First Major Cruise Ship to Sail from JAXPORT in Nearly Two Years Kicks Off 50th Birthday Sailabration Cruise

Continuing its successful restart, Carnival Cruise Line resumed guest operations today from Jacksonville, Fla. with Carnival Spirit.

Carnival Spirit guests will enjoy a five-day Bahamas cruise with stops in Nassau and Princess Cays as part of the first major cruise line departure from Jacksonville in nearly two years. Carnival Spirit’s cruise today is also part of the line’s Sailabration festivities, which celebrate Carnival’s 50th Birthday.

To commemorate the special day, Carnival Cruise Line Vice President of Guest Operations Sarah Beth Reno and JAXPORT Board Chair Wendy Hamilton hosted a “Back to Fun” and 50th Birthday event at the JAXPORT cruise terminal, cutting a ceremonial ribbon and officially welcoming the first guests on board.

“After nearly two years, the wait is over, and the sight of our guests boarding a Carnival ship at JAXPORT once again is certainly a welcome one,” said Sarah Beth Reno, vice president of guest operations at Carnival Cruise Line. “We’re proud to be the first major cruise line to return to Jacksonville and to contribute to the Jacksonville area economy.”

“Carnival brings passengers from all over the nation to Northeast Florida to enjoy our world-class beaches, shopping, history and attractions,” said JAXPORT Board Chair Wendy Hamilton. “As a drive-to cruise market with nearly 100 million residents within a day’s drive, Jacksonville offers convenient cruise access for passengers throughout the Southeast US and beyond. I want to thank all of the passengers joining us today for allowing JAXPORT to be a part of your family’s vacation memories.”

Carnival Cruise Line and Jacksonville have enjoyed a partnership since 2004 when Carnival began offering itineraries from JAXPORT to the Bahamas and eventually, the Eastern Caribbean. In 2019, before the cruise industry pause, Carnival welcomed approximately 150,000 guests on more than 70 cruises departing from Jacksonville.

Carnival Spirit sailings from Jacksonville include four- and five-day Bahamas itineraries. Carnival announced last month in a series of operational shifts that Carnival Spirit replaced Carnival Ecstasy in Jacksonville for cruises until April 23, 2022, at which point Carnival Elation will move to Jacksonville and sail through 2024. Carnival Elation sailings from Jacksonville will include four- and five-day Bahamas itineraries, and seven-day cruises to the Eastern Caribbean.

As part of Carnival’s year-long 50th birthday celebrations, 17 commemorative birthday Sailabrations cruises are sailing through March 10, 2022. They feature at-sea ship meetups, special entertainment and programming. In addition to the Sailabration cruise from Jacksonville, other Sailabrations cruises have departed from Baltimore, Long Beach, Calif., Galveston, Texas; Miami; New Orleans; Mobile, Ala.; Port Canaveral, Fla.; and Tampa, Fla.

With the restart in Jacksonville today, Carnival will have all its year-round homeports opened, and then its entire fleet will be back in service by this summer, completing an impressive and successful restart of its guest operations and setting the pace for the rest of the U.S. cruise industry. Carnival started its operations with one ship from PortMiami in 1972 and has since grown into the world's most popular cruise line with a total of 23 ships carrying more than six million guests annually and employing more than 40,000 team members from 120 nationalities.

For additional information on Carnival Cruise Line and to book a cruise vacation, call 1-800-CARNIVAL, visit, or contact your favorite travel advisor or online travel site.