Carnival Cruise Line announced an 18-day trek from Long Beach to Tokyo, a rare transpacific crossing that will reposition the company’s vessel for dry-dock maintenance.
The Carnival Panorama is slated to depart Long Beach on Aug. 22, 2024, with stops in several Alaskan ports, including Ketchikan, Cruise Endicott Arm Fjord, Sitka, and Icy Strait Point, before traversing the Pacific Ocean to the East Asian island country. The ship will then make stops in Kushiro and Aomori before passengers disembark in Tokyo.
Interior cabins start at $1,979 per person, according to the company.
Most cruises end where they began, but that is not the case for repositioning sailings. With the ship set to be dry-docked, passengers must make other travel arrangements to return to Long Beach or other final destinations.
After spending weeks in dry-dock, the Panorama is scheduled for a 25-day journey from Singapore back to Long Beach, with stops in Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam; Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia; Manila, Philippines; Guam; Honolulu and Maui. Tickets for the one-way return trip start at $1,359.
“These are not the first Transpacific routes for us, but they are truly unique itineraries,” spokesperson Matt Lupoli said in an email Tuesday.
In a phone interview Monday, Lupoli noted that the company has routes from California and Washington to Australia, but “it’s the first time we’re going from Long Beach to that part of the world,” he said.
Ship maintenance is part of the itinerary scheduling across the Carnival fleet, which is planned years in advance, according to Lupoli. Rather than wasting a trip across the Pacific, the company opted to offer a “truly unique” cruise, he said.
Carnival declined to comment on why one of its newest ships is slated for maintenance. One possible reason is that Carnival’s entire fleets’ hulls are being updated with a new red, white and blue livery, or paint scheme.
Coming online in December 2019 with an almost all-white hull, the Panorama was the last ship delivered to the company before the fresh design was unveiled a month later with the new Carnival Mardi Gras.
Another reason for the impending dry-dock could be that the ship already has developed a history of mechanical troubles. In August 2021, days after returning to service after 17 cruiseless months due to the pandemic, the Panorama experienced an issue that reduced the ship’s maximum speed and forced an itinerary change.
Several months later in December, the ship experienced a similar issue, which resulted in another itinerary change during a seven-day voyage to the Mexican Riviera, according to a cruisehive.com report.
The world’s largest cruise line in the world, Carnival has operated out of Long Beach for two decades after moving across the bay from San Pedro in 2003. The company currently operates three ships out of the city: the Panorama, the Radiance and the Miracle.
Between the three ships, Carnival offers three-, four-, five-, six- and seven-day cruises to a variety of locations, including Ensenada, the Mexican Riviera, Alaska and Hawaii.
The company is set to add a fourth ship to the Long Beach fleet in spring of next year with the Costa Firenze. The ship is part of a new concept called Carnival Fun Italian Style—a partnership with Italy-based Costa Cruises.
Last year, nearly 572,000 travelers embarked and disembarked in Long Beach aboard a Carnival ship, according to city spokesperson Jennifer De Prez. This year, the company expects between 650,000 and 700,000 vacationers, Lupoli said.
The city of Long Beach, meanwhile, collects $4.30 per Carnival passenger. In 2022, the company paid a total of $2,459,000 in passenger fees, which goes directly toward supporting the Queen Mary and related debt as well as the city-owned dome that serves as the cruise terminal, according to De Prez.
Editor’s note: This story has been updated to correct the name of a partnership between Carnival and Costa Cruises.