(5:05 p.m. EST) -- Carnival Cruise Line has confirmed that it will likely use three of its newest ships when it restarts cruise service, a spokesperson for the line told Cruise Critic on Wednesday.
The line confirmed it will base Carnival Horizon in Miami and near-sister-ship Carnival Breeze in Port Canaveral. A Florida-based restart was previously suggested by the line, focusing on both cities as possible restart ports.
For the first time, however, Carnival has suggested that Galveston, Texas would likely be added to restart plans, using sister-vessel Carnival Vista.
"Even before the CDC’s order issued on October 30, we had said our return to operations will be gradual and phased in, beginning with operations from Miami and Port Canaveral," Carnival told Cruise Critic in a statement.
"We continue our analysis of the CDC’s requirements and are moving forward in getting ships back to the U.S., starting with Carnival Horizon and Carnival Breeze, but we would anticipate operations from Galveston to be high on the priority list given our strong presence in that market."
Carnival Breeze, Horizon and Vista are among the newest and most feature-laden vessels in Carnival's fleet of Fun Ships. Launched between 2012 and 2018, they offer significantly more open deck space than many of Carnival's previous vessel classes and numerous balcony and cove (semi-enclosed) balcony staterooms -- features which are likely to be more prized by cruisers during these pandemic times.
They are also a reasonable size for the line to be able to return to service at lower capacity, while still being able to generate revenue. Breeze carries 3,690 passengers, while Horizon and Vista both have room for 3,954 passengers. While Carnival has never publicly said what kind of capacity a ship needs to generate a profit, competitor Royal Caribbean Group has notedthat newer ships can usually sail with about a 30 percent load factor to break even, while an older and smaller ship needs to sail at about half capacity.
Exact return-to-service dates have yet to be announced. Carnival, like all other cruise lines, is still in the process of assessing new regulations recently put forth by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC).
Cruise Critic will update this story with more information when it becomes available.