By Gerry Barker
Related Story: Peter Knego Interview
MIAMI BEACH_Even though 2022 hasn't hit the halfway point, it's already been a big year for Carnival. The cruise line marked its official 50-year anniversary in March, announced all its ships were back at sea in May, and here at Seatrade Cruise Global, revealed details for the upcoming launch of its newest Excel-class vessel, Celebration.
Addressing the media at a press conference were Carnival President Christine Duffy, along with Glenn Aprile, Carnival's Director of New Build and Product Development.
It's been 10 months since their first Excel-class, LNG-powered ship, Mardi Gras, was launched, and Ms. Duffy said it's gotten rave reviews from guests as well as winning industry awards and accolades. In fact, she noted "that 11,000 of the guests on Mardi Gras have sailed twice in 10 months -- they have to come back to get to everything."
But the real focus was on the next Excel-ship, Celebration, which will home port in Miami and culminate their 50th year in operation. When she debuts later this year at the redesigned Terminal F, many of the features from her sister ship, Mardi Gras, will carry over. But one venue that will be unique to Celebration will be the Golden Jubilee Lounge and Bar.
Besides leaning into their Miami heritage, Aprile described the Golden Jubilee as "a really special bar and lounge, unlike anything we've ever done." It will offer elements from the company's 50-year history, as well point the way toward the future.
Guests will be surrounded by items that showcase the evolution of their fun ship fleet, said Aprile, many taken from the collection of Peter Knego, a maritime historian and travel writer who maintains a collection of items salvaged from cruise ships in his Southern California home.
"it's a dream that took 20 years to happen," said Knego, who was among the media at the conference. "It is absolutely what I envisioned. I'm so happy with the team at Carnival who did such a beautiful job of putting these where other people can enjoy them. I've got goosebumps."
Among the things guests will see in the two-story space:
-- Murals of ship blueprints from famed Carnival maritime designer Joe Farcus.
-- Glass insets on the bar from the doors on the original Mardi Gras.
-- Chairs that are replicas from the Riverboat Lounge on Carnivale, with tabletops from Carnival Fascination.
-- Mirrors with etchings by Farcus of memorable Carnival moments.
Aprile is especially proud of the curved glass wall with 24 windows, rescued by Kengo, and the night club doors from Carnivale, which will serve as one of the entrances to the Golden Jubilee.
Outside the Golden Jubilee, guests will find more history in the promenade, including a porthole gallery displaying history through the decades and a ship "walk of fame" with inset coins representing all the Carnival ships.
Guests will be quick to recognize a classic piece of ship equipment, an engine order telegraph. Dating from 1955, it was deployed on Carnivale in 1976. Another item rescued by Knego, it be on permanent display on Celebration, its reading set on "full speed ahead."
Ms. Duffy's echoed that sentiment: "It's all about moving forward -- so much more to come."
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