Carnival Corp is to shed two more Fantasy-class cruise ships, leaving flagship brand Carnival Cruise Line with only two of the type that were once its main workhorses.
The planned disposals of the 70,400-gt Carnival Ecstasy (built 1991) and Carnival Sensation (built 1993) come as the brand redeploys ships out of Australia, where a government ban on cruising is keeping the market shut for the foreseeable future.
Although the two ships scheduled for withdrawal are US-based, the Carnival Ecstasy will be replaced by the 88,500-gt Carnival Spirit (built 2001), one of the company’s two Australian exiles.
Carnival Cruise Line, in a statement about upcoming changes in its fleet deployment, indicated that the first of the two vessels to leave will be the Carnival Sensation, which has been in warm lay-up since the industry shut down in early 2020.
The brand had planned to return the Carnival Sensation to service in March to operate out of Mobile, Alabama, but reactivation plans for the ship have been dropped.
The Carnival Ecstasy, which will be displaced by the 85,900-gt Australian exile Carnival Spirit (built 2001) out of Jacksonville, Florida, will instead take on the Carnival Sensation’s scheduled cruises until October, when another as-yet-unnamed ship will take over.
Carnival Cruise Line built eight Fantasy-class ships between 1990 and 1998. At the time, they were among the world’s largest cruise ships.
As the oldest vessels in the brand’s fleet, they were the first to be culled when Covid-19 brought the cruise industry to an abrupt halt.
Four of the ships, mostly units that had yet to undergo a major mid-life upgrade that included the installation of private balconies and other features to make them more competitive with newer vessels, were quickly sold off in 2020.
Three went to Turkey for green recycling, while the fourth, the upgraded 74,300-gt Carnival Fascination (built 1994), was sold to Century Harmony Cruise, an Asian start-up backed by Chinese investors.
Century Harmony’s plans for the ship were later called off, and in October 2021 it was sold to Indian recyclers and beached at Alang.
With the sector creaking back to life, the Carnival Ecstasy and Carnival Sensation stand a higher chance of finding trading buyers, especially as the Carnival Ecstasy will remain in service until October, which means there is no immediate rush to sell.
Their departures will leave the 71,900-gt Carnival Elation and 71,400-gt Carnival Paradise (both built 1998) as the last remaining Fantasy-class ships in the Carnival Cruise Line fleet.