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Cruise History

Jacksonville Cruise Facts

  • More than 2 million passengers have sailed from Jacksonville and the JAXPORT Cruise Terminal.
  • More than 183,000 cruise passengers sailed from the JAXPORT cruise terminal in 2015.
  • The Carnival Elation sails from JAXPORT with an average 120 percent occupancy.
  • Cruise passengers travel to Jacksonville by car and air from all 50 states.
  • The cruise industry has created an estimated 460 new jobs and more than $67 million in new annual economic impact for Northeast Florida.
  • 95 percent of passengers surveyed said they would choose Jacksonville for their next cruise departure.

Jacksonville’s homeported ships

  • Celebrity Zenith: Oct. 2003 - April 2004 & Oct. 2004 – April 2005
  • Carnival Miracle: Feb. 2004 – April 2004
  • Carnival Jubilee: May 2004 – Aug. 2004
  • Carnival Celebration: Oct. 2004 – April 2008
  • Carnival Fascination: Sept. 2008 – April 2016
  • Carnival Elation: April 2016 – Present

Here’s a look back at Jacksonville’s cruising history (Photos):

2003 - Cruise lines begin service in Jacksonville

Celebrity Cruises and Carnival Cruise Lines both announced plans to begin regular service from Jacksonville - the city's first regular cruise service. JAXPORT built a temporary cruise terminal in only six months. Celebrity kicked off their Jacksonville service with an 11-night cruise to the Caribbean on October 27, 2003 aboard the 1,375-passenger Zenith.

2004 - Port and cruise officials christen Carnival Miracle in Jacksonville

Carnival Cruise Lines inaugurated service from Jacksonville on Feb. 27, 2004 with service aboard its newest vessel, the 2,124 passenger Carnival Miracle. The ship was built in Finland and sailed straight to Jacksonville for its maiden passenger voyage. The ship's Godmother, former U.S. Army Private Jessica Lynch, christened the ship during a naming ceremony at the JAXPORT Cruise Terminal only hours before it sailed for a three-day cruise to the Bahamas. The occasion marked the first time a brand-new cruise ship had been introduced at the nation's newest cruise homeport.

2004 - JAXPORT begins year-round cruise service

Jacksonville began offering year-round cruise service in October 2004 with the 1,486-passenger Carnival Celebration.

2005 - JAXPORT plays an integral role in Super Bowl XXXIX

As the Official Port of the Jacksonville Super Bowl XXXIX Host Committee, JAXPORT provided docking and logistical coordination for four of the five cruise ships serving as floating hotels during Feb. 2 - 7, 2005. Collectively, those vessels provided more than 3,500 rooms and numerous restaurants, night clubs and other amenities to NFL guests.

2008 - JAXPORT increases passenger capacity with Carnival Fascination

On Sept. 20, 2008, the 2,052-passenger Carnival Fascination replaced the1,486-passenger Carnival Celebration, significantly increasing the capacity for Jacksonville’s cruise operations. The ship offered a new five-day itinerary featuring daylong calls to award-winning Half Moon Cay, a private Bahamian island, and Nassau, The Bahamas, along with five-day cruises to Key West and Nassau and four-day voyages to Freeport and Nassau.

2010 - Carnival Fascination undergoes Fun Ship upgrades

The Carnival Fascination received a $34 million dry dock renovation that included the addition of an expansive new water park, exclusive adults-only retreat, redesigned main pool area and 98 balconies to existing staterooms.

2011 - JAXPORT receives 1 millionth cruise passenger

An Arkansas eighth grader becomes the one millionth passenger to arrive for a cruise through JAXPORT’s cruise terminal. Emily Wilt and her family received VIP treatment throughout their 5-day trip aboard the Carnival Fascination.

2013 - Jacksonville celebrates 10 years of cruise service

On Oct. 28, 2013, Jacksonville celebrated 10 years of cruise service, which launched with the Celebrity Zenith. Nearly 1.5 million passengers have sailed from the JAXPORT cruise terminal during the ten years of regular cruise service.

2014 - JAXPORT celebrates 10 years of Carnival cruise service

On Feb. 27, 2014, JAXPORT celebrated the 10 year anniversary of its partnership with Carnival Cruise Line. During the 10 years of Carnival service, four Carnival ships have been homeported in Jacksonville: the Miracle, the Jubilee, the Celebration, and the Fascination. 

2016 - JAXPORT welcomes the Carnival Elation during National Tourism Week

On May 2, 2016, JAXPORT welcomed the Carnival Elation to Jacksonville. The 2,054 passenger Carnival Elation is a newer ship that replaced the Carnival Fascination, which is now home-ported in San Juan, Puerto Rico. The Elation offers four-day cruises to Freeport and Nassau in the Bahamas and five-day voyages to Nassau and the private Bahamian island of Half Moon Cay.

2016 - Jacksonville's 2 millionth cruise passenger sets sail

On July 7, 2016, Carina Alejandro became the two millionth passenger to sail from the JAXPORT Cruise Terminal. JAXPORT officials along with Carnival Elation Captain Gaetano Gigliotti were on hand to present Alejandro with gifts and a commemorative plaque. Alejandro, her young son and fiancé received VIP treatment on their 4-day cruise to the Bahamas, the first cruise for the family from North Carolina.