Celebrity Cruises will present the industry's first cruises from Jacksonville, Fla., to the Southern and Western Caribbean beginning
this Fall, from the Jacksonville Port Authority
's (JAXPORT's) Dames Point Marine Terminal.
"We are thrilled to launch the industry's first sailings from
Jacksonville," said Celebrity's Senior Vice President of Fleet Operations,
Dietmar Wertanzl. "The city is strategically located for capturing new
business; the southeastern United States offers a growing population base
from which to attract our guests, and Jacksonville has the highway and port
connectivity to appeal to an expanding number of travelers interested in
JAXPORT officials report that they have worked to attract cruise ships to
Jacksonville for years; their most recent effort began in 1999,
co-sponsoring a cruise study with the Jacksonville Economic Development
Commission (JEDC). The study revealed that Jacksonville had grown in the
last 20 years to become a city with the basic criteria needed to attract
cruise vessels, including good port facilities, population base, highway
connections and airport capability.
Following its six-month series of cruises from Jacksonville, Celebrity
will assess the potential to base a ship there permanently in 2004.
Celebrity's Zenith currently is sailing in South America, and will reprise
its long-running series of seven-night cruises from New York to Bermuda
this Spring and Summer before launching the new Caribbean cruises.