Approximately 250 Charleston-area business and community leaders attended a first call reception and luncheon on the Carnival Fantasy on Tuesday to commemorate the port’s first year-round cruise schedule aboard the 2,056-passenger vessel.

The event included a traditional maritime plaque exchange between Carnival representatives and various port, city and government officials.  In the first three photos, Charleston Mayor Joe Riley, South Carolina State Ports Authority President & CEO Jim Newsome, and U.S. Customs and Border Protection Area Port Director Robert Fencel, respectively, are pictured with Carnival Fantasy Captain Roberto Costi.  Carnival’s Vice President of Sales – Southeast Region Rob Huffman and Director of Sales for the Charleston Convention & Visitors Bureau Suzanne Wallace are pictured in the fourth photo.

The festivities served to kick off the Carnival Fantasy’s new Charleston-based program which began May 18 and encompasses year-round five-, six- and seven-day cruises to The Bahamas and Key West, Fla.  Carnival Fantasy will also operate six six-day Bermuda voyages from Charleston in 2011 – the only program of its kind from the Holy City.

Carnival Fantasy is expected to carry 140,000 passengers annually from Charleston.