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Travelers who like the famously affordable offerings of Carnival Cruise Line but would prefer to depart from San Francisco have finally gotten their wish: Next year, Carnival will start cruising out of the Golden Gate City for the first time ever.
All of Carnival’s new San Francisco-based cruises will be on the ship Carnival Miracle and will sail for either Mexico, Alaska or Hawaii, with itineraries ranging from four to 15 days.
The cruises will provide a budget-friendly alternative to the more luxurious but pricier Princess cruises, that until now have been the only option out of San Francisco.
Bang for your buck
Cruise Critic calls Miracle “one of Carnival Cruise Line’s most comfortable ships,” with a low passenger-to-space ratio that offers an uncommon amount of elbow room for a cruise ship. An unusually high number of cabins have balconies, meaning the price of a balcony cabin may be only slightly higher than an ocean-view with no balcony.
» Learn more: Does cruise travel work with your credit card points strategy?
And if you’re turned off by Carnival’s reputation for a rather, let’s call it boisterous atmosphere, Miracle has an interesting offering: My Serenity Adults-Only Retreat — a sun-drenched lounge area where silence is golden.
When you can ship out
Your first chance to sail Miracle out of San Francisco will come on March 19, 2020, when the ship debarks for a four-day weekend cruise to Ensenada, Mexico. Throughout the season, five- and six-day cruises will stop at Ensenada, Catalina Island, California and San Diego.
Come summer, Miracle will sail for a series of 10- and 11-day cruises to Alaska, with stops in Juneau, Skagway and Icy Strait Point, plus opportunities to visit Sitka and cruise Tracy Arm Fjord.
Throughout both seasons are sprinkled 15-day cruises to Hawaii, with ports of call on Maui, Oahu, the Big Island and Kauai, plus a stop in Ensenada.
How to maximize your rewards
You want a travel credit card that prioritizes what’s important to you. Here are our picks for the best travel credit cards of 2021, including those best for:
Flexibility, point transfers and a large bonus: Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
No annual fee: Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card
Flat-rate travel rewards: Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
Bonus travel rewards and high-end perks: Chase Sapphire Reserve®
Luxury perks: The Platinum Card® from American Express
Business travelers: Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card
Planning a trip? Check out these articles for more inspiration and advice: I survived a cruise — and you can, too How to snag credit card rewards flights in peak season Hack your way home for the holidays: A guide to redeeming your credit card rewards