Governor Terry McAuliffe announced on Monday in his Address to the Joint Assembly that Carnival Cruise Lines will be returning to Virginia in 2015. After ceasing operations in the state 18 months ago, Carnival, the world’s largest cruise ship line, will resume sailing seasonally from Norfolk in the spring and fall of 2015. The activity will not only generate important tourism dollars for the Commonwealth, but will also be a catalyst for job growth in the region.
“I am pleased that Carnival Cruise Lines will be returning to Virginia next year, which will further bolster our strong tourism industry and usher in a new wave of economic growth in Hampton Roads,” said Governor McAuliffe. “Carnival’s transition back to Virginia shows the strength of the region’s assets, from the infrastructure support the Port provides to the nearby passenger amenities, and is a major step forward in encouraging more ship calls and regular homeport service to the Commonwealth.”
Norfolk Mayor Paul D. Fraim commented, “Norfolk is thrilled to welcome the world’s largest cruise line back in 2015. Carnival’s decision confirms that Norfolk serves an important role in the competitive cruise industry. The seasonal voyages will complement our already robust schedule of stop-over cruises.”
“We are very pleased to be returning to Norfolk in 2015 and would like to thank our partners at the port, along with the terrific leadership at both the local and state level, for their continued support,” said Terry Thornton, senior vice president of itinerary planning and revenue development for Carnival Cruise Lines.
According to a 2013 study by the Virginia Tourism Corporation, an estimated 8.1 million adults within a five-hour drive of Norfolk are likely to take a cruise over the next three years, making Norfolk a prime location to bring in more cruise line activity.