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Carnival shifting Magic to Port Canaveral sooner, Breeze to Galveston

Carnival Magic's return to Port Canaveral moved up to April 2016

Carnival Cruise Line this week announced changes to its deployment that will send Carnival Magic to Port Canaveral in April.

The return of a Dream-class cruise ship to the Central Florida port was already in the works but not slated until December 2016.

Also on the move will be Carnival Breeze, which will shift to from PortMiami to take over for the Magic.

"Galveston and Port Canaveral are two important markets for Fun Ship cruising and these deployment changes provide our guests and travel agent partners with exciting new options featuring a variety of on-board innovations and visiting top destinations in the Caribbean, Mexico, Bahamas and Florida," said line President Christine Duffy in a news release.

Port Canaveral hosts three Carnival ships, with Sensation, Sunshine and Valor offering a variety of Bahamas and Caribbean cruises. Next February, Sensation heads to Miami and will be replaced by Carnival Victory. The port was going to be down to two ships for summer 2016 with Sunshine heading to East Coast ports Charleston, S.C.; Norfolk, Va.; and New York but will now keep three ships through summer 2016.

Magic will debut at the port with a single three-night cruise to the Bahamas on April 20 and then sail seven-night eastern and western Caribbean cruises beginning April 23. The western Caribbean trips will feature stops in Cozumel, Belize, Roatan, Honduras and Costa Maya, Mexico. The eastern itineraries will feature stops in St. Thomas, San Juan, Grand Turk and Nassau or Amber Cove in the Dominican Republic.

Carnival Valor, which will go into dry dock in March receiving the line's Fun Ship 2.0 upgrades, will have a variety of cruise duties when it returns to Port Canaveral.

In May, Valor will offer a series of three- to five-night cruises and then switch to year-round five- to eight-night cruises June 4.

The shift of Carnival Breeze to Galveston will leave South Florida without any of the line's newest class of ships as Carnival Dream operates out of New Orleans. PortMiami, though, will get the line's newest ship in November 2016, the Carnival Vista.

Carnival Breeze's current six- to eight-night itineraries will be taken over by Carnival Splendor starting May 1 and running through December 2016.

Carnival Magic, which was built in 2011, will be the second Dream-class ship to sail from Port Canaveral. Carnival Dream debuted in 2009 and sailed out of Port Canaveral until 2014. Magic will take over the title of the largest Carnival ship sailing from the port.

The 3,690-passenger vessel features a large WaterWorks aqua park with a 312-foot-long water slide, funnel-style water slide and 300-gallon tipping bucket of water. The ship also features a ropes course that sister ship Dream did not have and the SportSquare recreation area.

The 3002-passenger Sunshine is the port's current largest ship. When Sunshine returns from the East Coast in fall 2016, the cruise line will be parking 9,676 cabins among its three ships, a 20 percent increase over its current offering.

rtribou@tribpub.com or 407-420-5134

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