Later today, Carnival Cruise Lines and the Port of San Diego will commemorate the launch of the port’s first year-round cruise program with a special VIP event aboard the 2,052-passenger Elation, which departs this afternoon on a four-day cruise to Cabo San Lucas.

Carnival’s Elation recently began operating San Diego’s first and only year-round cruise program encompassing four-day cruises departing Thursdays to Cabo San Lucas and five-day cruises to Cabo San Lucas and Ensenada departing on Mondays and Saturdays, on a rotating schedule.

The Elation will sail on 78 voyages annually from San Diego and joins the 2,124-passenger Carnival Spirit which has operated seasonal eight-day Mexican Riviera voyages from San Diego since 2004. With Elation and Carnival Spirit, Carnival is expected to carry more than 230,000 passengers annually from San Diego – the most of any cruise operator.

“The West Coast represents a growing market for Carnival and the Elation’s one-of-a-kind schedule offers an exciting new alternative to this region, providing consumers with a high quality, affordable short cruise option from a very convenient homeport,” said Bob Dickinson, Carnival president and CEO. “San Diego is a valued business partner and we look forward to working with them in bringing new visitors to this outstanding and dynamic city,” he added.

Commented Sylvia Rios, chair of the board of port commissioners for the Port of San Diego, “The partnership between the Port of San Diego and Carnival Cruise Lines benefits the entire region of San Diego. Having a year-round homeported vessel here offers cruisers more travel opportunities while providing the region with added economic benefits.”

Nearly three football fields in length, the 855-foot-long Elation features 12 lounges and bars, including an elaborate multi-level theater showcasing lavish production revues, along with a 12,000-square-foot spa, jogging track, and three swimming pools – one featuring Carnival’s signature 115-foot-long “Twister Waterslide.”

Dining options include three restaurants – two elegant formal dining rooms and an expansive 700-plus-seat poolside eatery with a 24-hour pizzeria – along with a patisserie and complimentary 24-hour stateroom service. An Internet café, ship-wide Wi-Fi access and cell phone service are also available.

Its family-friendly options include “Camp Carnival” and “Club O2,” offering expansive facilities and supervised activities for children and teens, respectively. A comprehensive golf program providing the opportunity to play top courses in Mexico is featured, as well.

The Elation also houses a wide selection of spacious staterooms and suites, all of which feature the new “Carnival Comfort Bed” sleep system with plush mattresses, luxurious duvets, and high quality linens and pillows.

Carnival Cruise Lines, a unit of Carnival Corporation & plc (NYSE/LSE: CCL; NYSE: CUK), is currently accepting reservations on the Elation’s new year-round cruises from San Diego. For additional information and reservations, contact any travel agent, call 1-800-CARNIVAL or visit