Since starting this blog, I have had the good fortune of crossing a few things off my bucket list. Attending a Broadway show, meeting celebrities and even sleeping in Cinderella’s Castle have been once in a lifetime opportunities. But, a few things remain undone including boarding a cruise ship for a family vacation.
Living in New Orleans, home to one of the busiest ports in the United States, cruising is actually quite accessible. But having small children, I thought a family cruise was best left for later years. Earlier this month, I was excited to be invited to board the 2,052 passenger Carnival Elation docked at the Port of New Orleans for a private lunchtime event for the media. We had the opportunity to sample Carnival’s specialty cocktails over a delicious meal and learn about the latest happenings within the company.
Carnival Cruise Lines has been sailing from the Port of New Orleans for nearly 20 years and now carries over 340,000 passengers annually making it New Orleans’ largest cruise operator. Carnival deploys it’s newer and larger ships from the Port of New Orleans and now offers convenient four- and five-day departures while expanding its variety of seven-day itineraries.
This was my first time on a cruise ship, so I wasn’t sure what to expect. Open boarding, I was awestruck by the grandeur of the lobby…this was no ordinary ship. We proceeded to the Lounge and were treated to a plethora of cocktails and appetizers. My favorite? The Cucumber Sunrise and fajita bar!
After the tasting event, Carnival shared what’s next for the brand. I was surprised to learn about the amenities that make the cruise line so family friendly! The Carnival Elation hosts a large pool and water slide area attached to a cute mini golf course. But Carnival Cruise Lines is most excited about it’s new Fun Ship 2.0 program! The Carnival Destiny will undergo an extensive $155 million renovation to implement the Fun Ship 2.0 concept. After a 49-day dry dock, the ship will be renamed the Carnival Sunshine and docked at the Port of New Orleans.
One of the features I am most excited about is the addition of Hasbro, The Game Show which will feature activities based on the Family Game Night TV series. Carnival has also partnered with EA SPORTS to design the ultimate hangout for sports fanatics! Between playing video games and watching live sports events, guests can order from a full drink menu and popular sports bar snacks. And for those guests who crave a good cocktail, the new themed bars and lounges will provide unique experiences and world class cocktails from expert mixologists. We had the opportunity to meet the mixologist from Carnival’s Alchemy Bar who created the delicious Cucumber Sunrise! The Alchemy Bar is a vintage-themed cocktail “pharmacy,” where guests will have a unique experience with interesting drink flavors and ingredients. The expert mixologists will “prescribe” concoctions from different fun categories or guests can also try their hand at creating their own custom cocktails.
I had an absolute blast hanging out with Renee from What Mommies Need and Trisha from NOLA Mommy. With the new improvements, I absolutely cannot wait to take my family on a fun filled cruise one day soon. I am thinking that the Carnival Sunshine may be the ship that completes my bucket list! To keep up with the happenings of Carnival Cruise Lines, follow them on Twitter and Facebook.