Carnival Venezia has made her first-ever visit to Antigua, an inaugural call that was marked with a traditional plaque exchange and goodwill between port officials and the ship’s master, officers, and crew.

The ship is enjoying a Southern Caribbean itinerary, and joined three other ships from three other cruise lines in port for the momentous occasion.

On her current 12-night sailing, which departed New York on Sunday, February 11, 2024, Carnival Venezia has made her maiden call to the tropical paradise of Antigua.

The visit was also the first port of call on the Southern Caribbean cruise, which is also visiting Dominica, Grenada, St. Lucia, and St. Maarten, before the ship will return to New York on Friday, February 23.

The visit to Antigua was on Thursday, February 15, from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., giving guests aboard Carnival Venezia ample time to enjoy the island’s many amenities and unique features.

More than 4,000 guests were aboard, as were 1,401 international crew members, when the “Carnival Fun, Italian Style” ship first sailed into Deepwater Harbour and docked in downtown St. John’s.

“We are delighted to have Carnival Venezia alongside today,” said Cynthia Jacobs Browne, Officer in Charge at Antigua Cruise Port. “This visit is one of several that we anticipate from Carnival Cruise Line vessels this year, which reflects the growing demand for our destination and for cruise vacations.”

Browne accepted a small statue of the classic Carnival whale tail funnel from Carnival Venezia‘s master, Captain Massimo Pennisi, and offered a plaque in exchange. The traditional ceremony is a time-honored tradition when a cruise ship visits a port of call for the first time.

Captain Massimo Pennisi and Cynthia Jacobs Browne

Mementos given to cruise ships vary from different ports and might include engraved plaques, small statues or artwork depicting the port destination, ceremonial city keys, or other items. These are often showcased onboard in a gallery or display case and can be a fun exhibit for guests to peruse, outlining the history of where a ship has sailed and when she’s first visited different places.

The 135,225-gross ton Carnival Venezia will revisit Antigua again during another 12-night Southern Caribbean cruise that will depart New York on November 24. That will be the last roundtrip sailing for the ship from the Big Apple, before she repositions to Port Canaveral.

In the meantime, Carnival Venezia is offering a mix of Eastern Caribbean, Bermuda, and Bahamas itineraries, as well as one fall foliage cruise to Canada and New England in September.

Once she is sailing from Florida, the ship will offer 7-night Eastern Caribbean and Western Caribbean sailings, as well as select departures for Southern Caribbean destinations and Panama. In May 2025, Carnival Venezia will return to New York.

Antigua is a top Caribbean destination, welcoming 48 ship calls already during February, with more than 83,300 cruise passengers enjoying the port of call. By the end of the month, a total of 78 calls and 141,000 passengers will have enjoyed time in Antigua.

Read Also: Ideal Things to Do in Antigua

Cruise Ships Docked in Antigua (Photo Courtesy: Antigua Cruise Port)

Also visiting the port at the same time as Carnival Venezia were three other cruise ships from three other cruise lines – Royal Caribbean International’s Explorer of the Seas, Celebrity Cruises’ Celebrity Beyond, and Virgin Voyages’ Valiant Lady. In total, the four ships brought 13,350 travelers to the island on the same day.

Valiant Lady only made her inaugural call to Antigua on January 18, making yet another first visit to the amazing destination.

The cruise port is committed to continued development that will further enhance its attraction for cruise travelers. A new pier is planned, which will have the ability to welcome the largest cruise ships in the world, with retail space to offer authentic merchandise, artwork, and dining options showcasing the rich diversity of Antigua and Barbuda.

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