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Newer, bigger ‘Carnival Spirit’ coming to Jacksonville for March re-start

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Carnival Cruise Lines plans to restart in March just in time for spring break.

“We haven’t sailed since March of 2020, so this is really gonna be great,” travel expert Scott Lara with The Cruise Genius said. “It’s big news for Jacksonville.”

A spokesperson for Carnival tells Action News Jax the restart comes with some ship-shuffling. Carnival Ecstasy, which usually sails out of Duval County, will instead set sail from Mobile, Alabama Mar. 5.

Lara says Australia is still struggling with COVID-19; that’s why Carnival is sending Spirit to Jacksonville where it can do cruises. “It’s bigger, it’s newer, recently refurbished, great for kids and for families,” he said.

According to Carnival, Spirit is roughly 18,000 tons bigger and can hold 68 more guests.

Lara says Jacksonville has deserved a larger ship for far too long. “As of now, we don’t know how long the Carnival Spirit will be here, but I can guarantee you, if it sails full all the time, Carnival will leave it here because they’re looking to restore cruising from Jacksonville,” he said.

Lara suggests people buy travel insurance. He says it’s more important now than ever before because of all the uncertainty that COVID-19 has been causing.