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Largest Cruise Ship to Sail from Norfolk Arrives Sunday

Carnival resumes operations with 4,000-passenger vessel

Photo Credit: GLF Investments

Norfolk, Va. (May 12, 2022) — Mid-Atlantic cruisers will have their first chance to sail from Norfolk since 2019 as the 4,000-passenger Carnival Magic arrives at Nauticus on Sunday, May 15, 2022. This marks the first embarkation from the mermaid city since the COVID-19 pandemic began; the Carnival Magic is the largest cruise ship ever to sail from Virginia.   

“We’re ready to welcome back our partners at Carnival and roll out the red carpet for these passengers,” said Nauticus’ executive director, Stephen E. Kirkland. “This particular ship is just massive, and the downtown skyline will look dramatically different when it arrives.” 

Carnival Cruise Line officials will join the Nauticus team to welcome the first Bahamas-bound passengers into the terminal on Sunday morning. In total, 11 Carnival voyages will depart from Nauticus in 2022, visiting destinations in Bermuda, the Bahamas, Puerto Rico, Turks and Caicos, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

The Carnival Magic is scheduled to depart for the Bahamas at 5:30 p.m. on Sunday and the community is encouraged to come watch the 1,000-foot-long ship sail away. Tag #nauticuscruise in your cruise pictures for a chance to win a Nauticus “Drones” Prize Pack! Terms: One entry per person. The entry closes on Wednesday, April 18, at 5 p.m. One selected winner will be contacted on Thursday, April 19. No purchase is necessary. Prize cannot be exchanged or traded for cash value.

About Nauticus
Located on the Nauticus campus, the Peter G. Decker, Jr. Half Moone Center is Virginia’s only cruise terminal. Nauticus Foundation is the nonprofit, 501©3 that supports the mission and activities of Nauticus. Nauticus’ mission is to benefit the community through education, impactful experiences, and sharing access to maritime resources. For more information, visit www.nauticus.org

Nauticus Lands National Drones Exhibition

A high-flying examination of the past, present, and future of remotely controlled pilotless aircraft opens Father’s Day Weekend.

Norfolk, Va. (May 5, 2022) – Perhaps no other emerging technology has captured the public’s imagination quite like unmanned aerial vehicles, otherwise known as drones. Beginning June 18, 2022, Nauticus will present a deep dive into the drone phenomenon with a major national traveling exhibit, Drones: Is The Sky The Limit?.

Developed by subject experts from the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum, and produced by Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum, Drones provides a birds-eye view of the aeronautics, engineering, science, technologies, and innovations of one of the most intriguing topics dominating our current culture.

“Let’s face it, drones are fascinating and just plain cool,” said Stephen E. Kirkland, Nauticus’ executive director. “Between the US Navy and local entrepreneurial efforts, our region is becoming increasingly familiar with this technology and so the timing is perfect for this blockbuster exhibit.” 

The interactive exhibition not only tells the story of drone technology over time, but also allows visitors to participate in hands-on drone flying programs, including piloting drones though digital and physical obstacle courses. Guests will explore the history of drone technology, from the earliest unmanned flying machines to advanced systems of the 21st century. 

Drones will open on June 18, 2022, at Nauticus with special programming through October 9, 2022. Access to the new exhibit is included in Nauticus’ general admission. Media are invited for a sneak preview on June 17 from 9 a.m. – 12 p.m. Contact Allie Wood, Marketing and Communications Coordinator, for more details.

Plan Your Visit
Nauticus will be open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday – Saturdays and 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Sundays. Paid admission includes access to the Nauticus museum, special programming, and the Battleship Wisconsin. As always, Nauticus members are free. Tickets and additional details are available online here.

About Imagine Exhibitions
Imagine Exhibitions is currently producing over 40 unique exhibitions globally in museums, science centers, zoos, integrated resorts, and non-traditional venues, with millions of people around the world visiting our exhibitions each year. In addition to developing successful traveling exhibitions, Imagine Exhibitions designs, opens, and operates permanent installations and venues, and consults on building, expanding, and directing museums and attractions. With decades of diverse experience in the museum and entertainment industries, Imagine Exhibitions consistently develops exhibitions that educate and excite while exceeding attendance goals. For more information, visit www.ImagineExhibitions.com or find us on Facebook.

About Nauticus
Drones: Is The Sky The Limit? and additional exhibits are supported by the Nauticus Foundation. The Nauticus Foundation is the nonprofit, 501©3 that supports the mission and activities of Nauticus. Nauticus’ mission is to benefit the community through education, impactful experiences, and sharing access to maritime resources. 

For more information, visit www.nauticus.org.

Nauticus Cruise Season Accelerates With Back-To-Back Ship Calls

Inaugural call of the Norwegian Gem set for Sunday; Norwegian Getaway returns on Monday

Norfolk, Va. (April 8, 2022) — More than 5,000 cruise ship passengers are planning their Norfolk arrival over the coming days as Nauticus welcomes its first back-to-back cruise calls since the COVID-19 pandemic began. On Sunday, the 2,400-passenger Norwegian Gem makes its maiden call to Norfolk. The vessel is scheduled to arrive at 10 a.m. and depart at 7 p.m. On Monday, the Norwegian Getaway returns with its longest port visit so far, arriving at 11:30 a.m. and departing at 6 p.m.

“It’s a very active few days for us and our season is only beginning,” said Nauticus executive director, Stephen E. Kirkland. “This spring is our busiest ever, with weekly ship traffic and Carnival’s return in May.”

The Norwegian Gem and the Norwegian Getaway are both part of Norwegian Cruise Line’s fleet. Norwegian Cruise Line is the world’s third-largest cruise company and will call on Norfolk 25 times throughout 2022, marking the largest port-of-call commitment ever for Norfolk.

About Nauticus
Located on the Nauticus campus, the Peter G. Decker, Jr. Half Moone Center is Virginia’s only cruise terminal. Nauticus Foundation is the nonprofit, 501©3 that supports the mission and activities of Nauticus. Nauticus’ mission is to benefit the community through education, impactful experiences, and sharing access to maritime resources. For more information, visit www.nauticus.org

Battleship Wisconsin to Open New Spaces on 78th Birthday

Guests will enjoy new renovations and interpretations.

Norfolk, Va. (Apr. 7, 2022) — Thanks to a successful second year of WinterFest on the Wisconsin and the community’s support, Nauticus is excited to announce the opening of new spaces aboard the Battleship Wisconsin. On April 16, 2022, on the Wisconsin’s 78th birthday, general admission guests can explore the newly interpreted Senior Officer’s Country. 

Located off the wardroom, guests can venture into the Senior Officer’s Country, where high-ranking officers and officers with “specialty” jobs lived. Because they held senior positions, these officers had their own staterooms. Visitors will be transported back in time as they listen to audio by previous officers who have occupied these staterooms, like the Weapons and Chief Engineering Officers, as well as the ship’s Chaplin and Administration.

Nauticus could not of reinterpreted these spaces without the help of the community! These groups volunteered their time to clean up these spaces by painting, welding, building, and so much more: The USS Lewis B Puller Group, Tidewater Tech Welding Group, Portsmouth NMRTC FCPOA, USS Oak Hill, USCG ATO Portsmouth, and US Navy Fleet Forces Command Band.

Guests are invited to celebrate the Battleship Wisconsin as she turns 78 on April 16, 2022. Visitors can enjoy live entertainment and educational programming. Nauticus members can bring a friend for free and active-duty military and their children are invited to visit at a discounted ticket price.

Want to see more of the Wisconsin? Explore areas of battleship on the Command and Control Tour and Life in the Engine Room tours with a historical interpreter and learn how the battleship was commanded and maintained. These experiences are ticketed and require reservations. Learn more and purchase tickets here.

Plan Your Visit
Nauticus is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays – Saturdays and 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Sundays. Paid admission includes access to the Nauticus museum, special programming, and the Battleship Wisconsin. As always, Nauticus members are free. Tickets and additional details are available online here.

About Nauticus
Support for the Battleship Wisconsin directly benefits the Nauticus Foundation, a 501(c)3 nonprofit.Funding provides interpretation and restoration of the Battleship Wisconsin and allows Nauticus to open new onboard spaces and experiential learning opportunities for students, families and visitors.

For more information, visit www.nauticus.org

Celebrating WisKy’s Birthday with A Gift for Our Visitors

By: Megan Roche

Photographer: Sean Kuhn

It’s almost big WisKy’s 78th birthday and to celebrate, you can explore more areas throughout the ship! Thanks to funds raised through Winterfest on the Wisconsin, visitors have access to new spaces onboard her decks.

Guests are welcome to self-tour the ship, with stops along the way including the missile decks, post office, library, laundry facilities, sleeping quarters, and more. Thanks to your support for WinterFest, guests are now able to explore the newly renovated Senior Officer’s Country.

“We will be better interpreting Senior Officer’s Country to help visitors understand how the department heads and specialty officers on the ship lived.” Battleship Operations Manager Keith Nitka revealed.  

Because these are Senior Officers on the ship, they typically lived in their own stateroom, not having to share with other officers. You’ll be transported back in time as you listen to audio by previous officers who have occupied these staterooms, like the Weapons and Chief Engineering officers, as well as the ship’s Chaplin and Administration.

Since April 16, 1944, the Battleship Wisconsin has served as a testament to the strength of the United States Navy. On April 16, 2022, she will turn 78.

“We will have former Wisconsin sailors onboard to speak with visitors and answer questions they may have about the battleship and life as a sailor,” Nitka said. “The battleship willalso be hosting World War II reenactors on the ship to help better explain the duties of Wisconsin during WWII.”

To view the full list of events on April 16, click here.

In addition to the new spaces, the Life in the Engine Room tour is returning. On this 60-minute-long tour, visitors can travel down seven levels to explore lowest areas of the ship. As you journey below her decks, you’ll learn how the eight massive boilers are used to generate steam power. The boilers are responsible for not only moving the ship, but her electricity and cooking power.

According to Nitka, opening new spaces is not just a job for Nauticus staff and volunteers. Groups from around the world provide their help to make the ship readily accessible for its visitors. The work isn’t only physical – talking with those who called her home is important to make sure the new spaces are exactly as they should be.

“We spoke with former crewmembers about the spaces they worked and lived in and collected donations of individuals private items to better interpret the rooms and spaces,” Nitka said. “There were also numerous upon numerous volunteer hours from local Navy, Marine Corps and Coast Guard members in cleaning and painting and staging items for interpretation,”

While these new spaces are debuting for the 78th birthday, there are many more projects in the pipeline. For Nitka, an ultimate goal is to open one of the turrets.

“When Turret 2 will be open to the public, they will see the massive optical range finder that sailors used to shoot at their targets by visual range finding,” Nitka shared. “As well as the three guns of Turret 2 named “Huey, Dewey and Louie” in WWII and “The Big, The Bad and The Ugly” during the Gulf War.”

The end goal of that project is to show guests the immense firepower of the 16-inch guns and how they are operated from where the gun powder is loaded, to the process of firing. Other potential projects include opening the reefer decks, where the walk-in refrigerators are housed. While the refrigerators were mainly for food, bodies of deceased sailors would also be stored here before being buried at sea or taken off in port.

Celebrate the Battleship Wisconsin’s birthday with Nauticus on April 16. Programs and tickets can be found here.

Carnival Cruise Line Celebrates Partnership with Norfolk

World’s largest cruise line presents cake to Norfolk City Council

Photo Credit: Nathalie Silva Ariz

Norfolk, Va. (March 23, 2022) — On Tuesday, March 22, 2022, Carnival Cruise Line presented a special birthday cake to Norfolk City Council members in celebration of the line’s 50th birthday and to thank Norfolk leaders for a 21-year partnership.  Carnival will begin sailing from Norfolk on May 15, 2022, marking the return of the cruise line after the COVID-19 pandemic paused the entire cruise industry.

“I’m happy to announce we are back,” said Carnival Cruise Line business development director, Kathy Donnelly.  “We’re looking forward to many, many more years of sailing out of this great city.”

Carnival returns in May with a series of sailings to the Bahamas, Bermuda and Canada/New England.  Passengers will cruise aboard the 4,000-passenger Carnival Magic, the largest vessel to ever homeport from Virginia. 

“This is such a significant year for our cruise ship program,” said Stephen E. Kirkland, Nauticus’ executive director.  “Norfolk will roll out the red carpet for 60 different ships from various cruise lines in 2022, making it our busiest year ever.”

Nauticus anticipates welcoming nearly 180,000 total passengers and 62,000 crew members in 2022.  On average, each cruise guest spends $125 while in port.

About Nauticus
Located on the Nauticus campus, the Peter G. Decker, Jr. Half Moone Center is Virginia’s only cruise terminal. Nauticus Foundation is the nonprofit, 501©3 that supports the mission and activities of Nauticus. Nauticus’ mission is to benefit the community through education, impactful experiences, and sharing access to maritime resources. For more information, visit www.nauticus.org

Women in STEM Are Making Waves at Nauticus

Free virtual event on March 25 with special guest Tracy Edwards, MBE.

Norfolk, Va. (March 16, 2022) — Stop over at Nauticus for their Women in STEM Day during Women’s History Month on March 26, 2022. Enjoy a fun-filled day of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) activities as you meet local women who are leading the charge and making an impact in their fields. Race remote controlled boats in our front pond and learn about the careers of women who built Navy warships. Guests will enjoy reduced, $7.57 general admission.

Build Your Future With Our Community Partners:

  • KidWind Project: Take the KidWind Challenge as you test wind energy turbines in a wind tunnel.
  • Girls Who Code: Practice simple coding and computer science by crafting binary jewelry.
  • ODU Digital Shipbuilding Lab: Build your own ship using virtual reality while learning how ships are being built today using technology.
  • Minorities in Shark Sciences: Play shark trivia and meet their shark ambassadors while learning all about these jaw-some fish.
  • Norfolk Naval Shipyard: Experiment with snap circuits and watch live shipyard tooling demonstrations.
  • Operation Smile: Discover how their Women in Medicine initiative is providing access to clean water across the globe.

In addition to on-site programming, Nauticus’ is excited to partner with Tracy Edwards, MBE for a virtual event on March 25. Edwards, MBE skippered the first all-female crew to sail around the world when she and her team raced Maiden in the 1989/90 Whitbread Round the World Race. This will be an informal discussion with Tracy about overcoming challenges as a women sailor and how The Maiden Factor is empowering educational access for girls.

Virtual Program Registration Details
Please register in advance to attend this virtual program on Friday, March 25 at 2:00 pm. Session is 30-45 min with Q&A portion. A Zoom link will be provided to your email prior to the event. This program will be streamed to the Nauticus Facebook page. Sign up at: www.nauticus.org/making-history-inspiring-women-sailors/

Plan Your Visit
Nauticus is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesdays – Saturdays and 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Sundays. Paid admission includes access to the Nauticus museum, special programming, and the Battleship Wisconsin. As always, Nauticus members are free. Tickets and additional details are available online here.

About Nauticus
Women in STEM and additional programs are supported by the Nauticus Foundation. The Nauticus Foundation is the nonprofit, 501©3 that supports the mission and activities of Nauticus. Nauticus’ mission is to benefit the community through education, impactful experiences, and sharing access to maritime resources. For more information, visit www.nauticus.org.

Nauticus’ Introduces New Summer Camp Aboard Historic Ship

Spend the summer on the waterfront taught by award-winning instructors

Norfolk, Va. (March 14, 2022) – Registration is now open for Nauticus’ Summer Camps. Choosing from three different camp experiences, this will be your child’s favorite week of summer!

The Design. Build. Sail. sessions, recommended for first timers, are open to all children aged 8-13. Experienced sailors or past camp attendees, ages 12-15, are encouraged to build on their sailing skills by attending the Sail Voyagers half-day sessions.

“These camps allow children and teens to sail the Elizabeth River on our Harbor 20s, in addition to exploring the broader Nauticus campus.” said Sarah Linden-Brooks. “We hope to welcome back many returning campers and meet new faces this summer to expand our community.”

Teens aged 14-17 are invited to board the Schooner Virginia Overnight camp and immerse themselves in all facets of tall ship sailing. Sailing throughout the southern Chesapeake Bay, this incredible opportunity allows for campers to spend a night at anchor and experience the beauty of the night sky.

Campers will be taught by award-winning instructors, like the Schooner Virginia’s Captain Erik Lohse and Sail Nauticus’ Sailing Program Coordinator Dylan Guill. Earlier this year, Guill received the Excellence in Instruction Award in the Community Sailing category from US Sailing.

“It’s been a pleasure working with our Academy kids and seeing them grow into leaders. A lot of our graduates have come back and become instructors, “Guill said. “We’re excited to introduce more students to sailing to this summer through our camps.”

Campers will build self-confidence, practice teamwork, and explore their community from a new vantage point. There’s nothing else quite like it! While these camps are engaging and fun, the best part is they are centered around mission driven work to expand access to our region’s maritime resources.

Nauticus and Sail Nauticus members can receive discounted camp registration. Not a member yet? Check out the benefits of Nauticus membership.

Camps run from June 20-August 15, 2022. Register at www.nauticus.org/summer-camps-2022.

About Nauticus

Nauticus is a maritime discovery center located along the waterfront in downtown, Norfolk, VA, offering a unique form of experiential learning for all ages. Through interactive exhibits and STEM to STERN programming, Nauticus uses the museum, Battleship Wisconsin, sailing center, and Schooner Virginia to tell the story of the maritime environment, industry, and the military. 

For more information, visit www.sailnauticus.org or www.nauticus.org

Messages in Bottles Wash Ashore at Nauticus!

New exhibit features over 50 voices from the past.

Norfolk, Va. (January 18, 2022) – Have you ever found a message in a bottle and wondered where it came from? Questioned its meaning and wondered what happened to the sender? The Message in a Bottle exhibition at Nauticus unearths the personal voices of everyday Americans, discovered while cleaning up the country’s rivers.

Uncovered by 2013 CNN Hero of the Year Chad Pregracke and his nonprofit, Living Lands & Waters, Message in a Bottle rediscovers lost history. For over 25 years, Pregracke’s cleanup campaigns along the Mississippi and other U.S. rivers have amounted to over thousands of bottles. Message in Bottle displays over 50 notes, from love letters to photos to practical jokes, making it a unique collection of raw, human emotion. 

“For centuries, people around the globe have been using messages in bottles as a form of communication. I am excited for Nauticus and the people of Norfolk to have the opportunity to see and read first-hand authentic messages in bottles that I, my staff, and dozens of volunteers have found through our river cleanups across the United States over the last 25 years,” Pregracke said. “Some are funny, some are spiritual, and others mysterious…but each showcase genuine thought and emotion.”

On January 29, Nauticus members are invited to get an exclusive first look at Message in a Bottle! Members can sign up here.

“This exhibit is compelling and altogether appropriate for a community built along the water’s edge,” said Nauticus executive director, Stephen Kirkland. “We’re excited and proud to showcase this amazing collection.”

Message in a Bottle will open on January 29, 2022, at Nauticus with special programming and share its secrets through April 24, 2022. Come explore over 50 bottled mysteries uncovered while cleaning up the country’s rivers!

Plan Your Visit
Nauticus will be open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesdays – Saturdays and 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Sundays. Paid admission includes access to the Nauticus museum, special programming, and the Battleship Wisconsin. As always, Nauticus members are free. Tickets and additional details are available online here.

About Nauticus
Message in a Bottle and additional exhibits are supported by the Nauticus Foundation. The Nauticus Foundation is the nonprofit, 501©3 that supports the mission and activities of Nauticus. Nauticus’ mission is to benefit the community through education, impactful experiences, and sharing access to maritime resources. For more information, visit www.nauticus.org.