- and eight-day sailings to the Caribbean, Bermuda and ports in Canada and New England, including Halifax and Saint John. Other lines which use the Manhattan Cruise Terminal on W48th Street include Celebrity, MCS, Disney Cruises, Seabourn and Oceania.
Carnival joins Norwegian Cruise Line in a permanent year-round schedule from the Manhattan Cruise Terminal on Piers 88 and 90. The move reflects growing cruise traffic to Manhattan Cruise Terminal, partly because of a post-Covid boom and partly continuing pre-pandemic expansion in the piers’ use.
The Vista-class cruise ship weighs 135,500 gross tons and can host more than 5,000 passengers. It was launched in 2019 as the Costa Venezia, sailing the Mediterranean for Carnival’s sister company Costa Cruises. Its transfer to the other side of the Atlantic takes the place of the smaller Carnival Magic, which used to sail from New York through summer and fall.
Comedian and television host Jay Leno will officiate the naming ceremony as “godfather” this evening, Wednesday, June 14. “I am truly honored to be named the godfather of Carnival Venezia. It was an offer I couldn’t refuse,” said Leno. “Carnival’s focus on FUN combined with the Italian theming of this ship is something that is truly unique. I’m also excited to have my very own cruise ship, although I think I’ll need a bigger garage!”
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The cruise industry came through a troubled time during the pandemic, with mass cancelations and more than one false start. In September 2021, Virgin Voyages’ Scarlet Lady became the first cruise ship to visit Manhattan post-COVID – docking for several days as a ‘party boat’ and creating a level of pollution that alarmed locals. “These cruise ships docking at Piers 88 and 90 spew out diesel emissions equivalent to 34,000 idling tractor-trailers PER DAY. It is one of the greatest contributors to the area’s greenhouse gas emissions and we can’t condone it any longer,” said Hell’s Kitchen activist Leslie Boghosian Murphy in an Op-Ed for W42ST.
The first departure from Manhattan Cruise Terminal resulted in six passengers testing positive for COVID-19 upon arrival to the Bahamas and 22 electing to quarantine. And in January 2022, the Crystal Symphony cruise ship left New York for Miami, only to take a detour to the Bahamas to avoid arrest on unpaid fuel charges.
The Carnival Magic hit its own rough waters back in June 2022 , when — returning from an eight-day cruise to the Dominican Republic, Turks and Caicos, and a private island in the Bahamas — two passengers got into an altercation on the ship’s dance floor. Soon, as many as 60 passengers were involved in the incident, leading cruise officials to summon a Coast Guard ship from Staten Island to escort the liner back to the Hell’s Kitchen pier. Upon its arrival at just before 6am, the NYPD and EMS were waiting.
Meanwhile, onboard the Carnival Venezia, you can find Guy Fieri’s Guy’s Burger Joint, the steakhouse Fahrenheit 555, Bonsai Sushi & Teppanyaki and the Chef’s Table, along with Lido Marketplace, Seafood Shack and Pizzeria del Capitano, Piano Bar 88 and Heroes Tribute Lounge. There’s even a genuine gondola in the main dining room to extend the Venetian charm as you sail the high seas in style.