Carnival Cruise Line is working on a brand-new port in The Bahamas called "Celebration Key." Opening in July 2025, this will be a private destination, meaning that guests onboard other cruise lines won't have the option to visit.
It's not a private island like Half Moon Cay, though. Instead, it'll be on the south side of Grand Bahama Island, the same island where Freeport is located. Regardless, it will be still a private destination exclusively for Carnival passengers.
This is similar to Disney Cruise Line's upcoming Lighthouse Point and Princess Cruises' Princess Cays, both of which are located on the island of Eleuthera. Neither, however, have the entire island to themselves.
“No one does FUN like Carnival, and we are designing Celebration Key, and its five portals, with endless ways for our guests to unlock their own kind of fun in this incredible paradise that also celebrates the beauty of Grand Bahama,” said Christine Duffy, President of Carnival Cruise Line.
“Celebration Key is uniquely positioned to bring an island experience to our diverse range of guests, in a way that lets them choose their slice of 'paradise.'"
Whether you're planning on booking a cruise with Celebration Key on its itinerary or are just curious as to what this new port will have to offer, we have created a breakdown of everything we know thus far. We'll update this article as more information is released.
Read more: Pros and Cons of a Carnival Cruise
The five "portals," or areas, will span across 65 acres
Like how Excel Class ships are divided into "zones," Celebration Key will be divided into portals, each of which will have a distinct vibe.
The first is the Welcome Portal. Guests will pass through this portal en route to the other areas. Passengers will be greeted by "a much-larger-than-life sandcastle."
While Carnival is known for supplying fun to the entire family, adults will appreciate the Adult-Friendly Portal, where adults traveling alone can go to escape rowdy children. Of course, true to Carnival's brand, this area will have an energetic vibe with a swim-up bar, DJ, cabana rentals, and even a full-service restaurant that'll dish up a variety of cuisines.
Read more: 17 Carnival Cruises Tips & Tricks (2024)
Those seeking a more elevated experience should check out the Adults-Only Private Club Portal. While not included, admission will feature access to a private beach, infinity pool, elevated dining, and more. If you've ever been to, or heard of, Royal Caribbean's Coco Beach Club, this appears to be Carnival's equivalent! Prices are unknown at this point.
Of course, Carnival does put families first, and they'll be able to have tons of fun together at the Family-Friendly Portal. Here, you will find a lagoon and beach, a splash pad with shallow pool, and a sports court. This is also the home of the giant sandcastle that will feature two exciting water slides.
In short, there's something for everyone to enjoy, from the youngest sailors onboard to the teens who think family vacations are lame. Even better? You can surprise the family with a beach villa or floating cabanas with personal water slides for the day! Again, pricing isn't known at this point. You can, however, take into consideration that beach villas at Half Moon Cay currently start at $799.99.
The fifth and final portal is the Retail Portal, which will showcase Bahamian culture and, of course, have plenty of shopping! From Junkanoo performances to local art exhibitions, artisanal goods made by Bahamian vendors, jewelry, food options, and more, you won't want to bypass a visit to this area!
Read more: Guide to cruise line private islands
Celebration Key will be able to handle four Excel Class ships per day
Currently, three Excel Class ships are part of Carnival's fleet: Mardi Gras, Carnival Celebration, and Carnival Jubilee. Recently, however, Carnival announced that they placed an order for a fourth. If, for whatever reason, all four Excel Class ships find themselves at Celebration Key at the same time, there won't be a space issue, as Carnival plans to have four berths, all capable of handling Excel Class ships.
This means that the private destination can handle a maximum of over 20,000 passengers! It can do so thanks to all of the piers, something that's lacking from Carnival's Half Moon Cay.
While not as large as Royal Caribbean's Icon Class, Excel Class vessels are the largest in Carnival's fleet. They measure roughly 180,800 to 183,521 gross registered tons, with Jubilee being slightly larger than Mardi Gras.
At the time of writing, Carnival has released over 500 itineraries on 18 cruise ships from nine ports through April 2026 that have a scheduled stop at Celebration Key. The cheapest starts at $204 per person for a 3- or 4-night cruise onboard Carnival Conquest.
Ships across every class — including Fantasy Class' Carnival Paradise to the new Carnival Celebration — will visit. Itineraries range from 3- to 14-nights. You're sure to find the perfect sailing that fits your timeframe and budget!
Carnival has yet to announce if drink packages will work ashore
(Miami Vice at Carnival's Half Moon Cay)
As packages don't work at Half Moon Cay, it's unlikely that they will change their policy for Celebration Key. Even if you have a drink package, you have to purchase each drink you have while on the private island.
The price of a CHEERS! Package is determined by the length of sailing, as well as when you purchased it. For 3-, 4-, and 5-night cruises, the price is $74.95 per person, per day, while the price for a package on sailings that are 6+ nights is $64.95.
If purchased in advance, you can save 10%, which brings the cost to $59.95 for sailings that are 6+ nights and $69.95 for those that are 5 nights or fewer.
Read more: 15 Best Carnival Drink Package Tips (2024)
Construction of Celebration Key began back in 2022
Celebration Key is located roughly 10 miles east of Freeport and 120 miles from PortMiami on Grand Bahama Island. The project is estimated to cost about $500 million. In comparison, Royal Caribbean spent $250 million on the renovation of Perfect Day at CocoCay in 2019.
The Honorable Philip Davis, Prime Minister of The Bahamas said, “With the start of this Carnival project, Grand Bahama is now on the better side of reaching its true economic potential. This investment will provide much-needed jobs but will also signal new hope for the island’s recovery.”
Are you looking forward to this new port? Let us know in the comments. Bonus if you're already booked and have a confirmed sail date!