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Nauticus Welcomes Arrival of New Passenger Gangway and Cruise Ship

Preparations underway for one of the busiest cruise seasons ever in 2022.

Norfolk, Va. (October 5, 2021) – Norfolk’s cruise ship program stages a comeback this week as the global industry begins to re-emerge from the Covid-19 pandemic. This afternoon, Nauticus will welcome its first foreign-flagged cruise vessel since the pandemic began, the 341-foot Ocean Explorer. Launched earlier this year, the ship accommodates up to 177 passengers, though 53 are currently onboard; the ship is scheduled to arrive at 1:00 p.m.

On Wednesday morning, Nauticus ushers in a new era for its cruise ship program with the arrival of its new passenger gangway system. The new boarding system will accommodate larger, more modern cruise ships, including the Carnival Magic, scheduled to set sail from Norfolk in 2022. The gangway was designed by Swedish company, Seawing PBB. The new boarding system will arrive disassembled aboard the vessel M/V Sluisgracht, and be re-assembled at Nauticus over the coming weeks.

“Our program continues to grow exponentially,” said Nauticus’ executive director, Stephen E. Kirkland. “In 2022, we’ll roll out the red carpet for 180,000 passengers, making it one of our very busiest seasons ever.”

Carnival Cruise Line begins its five-year sailing schedule from Nauticus in 2022 with the 4,000-passenger Carnival Magic. Also of significance, Norwegian Cruise Line will call on the mermaid city 25 times in 2022, making it Nauticus’ largest port-of-call commitment ever.

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