Carnival Sets Sail From Charleston as South Carolina's First Cruise Line

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Carnival Fantasy; Carnival Cruises

Ship ahoy, South Carolina! Carnival Cruises is dropping anchor in the port city of Charleston, the first cruise liner to permanently station a ship in the Palmetto State.

Carnival Fantasy, a 2,056 passenger vessel and one of Carnival's oldest ships, will begin regular Caribbean departures from the port city known for its colonial charm and southern hospitality. Starting Tuesday, the cruise ship will make its maiden voyage from Charleston on a five-night cruise to the Bahamas. Carnival will round out the year with 67 cruises from its new port.

Other cruise lines like Crystal Cruises and Celebrity Cruises often stop in Charleston on voyages down the East Coast, but Carnival is the first major cruise line to use the city as a home port. A recent study by the States Ports Authority estimates that the cruise industry will bring $37 million to the South Carolina economy this year, a well-needed boon for a state that's suffered greatly during this economic recession with an unemployment rate of over 12 percent. The ports authority also plans on investing in a new cruise terminal on the Charleston waterfront to handle the increase in demand.

Charleston isn't the only new port city welcoming Carnival Cruises into its harbor. Last week, Carnival Spirit set sail from Seattle, Washington for the first time ever on the first of several seven-day Alaskan voyages that will run through August 2010.
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