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carnival cruise ships no longer in service

Which Cruise Ships Will Be Scrapped Or Taken Out of Service? (2024)

carnival cruise ships no longer in service

(Updated 3 p.m. EST) -- Most modern cruise ships spend 40 years or more sailing the world's seas. While it is not uncommon to see cruise ships built in the 1970s and 1980s go to the breakers due to breakdowns or changing SOLAS (Safety Of Live At Sea regulations), older vessels are usually transferred first to another, smaller cruise operator -- a market that is often referred to as "secondhand tonnage." That trend is changing, though.

Since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, numerous cruise ships head to the breakers with no chance for a farewell cruise or proper send-off. More, still, are being retired post-pandemic as lines look to improve their fleets and shed older, less-efficient (and more costly) vessels.

The youngest to be scrapped as of this writing is the 1996-built Costa Victoria, while the oldest vessel to head to the breakers was the beautiful 1965-built Marco Polo (the famed ex-ocean liner previously known as Aleksandr Pushkin).

Here's our running tally of the ship's we've lost in the past few years.

Astor (1987-2020)

carnival cruise ships no longer in service

What Made It Special: Sporting one of cruising's most unique profiles, Astor was built in 1987 for Safmarine before the contract was sold to the Marlan Corporation. The ship was then renamed Feodor Dostoevskiy for Transocean Tours between 1988 and 1995 before regaining its original name from 1995 onward.

Cruise & Maritime Voyages acquired the ship in 2013 where it sailed a wide array of itineraries. If it looks similar to another ship regularly based in the UK, that's because the ship was built to almost mirror the Astor of 1981, which most recently sailed as Saga Pearl II for Saga Cruises. That vessel also began life as an order for South Africa-based Safmarine.

Sadly, Astor was sold for just $1.7 million at auction, and was beached in Turkey on November 24, 2020 for scrapping.

Black Watch (1971-2020)

carnival cruise ships no longer in service

What Made It Special: Black Watch began life in 1971 as Royal Viking Star, the lead vessel for the much-beloved Royal Viking Line. An upscale ship, it was one of the most modern cruise vessels in the world when it first set sail, and was lengthened by 91 feet in 1981.

The ship transferred to Norwegian Cruise Line in 1991 and sailed for a period of time as Westward. In 1994, it became Royal Cruise Line's Royal Odyssey before being acquired by Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines in 1996 and renamed Black Watch.

Black Watch was noted for its wide, open decks, abundance of public areas; and its unique itineraries. With the ship being retired from the Fred. Olsen fleet and sold as an accommodation ship to a third-party buyer, its sailing days are over.

Boudicca (1973-2021)

carnival cruise ships no longer in service

What Made It Special: Like Black Watch, sister-ship Boudicca also began life with Royal Viking Line, setting sail in 1973 as Royal Viking Sky. It also sailed with Norwegian Cruise Line for a brief period of time between 1991 and 1993 as its Sunward. Between 1993 and 1997, it also sailed for Princess Cruises as Golden Princess.

The ship then served short stints with a succession of owners before being acquired by Fred. Olsen and setting sail as Boudicca in 2005. Boudicca seemed the more "modern" of the two, thanks to a series of upgrades to the vessel's interiors spaces and passenger cabins that occurred at the Blohm + Voss shipyards in Hamburg in 2018.

After being retired from the Fred. Olsen fleet, Boudicca arrived at the shipbreaking yards in Aliaga, Turkey in May 2021 to be broken up.

Carnival Ecstasy (1991-2022)

carnival cruise ships no longer in service

What Made It Special: Carnival Ecstasy was the second Fantasy Class ship to be constructed for Carnival, and entered service in 1991 to wide acclaim. Its interiors were designed by long-time Carnival architect Joe Farcus, who gave Ecstasy an overload of neon, glitz and 1990's colors that have been subtly -- but not overly -- toned-down in the intervening decades.

Ecstasy made headlines in 1998 when a fire broke out in the ship's laundry facilities and the vessel lost power while setting sail from Miami. Despite that, Ecstasy went on to have a long and profitable career for Carnival, sailing mostly shorter itineraries and weekend cruises.

In February 2022, Carnival announced that Ecstasy would take over itineraries from Mobile for Carnival Sensation before being removed from the fleet in October 2022. Once it completes its final voyage in mid-October, it will reposition from Mobile to Miami to discharge crew before being taken across the Atlantic to Aliaga, Turkey to be broken up.

A piece of Carnival Ecstasy -- a vintage roadster -- will live on. It was removed and will be placed aboard Carnival Celebration in time for that vessel's debut in November 2022.

Its removal leaves just two Fantasy Class ships in service with Carnival: Carnival Elation and Carnival Paradise .

Carnival Fantasy (1990-2020)

carnival cruise ships no longer in service

What Made It Special: Carnival Fantasy was revolutionary when it first debuted in 1990. It was the lead ship in Carnival's eight-vessel strong Fantasy Class that would be introduced from 1990 to 1998, becoming the largest group of passenger ships built to the same specifications at the time. Its whimsical Joe Farcus-designed interiors were wild, bright, and vibrant, and wholly unique from Carnival Fantasy's later sisters. The ship helped to spark a newbuild competition with competitor Royal Caribbean that continued until recently.

Homeported from Mobile for the last decade, Carnival Fantasy was due to be replaced by Carnival Fascination in 2022. After the COVID-19 pandemic, Carnival Fantasy was sent in early July to Curacao where major fittings and fixtures were removed.

Carnival confirmed on July 23 that the ship had been sold, and the ship arrived in Aliaga, Turkey shortly thereafter for scrapping. By late-August, the first cuts were being made to Carnival Fantasy's bow, and by early 2021 the ship was gone.

Carnival Fascination (1994-2021)

carnival cruise ships no longer in service

What Made It Special: Launched in 1994, Carnival Fascination was the fourth of eight Fantasy Class ships to debut. Designed by Joe Farcus, the ship's interiors recall the grand days of Hollywood, with public rooms like the Beverly Hills Bar named accordingly.

Originally based out of New York, the ship has had a number of homeports over the intervening 26 years. Most recently, the ship was based out of San Juan, and was due to replace Carnival Fantasy out of Mobile in 2022 prior to the COVID-19 outbreak.

On July 23, 2020 Carnival announced that Carnival Fascination would be withdrawn from service and placed in long-term layup. The ship was sold to Chinese interests which, in October 2021, reportedly sold the ship for scrapping, and arrived on-location in December 2021 to be broken up.

Carnival Imagination (1995-2020)

carnival cruise ships no longer in service

What Made It Special: Based out of Long Beach in recent years, Carnival Imagination was one of the few Fantasy Class vessels to not have been refitted with additional exterior balcony cabins. Like the rest of the Fantasy Class, its iconic interiors were designed by longtime Carnival architect Joe Farcus, who gave Imagination's public spaces their over-the-top look.

Carnival Cruise Lines announced July 23 that the 1995-built Carnival Imagination would be placed in long-term layup, with no immediate plans for it to re-enter the fleet. On August 26, the ship officially embarked on its last journey, sailing from Willemstad, Curacao, to Aliaga, Turkey, where it will be broken up.

Carnival Inspiration (1996-2020)

carnival cruise ships no longer in service

What Made It Special: The sixth vessel in Carnival's Fantasy Class, Carnival Inspiration brought more of the same whimsical Carnival fun to the line, wrapped up in longtime interior designer Joe Farcus' sometimes wacky interior decor. Carnival Inspiration, at the time the latest in the line's class of "SuperLiners", brought Art Nouveau touches to public rooms like the Paris Lounge, while the Rhapsody in Blue piano bar offered ebony and stone panelling offset by aqua accents. It was, and still is, one of the more sumptuously-decorated FunShips.

Based out of Long Beach, Carnival Inspiration was docked alongside Carnival Fantasy in Curacao in July, where fittings were removed. The ship arrived in early August at Aliaga, Turkey and was beached alongside sister Carnival Fantasy and former competitor Sovereign.

Carnival Sensation (1993-2022)

carnival cruise ships no longer in service

What Made It Special: The third Fantasy Class cruise ship ordered by Carnival, Sensation debuted in 1993 and served the line for nearly three decades. In 2022, it was scheduled to take over runs from Mobile, Alabama before Carnival announced in February 2022 that the ship would no longer return to service for the line.

Carnival Sensation becomes the fifth Fantasy Class ship to be removed from service -- and scrapped. Maritime news site Tradewinds reported on February 15 that Carnival Sensation has been sold for scrap to interests in Aliaga, Turkey. By June 2022, workers had already cut most of the forward section of the ship.

Celestyal Experience / Costa NeoRomantica (1993-2021)

carnival cruise ships no longer in service

What Made It Special: Debuting in 1993, Celestyal Experience started life as Costa Romantica, and was later renamed Costa neoRomantica to coincide with a sweeping refit of the vessel in November 2021 that added new cabins, additional balconies, and refitted public rooms.

In July 2020, Costa Cruises sold the vessel to Celestyal Cruises, which promptly refitted the vessel, repainted it in its own livery, and renamed it Celestyal Experience.

Although destined to be Celestyal's new flagship, the line disposed of the vessel in September 2021, citing "current market conditions resulting from the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic".

In October 2021, it was reported the ship was sold for $3.6 million in cash to a buyer out of Dubai.

On November 30, 2021 the former Costa NeoRomantica was confirmed to be destined for a Pakistani shipbreaker. It arrived for scrapping in December 2021, and was beached soon after.

It marks the end to one of the most initially optimistic, and then saddest, developments for any vessel over the course of the pandemic.

Celestyal Olympia (1982-2024)

carnival cruise ships no longer in service

What Made it Special: Originally launched for Royal Caribbean in 1982 as its Song of America, Celestyal Olympia formed the backbone of the modern Royal Caribbean fleet as we know it today. It introduced new concepts like the wraparound Viking Crown Lounge situated atop the funnel, and came complete with more cabins, open deck space, and lavish public areas than any other ship before it.

Song of America sailed with Royal Caribbean until 1999, before being acquired by Louis Cruises (now Celestyal) in 2012. Initially renamed Louis Olympia, its name was changed to Celestyal Olympia in 2014.

Delivered to Royal Caribbean on November 11, 1982, the ship was removed from service almost 41 years to the day, on November 13, 2023. Replaced by the newer Celestyal Discovery , Celestyal Olympia was sold to Turkish interests -- a typical sign the ship could be headed for the breakers.

Columbus (1988-2021)

carnival cruise ships no longer in service

What Made It Special: Columbus started life as an order for Sitmar Cruises that was converted into a newbuild for Princess Cruises after the latter swallowed up Sitmar in the late 1980's. Christened Star Princess, the ship was notable for its distinctive circular "dome" situated above the navigation bridge.

Star Princess went on to serve a stint with P&O UK, sailing as Arcadia between 1997 and 2003. It then went on to become the lead ship for budget-oriented (and now defunct) Ocean Village cruises before ending up at P&O Cruises Australia as Pacific Pearl.

Cruise & Maritime Voyages purchased Pacific Pearl in 2017 and renamed it Columbus. Following the line's collapse, the ship was auctioned off for just $5.3 million to Greek-owned Seajets. Prior to the pandemic, the ship's value was in the $95 million range.

On March 1, 2021, it was reported that Columbus was headed east after being sold by Seajets for a tidy profit. The ship is widely expected to head to India for scrapping after being observed underway from its anchorage and waiting for a transit position at the Suez Canal.

Costa Victoria (1996-2020)

carnival cruise ships no longer in service

What Made It Special: Costa Victoria was one of Costa's most distinctive vessels. Built in 1996 at the Bremer Vulkan yards in Germany, it was easily distinguished by its banks of windows at the front of the ship that gave way to a multi-story observation lounge. It was to have had a sister-ship named Costa Olympia; instead, that vessel became Norwegian Cruise Line's Norwegian Sky . On June 23, Costa Victoria arrived in Piombino, Italy for scrapping after being purchased by Genova Trasporti Marittimi.

"Costa Crociere confirms that the ownership of Costa Victoria has been transferred to a subsidiary of Genoese company San Giorgio del Porto," reads a statement from Costa Cruises sent to Cruise Critic, while not directly confirming the ship's fate. "Costa will be informing guests booked on the next Costa Victoria cruises, who will be guaranteed a re-protection in accordance with the applicable legislation.”

In January 2021, it was confirmed that Costa Victoria would be towed to Aliaga, Turkey to begin the scrapping process.

EasyCruise One (1990-2022)

carnival cruise ships no longer in service

What Made It Special: EasyCruise One started life in 1990 as Renaissance Cruises' Renaissance II. The ship was noted for its small size and angular funnel uptakes, as well as its dark wood-panelled interiors that recalled the grand oceangoing ships of yore. Serving with luxury brand Renaissance until 1998, Renaissance II then served as a casino charter vessel before being aquired by EasyCruise in 2005.

The ship was the first foray into cruising for low-cost European air carrier EasyJet. Stripped of its lavish interiors and refitted with dorm-style accomodations (brightly colored, unsurprisingly, in only white and neon orange), EasyCruise One was billed as the cruise ship for people who hated cruises. Much like a flight on EasyJet, EasyCruise promised "unbundled" pricing, with surcharges for everything from onboard meals to cabin service.

The concept wasn't entirely a success, and despite refitting the ship again to tone down the loud doses of orange decor, EasyCruise One was removed from service in 2008. There were plans to convert the ship into a private yacht that never came to fruition, and EasyCruise One (then renamed simply, Cruise One) was placed in long-term layup in drydock.

The ship was finally sent to the breakers in 2022.

Grand Celebration (1987-2020)

carnival cruise ships no longer in service

What Made It Special: Grand Celebration was launched in 1987 as Carnival Cruise Line's Celebration. The third in a trio of newbuilds for Carnival, Celebration was part of the Holiday Class that would later pave the way for the highly successful (and somewhat similarly-designed) Fantasy Class.

Celebration was preceded by Holiday and Jubilee. The latter was scrapped in 2017, but Holiday continued to sail on as Magellan for now-defunct Cruise and Maritime Voyages.

Celebration found a new lease on life as Grand Celebration, the lead vessels for Bahamas Paradise Cruise Line. Operating short two-night cruises to Freeport from West Palm Beach, Grand Celebration also took on a number of humanitarian roles, most recently aiding the people of Grand Bahama Island in the wake of 2019's Hurricane Dorian.

Bahamas Celebration was officially scrapped in January 2021. Some artifacts from it still exist to this day aboard the newer Carnival Celebration .

Golden Iris (1975-2022)

carnival cruise ships no longer in service

What Made It Special: One of two identical ships ordered in the 1970's, Golden Iris had careers with Cunard, MSC and finally Mano Maritime before being scrapped due to the global health pandemic.

The ships were initially odered for Overseas National Airways of the United States, and Hugh Hefner was reportedly involved in their design. Before that could materialize, the ship was sold to Cunard Line, where it took on cruising duties as Cunard Princess. But with little in common with the more grand transatlantic queen, Queen Elizabeth 2, the ship and sister Cunard Countess never really found the right fit in the Cunard fleet.

Cunard Princess was sold to MSC Cruises in 1995, where it enjoyed a 14-year career with the popular European cruise line as their Rhapsody. In 2009, Rhapsody was sold to Israel-based Mano Maritime, and operated cruises from Haifa under the name Golden Iris.

In July 2022, Golden Iris was sold to shipbreaking interests, ending the vessel's 47-year career.

Horizon (1990-2022)

carnival cruise ships no longer in service

What Made It Special: Horizon was constructed in 1990 as the first of two nearly identical newbuilds for Celebrity Cruises. Though somewhat angular in appearance, the ship was noted for its superb interiors and unique reception area concept, which featured over-height ceilings and ran along the centerline of the ship. Together with Zenith, Horizon was the first-ever newbuild for Celebrity Cruises, and laid the basis for the line's pattern of ship for the next two decades.

Horizon was removed from the Celebrity Cruises fleet in 2005 and was passed around to various operators before landing with Pullmantur in 2017. Following the collapse of Pullmantur in June 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the ship was laid up in the Mediterranean.

Horizon managed to avoid the breakfers for two years, but was finally beached in late August 2022.

Karnika (1990-2020)

carnival cruise ships no longer in service

What Made It Special: You may not know the name Karnika very well, but this historic vessel's past names - as Princess Cruises' Crown Princess (1990) and P&O Australia's Pacific Jewel probably ring a few bells.

When Crown Princess debuted in 1990, it was a game-changer for Princess Cruises. Much was made about it and sister-ship Regal Princess (1991), which both had distinctive "domes" situated above their navigation bridges. Both vessels were also notably designed by famed Italian architect Renzo Piano.

But Crown Princess was rendered outdated by the introduction in 1995 of Sun Princess and in 1998 by the huge Grand Princess. Its career with Princess was remarkably short -- just 12 years -- and in 2002 it was renamed A'Rosa Blu.

After short stints with A'Rosa, AIDA, and Ocean Village, Crown Princess ended up with P&O Australia as its Pacific Jewel. The ship remained down under until 2019, when it was sold to Zen Cruises and renamed Karnika for Jalesh Cruises.

The ship was to cater to the Indian cruise market with cruises from Mumbai, India and Dubai, UAE, but Jalesh Cruises suspended all operations due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The ship was sold for just under $12 million dollars, and was beached at Alang, India for scrapping on November 30, 2020.

Magellan (1985-2021)

carnival cruise ships no longer in service

What Made It Special Cruise & Maritime Voyages' Magellan began life in 1985 as Carnival Cruise Line's Holiday. As the lead ship of the three-vessel strong Holiday class, Holiday would pave the way for Carnival's larger and hugely-successful Fantasy Class that debuted in 1990, much of which was patterned off the basic design for Holiday.

The ship had a long career with Carnival, serving until 2009 with the line and acting as relief housing during Hurricane Katrina. After a four-year stint with Iberocruceros, it was purchased by UK-based Cruise & Maritime Voyages in 2015 and renamed Magellan.

When CMV went bust in the summer of 2020, the ship was sold at auction to ferry operator Seajets, which had purchased a number of secondhand cruise ships during the COVID-19 pandemic.

On January 15, 2021, Seajets reportedly flipped Magellan, selling it to scrapping interests in India and ending the venerable cruise ship's career.

Marco Polo (1965-2020)

carnival cruise ships no longer in service

What Made It Special Easily the most venerable and iconic ship on this list, Cruise & Maritime Voyages' Marco Polo was the last of the "grand dame" ocean liners pressed into cruise service, and one of the few remaining passenger vessels from the 1960's still in active cruise passenger service.

The ocean liner turned cruise ship started life as Aleksandr Pushkin for the former Soviet Union's Baltic Sea Shipping Company, or BSSC. The ship was a throwback to another era, offering taps for hot, cold and sea water in cabins; a feature which had been abandoned for some time on contemporary Western liners. However, its ice-strengthened hull and ample public spaces would serve it well in cruise service.

In 1991, the ship was renamed Marco Polo; an iconic moniker it would keep with it for the next three decades despite changing operators several times. After being rebuilt in the early 1990's, Marco Polo entered service with Orient Line until 2008, before becoming part of the Transocean Tours fleet. Cruise & Maritime Voyages acquired the ship in 2010.

When CMV collapsed in the summer of 2020, Marco Polo was sold at auction. On January 4, 2021, the ship was confirmed as sold for scrap and was bound for India.

Marella Celebration (1984-2022)

carnival cruise ships no longer in service

What Made It Special: Originally built as Holland America Line's Noordam before being transferred to Thomson/Marella Cruises in 2005, one thing that remained constant about Marella Celebration was how beloved it was. Though lacking in balcony cabins and reflective of an entirely different design of cruise vessel, the ship's old-world charm, open public areas and broad teak decks were enough to make even the most jaded cruiser overlook its shortcomings that included some pretty wicked vibration in cabins near the stern.

In April 2020, Marella announced that it would immediately remove Marella Celebration from service. TUI Group, which owns Marella, would not comment at the time on whether the ship would be sold to another line or sent to the breakers. Marella Celebration's sister-ship, Marella Spirit (the former Nieuw Amsterdam) was scrapped in 2018.

On September 20, 2022, Marella Celebration was confirmed beached for scrapping.

Marella Dream (1986-2022)

carnival cruise ships no longer in service

What Made It Special: Marella Dream began life in 1986 as Homeric, the last new ship constructed for Home Lines. In 1988, Home Lines merged with Holland America Line, and Homeric became Westerdam.

Holland America extensively refitted and stretched Westerdam between 1989 and 1990, and the ship carried on with the line until 2002, frequently spending its summers in Alaska on sailings out of Vancouver and winters in the Caribbean.

As Westerdam, the ship played a leading role in the 1997 comedy film Out to Sea , starring Walter Matthau and Jack Lemmon as reluctant dance hosts. Unusually for a film, the ship is actually referred to in the movie as the "M/S Westerdam", and many scenes were filmed aboard the actual vessel.

Retired from the Holland America fleet in 2002, Westerdam went on to serve a short stint with Costa Cruises as Costa Europa before landing in the Thomson/Marella family in 2010, first as Thomson Dream before being rebranded as Marella Dream in 2017.

Marella Cruises officially withdrew Marella Dream from service on October 1, 2020. The ship was beached for scrapping in July 2022, and the first cutting began in August.

Monarch (1991-2020)

carnival cruise ships no longer in service

What Made It Special: Monarch began life as Royal Caribbean's Monarch of the Seas in 1991 before being transferred to Spanish subsidiary Pullmantur in 2013. The second of Royal Caribbean's three-ship Sovereign class, Monarch was, for a time, one of the most trendsetting ships on the seas.

Pullmantur filed for bankruptcy protection in June as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Monarch, together with older sister Sovereign, were reportedly stripped of their interior fittings and artwork in Genoa. In late July, the ship arrived at the breakers in Aliaga and will be scraped alongside Sovereign.

Ocean Dream (1982-2020)

carnival cruise ships no longer in service

What Made It Special: Few people likely sailed Ocean Dream during the eight years it spent sailing for Japan-based Peace Boat, but more likely know it from its past life as Carnival Cruise Line's trendsetting Tropicale.

Launched in 1982, Tropicale was Carnival's "test ship": the first newbuild to be created for the company, and the ship that would pattern the basic design and layout for every ship launched for the line over the next decade and a half.

Tropicale had no direct sister-ships; subsequent newbuilds for Carnival revolved around the similarly-patterned Holiday Class and the Fantasy Class, which all shared some design characteristics but without total commonality.

Tropicale was in service with Carnival until 2000, when it was transferred to Costa Cruises as Costa Tropicale. The ship enjoyed short stints with P&O Australia as Pacific Star and with Spanish operator Pullmantur as Ocean Dream before being transferred, but not renamed, to Peace Boat in 2012.

On November 27, 2020 Ocean Dream was reported sold to scrapping interests, and was beached in Aliaga, Turkey in January 2021.

Sovereign (1988-2020)

carnival cruise ships no longer in service

What Made It Special: Sovereign was built in 1988 as Royal Caribbean's Sovereign of the Seas. The largest new purpose-built cruise ship at the time, Sovereign ushered in the concept of the multi-story atrium flanked with glass elevators that would become a staple of the Royal Caribbean fleet for decades.

Sovereign of the Seas was transferred to Pullmantur in November of 2008 and embarked on its first voyage for the line in the spring of 2009. Like Monarch, it was stripped of all valuable fittings in Genoa in June 2020 as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Scrapping began in August 2020, and the ship was totally demolished by February 2021.

SuperStar Aquarius (1993-2022)

carnival cruise ships no longer in service

What Made It Special: Cruise fans will remember SuperStar Aquarius better as Norwegian Cruise Line's Norwegian Wind. Launched in 1993 as Windward, the midsize vessel underwent a complex stretching operation -- then the largest of its kind -- at the Lloyd Werft shipyard in Bremerhaven in 1998. When it emerged, it boasted a new midsection complete with a new dining room, new bars and lounges, and additional passenger accommodation. The ship was also renamed Norwegian Wind, and continued to sail for Norwegian until it was transferred to Genting-owned Star Cruises in 2007.

In May 2022, the ship was confirmed sold for scrap following the bankruptcy of Genting Hong Kong's cruise holdings, which included Star Cruises and luxury brand Crystal Cruises. After a short reprieve, the ship was beached at Alang in late November 2022.

SuperStar Gemini (1992-2022)

carnival cruise ships no longer in service

What Made It Special: The lead vessel in Norwegian Cruise Line's Dreamward-class, SuperStar Gemini began life as Dreamward, and was joined by sister-ship Windward in 1993. Like Windward, Dreamward went through a complex lengthening procedure in Germany in 1998, but emerged with two unique features: a retractable mast and a funnel that could open hydraulically in order to allow the ship to transit Germany's Kiel Canal -- something the ship, as Norwegian Dream, did on a regular basis, earning legions of fans who would line the canal to watch "their ship" sail the legendary waterway.

Norwegian Dream sailed for Norwegian Cruise Line until 2008, when it was laid up until its 2012 transfer to Star Cruises. Norwegian Dream also had the unfortunate notoriety of being involved in a dramatic collision in 1999 with the cargo ship Ever Decent in the English Channel.

In May 2022, the ship was confirmed sold for scrap following the bankruptcy of Genting Hong Kong's cruise holdings, which included Star Cruises and luxury brand Crystal Cruises. In late November 2022, the ship was photographed beached at Alang.

SuperStar Libra (1988-2021)

carnival cruise ships no longer in service

What Made It Special: SuperStar Libra debuted in 1988 as Norwegian Cruise Line's Seaward. Renamed Norwegian Sea in 1997, the ship operated the line's famous "Texaribbean" voyages from Houston for many years in the mid-1990's before being transferred out of the Norwegian Cruise Line fleet in 2005.

The ship -- a one-off with no other direct sister-ships -- was noted for its abundant open deck spaces and windowed public rooms. It was never a trendsetting ship, however; as years went on it lacked the bells-and-whistles of the newer Norwegian vessels but found a home in Asia operating voyages for Star Cruises.

In 2018, the ship was leased as an accommodation vessel to MV Werften to house shipyard workers constructing new cruise ships for Dream Cruises and Crystal.

In November 2021, the vessel was sold for scrap to Turkish interests. It was beached for scrapping in early June, 2022.

Star Pisces (1990-2022)

carnival cruise ships no longer in service

What Made It Special: Originally built as a Baltic cruise-ferry, Star Pisces was purchased by Star Cruises in 1994 and sailed for Singapore. It operated short cruises for Star Cruises, and became one of the line's smallest -- and most iconic -- ships thanks to its banks of windows inset into its forward-facing superstructure.

The ship was the first vessel in the Star Cruises fleet to sport hull artwork, and was given a stem-to-stern refit in 2013.

Star Pisces was sold for scrap due to the collapse of Star Cruises' parent company, Genting Hong Kong, in 2022. It was beached for scrapping in July 2022.

Zenith (1992-2022)

carnival cruise ships no longer in service

What Made It Special: Built for Celebrity Cruises in 1992 as the sister-ship to Horizon, Zenith was famous for its distinctive style. It was the second newbuild ever for Celebrity Cruises, and was designed for upscale cruising from North American destinations. Like its sister, Zenith had a unique layout that included a large oversized reception area and numerous cozy dining and lounge venues that would form the basis for newer, larger Celebrity vessels designed in the late 1990's and early 2000's.

Zenith was transferred to Spanish-line Pullmantur in 2007, and was set to debut for Peace Boat in 2020.

The global health pandemic put a stop to that. After a stint at layup, Zenith arrived at Alang in September 2022 under the name "Singa", where it will be broken up.

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Six Ships Have Now Left the Carnival Fleet: Here’s Where They Went

  • February 13, 2022

carnival cruise ships no longer in service

As two additional vessels exit in 2022 , a total of six vessels will have left the Carnival Cruise Line fleet since the pandemic started.

Here’s what happened to them:

Carnival Fantasy Year Built: 1990 Capacity (at 100% occupancy): 2,044 Tonnage: 70,367 Exit Date: July 2020 Status: Scrapped

The Carnival Fantasy was among the first ships to leave the Carnival Cruise Line fleet during the COVID-19 pandemic.

After being sold in July 2020 , the 1990-built vessel sailed straight to Aliaga, Turkey, where it was beached for scrapping .

The ship was subsequently dismantled, with its metal and other assets being recycled.

Carnival Inspiration Year Built: 1996 Capacity (at 100% occupancy): 2,040 Tonnage: 70,367 Exit Date: July 2020 Status: Scrapped

The Carnival Inspiration was sold for recycling by Carnival Cruise Line in July 2020 , along with the Carnival Fantasy.

Like its sister ship, the 1996-built vessel sailed directly to Turkish scrappers soon after exiting the company’s fleet.

After being beached in early August , the Fantasy-class ship was demolished over the next few months.

Carnival Imagination Year Built: 1995 Capacity (at 100% occupancy): 2,040 Tonnage: 70,367 Exit Date: September 2020 Status: Scrapped

The Carnival Imagination was sold off after initially being placed on a long-term lay-up status .

In September 2020, the ship joined its two sister ships in Aliaga, Turkey .

Carnival Fascination Year Built: 1994 Original Cost: $315,000,000 Capacity (at 100% occupancy): 2,040 Tonnage: 70,367 Exit Date: September 2020 Status: On its way to the scrappers

The Carnival Fascination initially escaped being scrapped after leaving the Carnival Cruise Line fleet in September 2020 .

Renamed Century Harmony, the vessel was acquired by Asian interests who intended to transform it into a floating hotel.

Over a year later, the plans appear to be cancelled as the 1994-built currently sails to Gadani, Pakistan – where a ship breaking yard is located.

Carnival Sensation Year Built: 1993 Capacity (at 100% occupancy): 2,040 Tonnage: 70,367 Exit Date: February 2022 Status: Unknown

The Carnival Sensation is the next ship being retired by Carnival Cruise Line.

According to a recent announcement , the vessel will not restart guest operations and is set to soon exit the company’s fleet.

Plans for the future of the Fantasy-class ship, which is currently anchored in the Bahamas, are still to be announced. 

Carnival Ecstasy Year Built: 1991 Capacity (at 100% occupancy): 2,040 Tonnage: 70,367 Exit Date: October 2022 Status: Unknown

Unlike its sister ships, the Carnival Ecstasy is set to leave the fleet after resuming revenue service.

With its first post-pandemic cruise set to start in March, the Fantasy-class vessel is offering a farewell season before being retired in October .

The 1991-built ship is currently the oldest in the fleet and faces an uncertain future.

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No fun for these ships: Carnival says 4 vessels won't come back when cruising resumes

Gene Sloan

Make that four Carnival Cruise Line ships that won't be returning to service when cruising resumes.

The Miami -based cruise giant on Thursday said two of its 27 vessels would leave its fleet immediately and two more are being put into long-term storage.

The moves will reduce the number of ships that Carnival operates by about 15%.

For more cruise news, reviews and tips, sign up for TPG's new cruise newsletter.

The two vessels leaving the Carnival fleet immediately are the 2,056-passenger Carnival Fantasy and 2,056-passenger Carnival Inspiration.

TPG in recent days has reported that both of the ships were on the way to a ship-scrapping town in Turkey, but Carnival until now wouldn't confirm that they were leaving the line.

Related: How to book a cruise with points and miles

Carnival Fantasy cruise ship

The two ships going into long-term storage -- known in the cruise world as a "long-term layup" -- are the 2,056-passenger Carnival Fascination and 2,056-passenger Carnival Imagination.

"Carnival Fascination and Carnival Imagination will move to a long term lay-up status, with no specific timeline identified for a return to operation," Carnival said Thursday in a statement.

Carnival Fantasy, Carnival Inspiration, Carnival Fascination and Carnival Imagination are among Carnival's oldest vessels. They all are part of the line's Fantasy Class of ships that rolled out between 1990 and 1998. There are eight vessels in the series in all.

Related: Another cruise line has shut down due to financial pressures

The four ships have been sailing out of Mobile, Alabama; Long Beach, California; San Juan, Puerto Rico, and Barbados; and Long Beach, respectively.

In addition to removing the four ships from operations, Carnival will rearrange its remaining vessels once it resumes service, the line announced Thursday.

Carnival said the 2,056-passenger Carnival Sensation would move from Miami to Mobile, Alabama, to operate the itineraries previously assigned to Carnival Fantasy.

The 2,984-passenger Carnival Sunrise, in turn, will move from Fort Lauderdale's Port Everglades to Miami to assume the itineraries previously operated by Carnival Sensation.

The Carnival Inspiration cruises off the coast of Cozumel, Mexico. The 2,052-passenger cruise ship operates year-round four- and five-day western Caribbean cruises from Tampa. (Photo by Andy Newman/Carnival Cruise Lines)

Carnival said passengers already booked on Carnival Sunrise voyages out of Port Everglades would be automatically moved onto the ship's new sailings out of Miami.

Among other changes:

  • Carnival Fascination itineraries out of San Juan, Puerto Rico and Barbados scheduled for 2020 and 2021 have been canceled. Carnival no longer will operate regular sailings from the port.
  • Carnival Imagination and Carnival Inspiration sailings out of Long Beach, California, scheduled through April 19, 2021, have been canceled.
  • Carnival Radiance will move to Long Beach in April 2021 to pick up the short cruises to Mexico previously offered by Carnival Imagination and Carnival Inspiration.

The combined moves amount to a retrenchment for Carnival in sailings to the Southern Caribbean out of San Juan, Puerto Rico and voyages to Mexico out Long Beach.

Carnival on Thursday also announced it was pushing back its target date for a return to service in Australia from Sept. 25 to Oct. 29.

Carnival noted that its fleet would begin growing again next year with the arrival of Mardi Gras , its biggest ship ever. The 180,000-ton vessel is under construction at a shipyard in Finland.

Related: Carnival ship to have first roller coaster at sea

Mardi Gras had originally been scheduled to debut this year but has been delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic .

Carnival also set an arrival date -- November 2022 -- for an as-yet-unnamed sister ship to Mardi Gras that has been on order from the same shipyard in Finland.

"We have used this pause in operations to think carefully about our fleet and to build a plan that gives our guests new choices and upgrades to current ship offerings," Carnival president Christine Duffy said in a statement. "With a fleet that gives guests lots of choices in ships, home ports, destinations and features including a multitude of dining, entertainment and accommodation choices, we are very excited about the future for Carnival Cruise Line."

Duffy said Carnival would continue to invest in the four remaining Fantasy Class ships in its fleet.

The news of the Carnival ship departures comes just two weeks after Arnold Donald, the CEO of Carnival Corporation, revealed that the company's nine brands had arranged to remove 13 ships from their fleets in the coming months as they cut costs and reorganize in anticipation of a slow restart to cruising.

"To reduce our cash burn and have a more efficient fleet once we do resume cruising, we have aggressively shed less efficient ships," Donald said July 10 during a conference call with Wall Street analysts to discuss quarterly earnings.

Based in Miami, Carnival Corporation is the parent company of Carnival Cruise Line, Holland America, Princess Cruises, Costa Cruises and five other brands that went into the coronavirus crisis with a combined fleet of 104 ships.

Together, the nine brands account for about 45% of all cruises taken in the world.

All nine of the Carnival Corporation brands halted departures in mid-March due to the crisis, and many have canceled all sailings into September or October . It's a shutdown that is unprecedented in the history of modern cruising, and it's causing the company great financial hardship .

Donald didn't specify which ships would leave the company's fleets. But most of them are now known. Carnival Corporation's Holland America brand last week announced it would remove four vessels from its fleet . The company's U.K.-focused brand, P&O Cruises, recently said one of its vessels would depart as did the company's Europe-focused Costa Cruises brand.

Related: A major line is scrapping a cruise ship that is just 23 years old

TPG recently published a list of 23 ships that we thought were most likely to be laid-up, sold or scrapped in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic that included both Carnival Fantasy and Carnival Inspiration as well as several ships from other Carnival Corporation brands.

Carnival on Thursday said passengers and travel agents were being notified directly about impacted sailings and cancellation policies.

Additional resources for cruisers during the coronavirus outbreak:

  • When will cruising resume? A line-by-line guide
  • Why you shouldn't expect bargain-basement cruise deals anytime soon
  • How to cancel or postpone a cruise due to coronavirus
  • Expecting a refund for a canceled cruise? Here's how long it will take
  • Some of the year's hottest new ships could be delayed
  • Stream these 13 movies, television shows to get your cruise ship fix
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Carnival Cancels Cruises, 'May Have No Choice' But to Pull Out of U.S.

Carnival Cruise Line, a subsidiary of British-American operator Carnival Corporation, has canceled sailings from the U.S. through June because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The company's president said the line "may have no choice" but to pull out of voyages from the United States altogether because cruises remain suspended in U.S. waters under an order from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Christine Duffy, president of Carnival Cruise Line, said in a statement on Tuesday: "While we have not made plans to move Carnival Cruise Line ships outside of our U.S. homeports, we may have no choice but to do so in order to resume our operations which have been on 'pause' for over a year."

The company's announcement—which followed an earlier decision to extend the pause to the end of May—came on the same day that Disney Cruise Line also canceled sailings from the U.S. through June.

Carnival operates from 20 U.S. ports along the east and west coasts as well as the Gulf of Mexico, Puerto Rico and Hawaii. Passengers affected by the cancellations can claim future cruise credit plus an onboard credit package, or opt for a full refund.

  • Disney Cancels Cruise Ships as Summer Vacation Dreams Shattered
  • Ron DeSantis to Sue Feds if Florida's Cruise Industry Not Back By Summer
  • When Will Cruise Ships Sail Again? CDC Cruise Guidelines

Final payment deadlines for July sailings have been extended to May 31. Passengers can also cancel without penalty, said Carnival.

"We know that this is very disappointing to our guests who continue to be eager to sail, and we remain committed to working with the administration and the CDC to find a workable solution that best serves the interest of public health," Duffy said.

The CDC said on Tuesday that it was working with the industry to allow cruises to resume by following the phased approach in its latest order.

The agency said in a statement: "This goal aligns with the desire for resumption of passenger operations in the United States expressed by many major cruise ship operators and travelers, hopefully by mid-summer."

This does not mean cruises will definitely restart in the summer. A CDC spokesperson, Caitlin Shockey, told USA Today it was "dependent on cruise lines working through the phases of the CSO [conditional sailing order]."

On Monday, the Cruise Lines International Association, which represents cruise travel agents and agencies, renewed its call for the CDC order to be lifted.

The association urged "the [Biden] administration to consider the ample evidence that supports lifting the CSO this month to allow for the planning of a controlled return to service this summer," in a statement.

The industry came to a halt last year when the CDC issued a "no sail order" for cruise ships on March 14, 2020. The agency said at the time it had "reason to believe that cruise ship travel may continue to introduce, transmit, or spread COVID-19."

On October 30 last year, the CDC issued its "framework for conditional sailing order," outlining its phased approach for resuming cruises .

Passenger operations remain suspended during the initial phases of the order, which could be in place until November 1 this year.

On April 2, the CDC unveiled a new phase, providing technical guidelines for cruise ship operators in U.S. waters and local health authorities.

Outside U.S. waters, the CDC recommends that "all people avoid travel on cruise ships, including river cruises." It said: "That's because the chance of getting COVID-19 on cruise ships is high since the virus appears to spread more easily between people in close quarters aboard ships."

The Cruise Lines International Association has described the latest CDC guidelines as "unduly burdensome" and "largely unworkable," adding that they "seem to reflect a zero-risk objective rather than the mitigation approach to COVID that is the basis for every other US sector of our society."

The association claimed that nearly half a million workers and tens of thousands of businesses in the U.S. were "continuing to financially suffer."

It added: "More sailings originating in the Caribbean and elsewhere are likely to be announced, effectively shutting American ports, closing thousands of American small businesses, and pushing an entire industry off-shore."

Three of the country's major cruise ports are in Florida: the Port of Miami, Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale and Port Canaveral in Brevard County.

In late March, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis also called on the CDC to rescind its order during a roundtable discussion with industry executives.

He recommended that Florida's seaports receive $258.2 million from the state's share of the president's COVID-19 relief bill to account for their losses.

He said at the time: "The cruise industry is essential to our state's economy and keeping it shut down until November would be devastating to the men and women who rely on the cruise lines to provide for themselves and their families."

Newsweek has contacted the office of DeSantis, the Port of Miami, the Canaveral Port Authority, Port Everglades and the Florida Department of Transportation for comment.

In late March, two Carnival-owned lines announced COVID-19 vaccination requirements for some of their British cruises. Princess and P&O are limiting some sailings to U.K. residents who have received a COVID-19 vaccine.

Carnival cruise ships Miami Florida 2020

The wider picture

Coronavirus has infected more than 133.2 million people, including over 30.9 million in the U.S., since it was first reported in Wuhan, China.

More than 2.8 million people have died worldwide and more than 75.7 million have recovered as of Thursday, according to Johns Hopkins.

The graphic below, produced by Statista , shows the total number of COVID-19 vaccine doses distributed and administered in the U.S.

Coronavirus vaccine US supply - Statista

Newsweek, in partnership with NewsGuard, is dedicated to providing accurate and verifiable vaccine and health information. With NewsGuard's HealthGuard browser extension, users can verify if a website is a trustworthy source of health information. Visit the Newsweek VaxFacts website to learn more and to download the HealthGuard browser extension.

Uncommon Knowledge

Newsweek is committed to challenging conventional wisdom and finding connections in the search for common ground.

About the writer

Soo Kim is a Newsweek reporter based in London, U.K. She covers various lifestyle stories, specializing in travel and health. 

Soo covered the COVID-19 pandemic from 2020 to 2022, including interviews with chief medical advisor to the president,  Dr. Anthony Fauci . Soo has reported on various major events, including the  Black Lives Matter movement , the U.S . and Canadian elections , and the 2020 Tokyo Olympics . Before Newsweek, Soo was a travel reporter and commissioning editor for the award-winning travel section of the Daily Telegraph (a leading U.K. national newspaper) for nearly a decade from 2010, reporting on the latest in the travel industry, from travel news, consumer travel and aviation issues to major new openings and emerging destinations.

Soo is also a South Korea expert, from the  latest K-dramas  including  Squid Game ,  Korean films and K-pop news to  interviews with the biggest Korean actors . Soo is the author of the book How to Live Korean , which is available in 11 languages, and co-author of the book Hello, South Korea: Meet the Country Behind Hallyu.

Soo is a graduate of Binghamton University in New York and the journalism school of City University in London, where she earned a Masters in international journalism.

Languages spoken: English and Korean.

Follow her on Instagram at @miss.soo.kim or X, formerly Twitter, at @MissSooKim

To read how Newsweek uses AI as a newsroom tool, Click here.

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When Carnival Will Have All Their Cruise Ships Back in Service

Ben Souza

During a recent business update, Carnival gave an update on when all of their cruise ships will be back in service.  After selling 19 older, less efficient ships during the pause in cruising, they now have over 90 ships as they took delivery of several new vessels this year.

Here is Carnival Corporation’s current schedule and the number of cruise ships that they will have in service by the end of each coming month.

December 2021 – 57 cruise ships back in service, 67% of capacity January 2022 – 57 cruise ships back in service, 67% of capacity February 2022 – 60 cruise ships back in service, 68% of capacity March 2022 – 66 cruise ships back in service, 75% of capacity April 2022 – 82 cruise ships back in service, 90% of capacity May 2022 – 91 cruise ships back in service, 95% of capacity June 2022 – 94 cruise ships back in service, 100% of capacity

Carnival Corporation owns and operates the following cruise lines: Carnival Cruise Line, Princess Cruises, Holland America Line, AIDA Cruises, Costa Cruises, Cunard, P&O Cruises, Seabourn, and P&O Cruises Australia.

Learn the cruise secrets most people don't know and cruise like a boss. Check out Intelligent Cruiser here for a better cruise vacation. (Sponsored)

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Carnival Ship Still Awaits Repair, More Cruises Axed

Andrea Santillan

Andrea Santillan

  • November 16, 2023
  • • 2 min read

carnival panorama waterworks

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Carnival Cruise Line has expanded its cruise cancellations, adding two more sailings to the four previously canceled due to ongoing repairs on the Carnival Panorama.

carnival panorama cruise ship

Due to pending engine repairs on Carnival Panorama, the Vista-class cruise ship is not expected to re-enter service before December 23 this year.

According to the cruise line, additional cancellations must be made in light of limited dry dock facilities.

Yesterday, CruiseRadio received word from Carnival:

Carnival has already begun updating passengers who booked Panorama’s December 9 and 16 sailings. The company has promised a full refund on cruise fares and a reimbursement allowance for non-refundable travel expenses. It also offers future cruise credits that can be used towards other Carnival itineraries. 

Carnival Panorama Cancellations

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While on Panorama’s November 4 cruise, the ship began encountering problems , prompting the crew to skip two of its three port stops. The technical issue has affected the vessel’s cruising speed. At most, it can only sail at half speed of around 9.6 knots an hour. 

Carnival Panorama in Long Beach

Typically, Panorama follows a Mexican Riviera route from Long Beach, calling on Cabo, Mazatlan, and Puerta Vallarta. With each one-way voyage spanning over 1,000 miles, a significantly reduced cruising speed would have hampered its ability to follow its seven-night itineraries.

The cruise line estimates that Panorama will be ready to sail again on December 23. Coincidentally, it’s also the date when Carnival Jubilee debuts in Texas .

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Carnival Cruise Line

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Carnival jubilee, carnival celebration, carnival mardi gras, carnival firenze, carnival venezia, carnival panorama, carnival horizon, carnival vista, carnival breeze, carnival magic, carnival luminosa, carnival dream, carnival splendor, carnival freedom, carnival liberty, review of carnival cruise line.

CCL-Carnival Cruise Lines (carnival.com) is an American passenger shipping company based in Doral, Florida ( Miami suburb). The company was originally private (independent), founded in 1972 by Ted Arison (1924-1999). The initial public offering of 20% common stock in 1987 provided capital for fleet expansion.

Today, CCL is one of the 10 brands owned by Carnival Corporation - currently the world's largest passenger shipping company (followed by RCG-Royal Caribbean Group ). In 2018, Carnival Corporation controlled ~39% of the global ship cruising market (revenue) and ~48% of the passengers (39% in 2020), with full ownership of 9 brands (CCL, AIDA , Costa , Cunard , HAL-Holland America , P&O UK & Australia , Princess , Seabourn ).

CCL currently has 40,000+ employees from 120 nationalities.

For 50 years - between March 11th, 1972 (CCL's maiden voyage with TSS Mardi Gras out of PortMiami) and March 11th, 2022, the company served 90+ million passengers.

CCL has the largest fleet in the Corporation's group of companies and accounts for over 1/5 of the Group's worldwide market share. CCL's executive control is provided by Corporation's North American division. CCL pioneered the concept of less expensive, short-break itineraries. In 1996, the 101,000-GT Carnival Destiny (now Sunshine) became the world's biggest passenger ship and the first to weigh over 100,000 tons.

Most CCL ships are Panama- flagged .

Company changes 2024

(starting January 1st) Available fleetwide are:

  • The enhanced "Chef’s Table 2.0" version (VIP dining hosted by the ship's Executive Chef) features a new menu (with cocktails), hors d’oeuvres, a galley tour, and a multi-course gourmet dinner.
  • "Behind The Fun" (ship tour/behind-the-scenes experience) are now available for pre-cruise/online booking (previously bookable only onboard).
  • HUB App's Streamlined Debarkation simplifies the process with a new feature indicating individual time preferences and the number of bags for tag delivery to the stateroom. The option is available on select ships. VIFP members and Suite passengers receive priority debarkation tags.

Company changes 2023

In September CCL announced that the libraries on older ships would be removed (during their next scheduled drydocks) while the newer (EXCEL-class) ships lack such facilities by the original design. The former library spaces (used for reading or board game playing) will be repurposed/redesigned as bars, cafes, live music setups, or existing venue-adjacent seating areas.

Since April 1st, CCL again offers the popular "Behind the Scenes" ship tour fleetwide. It costs extra ($55-$95 per person), lasts ~2-3,5 hours and visits the Wheelhouse/Navigation Bridge, the Engine Control Room, Main Dining Room's Galley/kitchen, crew areas (cabins, mess hall, dining room, bar lounge), laundry, among others.

On March 16th CCL became the world's first cruise company to have served 100 million passengers. The unique milestone was celebrated on Carnival Sunrise (in PortMiami) and attended by Christine Duffy (President). CCL's 100-millionth guests were the Clifford family (Debi and David) from Ohio.

On August 28th was announced the name of the new (CCL-exclusive) Grand Bahama Port - Celebration Key , scheduled for opening/inauguration in July 2025.

As of 2023, 9 out of CCL's 14 American homeports (Miami, Port Canaveral, Tampa, Jacksonville, New York City, Baltimore, Mobile, Galveston, Long Beach/Los Angeles) utilize Facial Biometric Technology (public-private partnership with CBP/US Customs and Border Protection Agency), resulting in ~30% reduction in debarkation time. Americans and certain foreign nationals who prefer not to use facial biometrics can request a manual document check from a CBP Officer, adhering to existing admission requirements into the USA.

Company changes 2022

In late-December CCL employed the renowned chef and restauranteur Emeril John Lagasse (1959-born American celebrity chef, restaurateur, author, TV personality) as the company's Chief Culinary Officer. The announcement mentioned that chef Lagasse's "Emeril's Bistro" (restaurant introduced on Mardi Gras) will be utilized fleetwide.

In October CCL imposed fleetwide a US$500 fine plus expenses/detention costs (local police services and emergency docking fees) for passengers found guilty of unruly shipboard behavior.

In September CCL extended its onboard retail shop partnership with Starboard Cruise Services (premier cruiseship retailer, subsidiary company and brand of LVMH /1987-founded) through 2027. The deal covers 10 ships (Celebration, Dream, Freedom, Horizon, Legend, Magic, Miracle, Pride, Sunrise, Sunshine). Starboard is working with CCL since 1992.

On June 22nd, CCL and Costa Cruises announced the "COSTA by CARNIVAL" cruise program targeting CCL's North American source market. The program is based on two newbuild Costa ships - Venezia (starting in April 2023 with homeporting in NYC New York USA ) and Firenze (starting in 2024 with homeporting in Long Beach/Los Angeles California USA ). Both Costa liners are CCL-managed (while operating out of the USA) and were scheduled for drydock refurbishments prior to the Carnival service.

On June 15th was announced that Costa Luminosa will be transferred from Costa to CCL in September and renamed "Carnival Luminosa".

On February 3rd was announced that in 2022 CCL's fleet leave Ecstasy (1991-built/31-year-old) and Sensation (1993-built/29-year-old). The decision triggered the following deployment changes:

  • In Jacksonville, Ecstasy was replaced by Carnival Spirit, starting April 23rd. Ecstasy was repositioned to/homeported in Mobile AL for the period March 5 thru October 10.
  • Carnival Sensation's Mobile Alabama schedule (Oct 15, 2022, thru Sept 30, 2023) was canceled.
  • In Australia, Carnival Splendor's schedule (June 10 thru Sept 26, 2022) and Carnival Spirit's schedule (June 5, 2022, thru October 5, 2023) were canceled.
  • Carnival Sensation will not restart operations. Ecstasy's last voyage for CCL departed on October 10, 2022, from Mobile.

CCL's 50th Anniversary (2022)

In March 2022, for CCL's "50th Anniversary" were scheduled various onboard festivities (on a total of 17x so-called "Sailabrations" cruises) as well as fleet meetups.

  • On March 5th, off Ensenada Mexico rendezvoused 2 ships (Miracle, Radiance).
  • On March 7th, off Cozumel Mexico rendezvoused 7 ships (Breeze, Ecstasy, Glory, Pride, Sunrise, Vista, Mardi Gras).
  • On March 9th, off Eleuthera Bahamas rendezvoused 6 ships (Conquest, Freedom, Legend, Liberty, Spirit, Sunshine).
  • On March 11th, off Ensenada rendezvoused 2 ships (Miracle, Panorama).

On each liner during the meetups was hosted its own Lido Deck party complete with live music and entertainment, including the biggest "Ship-Tok at Sea" (posted on tiktok.com/@carnival). Onboard activities also included themed puzzles, fun-fact trivia games, Build-A-Bear Birthday Party (with a special-edition cuddle bear toy), Rollin' In Riches (gaming event), specially designed fashion collections and retail collectibles, Main Dining Room specials (themed food and beverage menus, original MDR show. Baked Alaska Farewell Parade).

CCL officially marked its 50th Birthday on March 11, 2022, onboard Carnival Conquest's 3-day voyage from Miami to Nassau (March 11-14). The onboard activities were attended by Christine Duffy (CCL's President), Micky Arison (Carnival Corp's Chairman), Arnold Donald (Carnival Corp's CEO), Congresswoman Frederica Smith Wilson (Florida), Congressman Vern Gale Buchanan (Florida), Daniella Levine Cava (Miami-Dade County's Mayor), Juan Carlos Bermudez (Doral City's Mayor), various VIP guests from Miami and CCL's leadership.

Commemorating the 50th birthday, John Heald (CCL's Brand Ambassador) hosted "Between Two Banners" - a series of interviews with the following guests:

  • (March 21) Terry Thornton (former Senior VP Nautical and Port Operations)
  • (March 23) Vicky Rey (VP Guest Care and Communications, Stakeholder Engagement, Deputy Ethics and Compliance Officer)
  • (March 25) Stefan Christoffersson (VP Housekeeping, Laundry and VSP)
  • (March 28) Gerald/Gerry Cahill (CCL's President & CEO between 2007-14)
  • (March 30) Shahnaz Kashanipour (Director Guest Operations)
  • (April 1st, 4th, and 6th) Micky Arison (Corporation's Chairman), 3-part interview

Company changes 2021

On June 23, 2021, CCL announced the addition of two ships to its fleet by 2023 - an EXCEL-class (2023-built Carnival Jubilee ) and Costa Magica (2004-built). The Costa boat (later changed with Luminosa) was to be drydock refitted and refurbished , Carnival-named, and to join CCL in 2022-H1.

In June, CCL signed a limited-time partnership deal with Guy Fieri's Flavortown Kitchen (delivery-only restaurant) for the signature "Straight Up Burger" (US$12). The offer was with app-food ordering (Uber Eats, Grubhub, Bite Squad, Waitr, Postmates, DoorDash) and with free delivery. Guy's Burger Joint (poolside food bar) was introduced in the CCL fleet in 2011 and by 2021 available fleetwide (on 24 liners). On each ship are daily served ~1000 burgers, or ~8 million annually - per boat!

In mid-April, CCL introduced "Carnival Edition Family Feud" (priced at US$25). The cruise-themed version of the board game includes 150 questions related to CCL and cruise travel in general.

On February 16, 2021, CCL officially launched "Carnival Monopoly" available for online purchase for USD 40. The limited-edition board game is cruise-themed (Carnival ship properties, port taxes, Cruise Director announcements).

Company changes 2020

Since January 2020, via partnership with PepsiCo Carnival's North American fleet serves various Pepsi-branded beverages, including sparkling water, energy drinks, iced teas, sodas, juices (also no-sugar and low-calorie variations), Starbucks coffee.

The list of Carnival's PepsiCo beverages includes Bubly (water), Gatorade (sports drink), Naked Juice, MTN Dew (carbonated), Pepsi, Pepsi Zero, Pure Leaf (iced teas), Sierra Mist (lemon-lime flavored), Sierra Mist Zero.

Company changes 2019

In August, CCL signed a deal with The Bahamas to build a new cruise port on Grand Bahama Island. The project (~USD 100 million) will create ~1000 jobs.

In November, CCL partnered with Uplift (travel now and pay over time platform). Instead of paying in full upon booking, Uplift Pay Monthly allows CCL's customers to pay for their cruise over time - by making monthly payments for up to 2 years (24 months). The new option allows securing the ship, stateroom and itinerary with a predetermined payment plan and monthly amounts. The new cruise payment option is available for US and Canadian residents only, for all CCL cruise destinations and through any travel agent, via Carnival.com and the company's call centers. In late-November 2019 was launched shop.carnival.com (online retail store) selling Carnival-logoed merchandise.

In May, CCL partnered with Harlem Globetrotters (exhibition basketball team) to serve as team's official cruise line sponsor, with Carnival-inspired activations taking place at 150+ shows per year. In July 2019, CCL signed a partnership with "Clean the World" - hospitality recycling organization that recycles hotel soap and amenities. CCL fleet's discarded remnants from staterooms are taken to a recycling center ashore where are sanitized, melted down and reprocessed. The newly-formed bars are not reused onboard, but distributed to vulnerable communities worldwide. As of 2019, Clean the World recycles and distributes recycled hygiene products to 127+ countries.

In April, CCL expanded the shipboard youth programming (fleetwide) via exclusive partnership with Zumbini. The company specializes in 45-min high-energy classes and activities (for kids 0-4 years-old) that combine playing, singing and dancing. Zumbini classes (created by Zumba and BabyFirst) feature group sing-alongs, using musical instruments and learning activities. CCL's Zumbini program is free of charge, led by ship's youth staff and with 2 classes (30-min each) held at Camp Ocean and other venues. The program targets Carnival Penguins (2-to-5 years old) and is available on itineraries 6-day or longer.

In March, CCL signed an exclusive partnership with Lakeland Brewing Company (Florida) to can and keg CCL own private label beers crafted by a professional brewery team on the new liners Vista and Horizon (at sea). The 3 new craft beers (ThirstyFrog Caribbean Wheat, ParchedPig West Coast IPA, ParchedPig Toasted Amber Ale) are based on unique recipes and currently available (on tap and in 16-oz cans) fleetwide and also at CCL's private port destinations. In October were added ParchedPig Pumpkin Ale and ParchedPig Beach Lager. In mid-March 2019 started construction works on the exclusive "Carnival Terminal 3"/CT3 in Port Canaveral (opened in June 2021).

In February, CCL added X-ray security 3D scanning at 9 of its North American homeports. For the project (installing a total of 91 units) was contracted "VOTI Detection" (Montreal-based company). The 3D scanners feature advanced imaging and remote diagnosis capabilities. They save the image files which (if needed) can be later re-analyzed.

Company changes 2018

In October 2018, the word "tender" (large boat used for ship-to-shore passenger transportation in ports without berthing facilities) was replaced with "water shuttle". Since Dec 1, 2018, violators of the company's shipboard smoking policy are disembarked at the next call port. Previously, they were fined USD 500 cleaning fee.

With the 3x Vista-class liners (Vista/2016, Horizon/2018, Panorama/2019) were introduced the fleet-firsts "IMAX Theater at Sea" (87-seats cinema/part of "Carnival Multiplex"), "SkyRide" (outdoor/aerial bicycle ride/suspended 2-track bike course), Havana Staterooms (cabin complex with a swimming pool, sundeck, lounge, lanai balconies).

NEW Carnival-XL ship

On November 15, 2018, was the steel-cutting ceremony for CCL's first XL-Class (largest) cruise liner. The 183900 GT-ton newbuild also features a new livery and is LNG-powered .

The shipbuilder is Meyer Werft (Turku Shipyard, Finland). The first vessel ( Carnival Mardi Gras ) is scheduled for delivery in 2021 and homeported in Port Canaveral Florida . The second liner/sistership Carnival Celebration is homeported in Miami starting in November 2022 (the year when CCL celebrated its 50th Anniversary/on March 11th).

The XL-Class design features a new (red-white-navy blue) hull and was created by the NYC -based naval architecture firm "Bluarch Architecture". The new liners have length 1130 ft (344 m) and passenger capacity 5200 (lower berths). Among the various fleet-first and industry-first innovations is The Ultimate Playground (aft on decks 18-19) - a large family-friendly outdoor play area highlighted by fleet's largest WaterWorks (aquapark) and an expanded SportSquare (sports complex with a basketball court, ropes course, jogging track, mini-golf). Also new is the "BOLT Ultimate Sea Coaster" (first at sea). The aft-located (Deck 19) BOLT was designed and built by Maurer Rides ( Munich Germany -based company) specializing in roller coaster manufacturing. The race track has length 244 m (800 ft), with twists, turns, drops and speeds up to 64 kph/40 mph. Individual speeds are posted after the race. Carnival's roller coaster is all-electric and allows 2 riders to race along in motorbike-like vehicles at height 57 m (187 ft) above the sea. The experience features breathtaking top-deck 360-degree seaviews and ends with a high-speed turn around the ship's funnel (smokestack/chimney).

XL-class cruise ship Carnival Waterworks aqua park with waterslides

(NEW) Carnival China cruise brand

In February 2015, Carnival Corporation signed an MoU with China Merchants Group for 2 joint ventures. The MoU outlined an eventual partnership that could result in a new cruise brand (joint shipowner company), as well as joint development plans for Chinese seaports and destinations.

  • MoU's joint venture port plans included the development of transit and turnaround/homeports within China. China Merchants Group (founded 1872) is a state-owned company focusing on infrastructure and transportation, also real estate development and financial services. Currently, Carnival Corporation serves the Chinese market through the brands Princess and Costa.
  • In October 2015, Carnival Corp signed an agreement with the Chinese companies SWS (Shanghai Waigaoqiao Shipbuilding Co Ltd, a subsidiary of CSSC / China State Shipbuilding Corporation) and China Investment Corp. The USD 3,88 billion deal established the Hong Kong-based joint venture company Adora Cruises/CSSC Carnival Cruise Shipping to place ship orders with SWS. The company plans to build up to 5 new vessels per year for the next 15-20 years. All ships will be China-homeported and with technical support and design plans provided by Fincantieri. SWS builds some of the world's largest container ships (capacity up to 21000 TEUs) for CSCL.

In February 2017, Carnival Corp and CSSC announced an agreement to build 2 new ships for "CSSC Carnival Cruise Shipping Ltd". The deal was officially signed on November 6, 2018.

  • The shipbuilding project had total value ~USD 1,5 billion, not including the options for 4 more liners. Additionally, Carnival China purchased 2 existing liners from Costa Group ( Atlantica and Mediterranea ).
  • The shipbuilder is SWS. Another joint venture - "CSSC Cruise Technology Development Co Ltd" (SWS plus Fincantieri) granted shipbuilding technology licenses and provided technical services to SWS, including supply chain and project management, components and fundamental marine systems. The new liner's design (based on Fincantieri's CCL VISTA platform) was specifically tailored for Chinese tourists.
  • First ship's delivery was scheduled for 2023, a second follows in 2024. Ship design is based on Vista-Class, with GT 85,000 tons and passenger capacity around 2800.

Carnival Cruise Line ships

CCL is best-known for implementing top-notch marine technologies, innovative vessel construction methods and ship designs. Its customers are mostly Americans, 30% of which under 35 yo, 40% - between 35-55, 30% over 55.

All CCL liners names have the prefix "Carnival", and are also trademarked "The Fun Ships". Also trademarked is the ship's funnel - colored in red-white-blue, and shaped like a whale tail. Company's vessels offer spacious public spaces and staterooms that are one of the largest at sea with a huge variety of stateroom types in several categories. Between the high-quality amenities are Carnival's terry robes and "Comfort Bed" sleep system with deluxe mattresses, linens, duvets, and pillows - Suite guests can even choose from a "pillow menu".

Carnival cruise ship top deck (Breeze, Dream, Magic)

Carnival is famous for its great cuisine and multiple dining options. The long list of dining venues includes the Main Dining Rooms (with 5-course meals), Chef's Table (ship tour and gourmet cuisine), Supper Club with steakhouse favorites (reservations-only), BlueIguana Cantina (Mexican), Sushi Bar, European-style Patisseries and Cafes, Poolside Bars, themed Kids Dining, Midnight Buffets, 24-hour Pizza and Room Service.

CCL ships provide a variety of onboard activities - from napkin-folding classes, Vegas-style revues, and gourmet and galley-kitchen tours to cool deck parties, belly-flop pool competitions, and waterslide races. Signature shipboard facilities are Seaside Theatre (outdoors), Thrill Theatre (3D Cinema), Disco Nightclub, Casino (gambling, tournaments), Stage Shows, Playlist Productions, Hasbro Game Show, Carnival Waterworks (aqua park with slides).

For those who love sports, Carnival has done a great job by creating the SportSquare with ropes SkyCourse, SkyRide and Basketball Court, also used also for Soccer and Volleyball. Since October 2016, Carnival Cruise Line ships offer bocce court activities, due to an inflatable court developed by the company Packaworld (New Zealand). The new activity was added following successful test trials (on Carnival Glory and Carnival Pride) run by American Bocce Company (USA).

Bocce (aka bocci) is a nodules sport similar to lawn bowls. However, the traditional courts are usually made of wood and sized 60x12 ft (1830x365 cm, which is a lot of space to install bocce on cruise ships. To overcome the problem, the NZ company Packaworld developed inflatable "Packabocce", making it easier to bring the game to new locations. The portable courts are sized 30x8 ft / 914x244 cm (recreation) and 22x6 ft / 670x180 cm (mini court) and can be set up in just minutes.

The portable bocce courts are also available in some of the ship's indoor public spaces (including bars). The new onboard activity is offered fleetwide, including on the Australia-based ships, where are also available giant board games (like Trivial Pursuit, Guess Who, Cranium).

SkyRide is an outdoor/aerial bicycle ride (suspended 2-track bike course) on the newest Vista-class Carnival ships. This is industry's first pedal-powered open-air bike ride in hanging bikes encircling around an 800-ft / 245-m long suspended track on the ship's top deck, allowing 360-degree panoramic views 150 ft / 46 m above sea level.

Foosball and Ping-Pong tables are available, as well as a Walking/Jogging track and Fitness Center with a separate room for Yoga, Aerobics and Pilates classes. There is also a Mini-Golf course and golf cruise packages created for keen golfers.

Carnival cruise ship mini-golf course

CCL caters for families with amazing kids programs. Kids club activities by "Camp Ocean" (children's facilities and programming) feature "Seuss at Sea" entertainment (including the "Green Eggs and Ham” Breakfast served in the MDRs once per voyage) via an exclusive partnership with Dr Seuss Enterprises LP. At the same time moms and dads are able to unwind in the many relaxation lounges and complexes: Carnival Cloud 9 Spa, Serenity Adult Retreat, themed Bars (RedFrog, BlueIguana, Alchemy, Havana, Sports), big-size Swimming Pools and Whirlpools.

Carnival cruise ship Serenity Retreat (adults-only deck)

Carnival has been spending a lot on fleetwide refurbishments and upgrades since 2007. The initiative "Evolutions of Fun" cost USD 350 million (8x Fantasy-class vessels) and included new open-deck spaces, kids- and family-themed facilities and activities, Carnival WaterWorks (aquapark with slides).

On Oct 6, 2022, was announced a new kids program via partnership with Cape Canaveral's Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex. The new programming (Space Cruisers, hosted at Camp Ocean) is NASA-supported and debuted on Carnival Celebration in November. Space Cruisers' activities are grouped into the following programs - "Optimal Orbit" (2-8 yo) and "Design Your Own Mission Patch" and "Space Cruisers Rocket Workshop" (6-11 yo), as well as the family-friendly "Mars Base Connect" and "ASTRO!". Carnival's Space Cruisers program was implemented fleetwide by 2023-Q2.

The "Fun Ship 2.0" program (2011-launched) cost USD 500 million and added fleetwide new dining venues, redesigned staterooms, themed bars, lounges, clubs. The biggest project was the Carnival Destiny-Carnival Sunshine transformation in 2013 (USD 155 million, 49-day drydock refit).

This official YouTube video reviews DREAM-class vessels (Breeze, Dream, Magic) as facilities and amenities.

Next link is to CruiseMapper's Carnival cruise secrets, tips, and tricks . At the following link, you can compare Carnival's major rival - Royal Caribbean (fleet and review of RCI's cruising experience).

ATM (cash) machines are available onboard all Carnival ships since 2009. The service is exclusively provided by Cardtronics and available to both passengers and crew. In 2016, ATMs were also installed in ships' crew sections. Each Carnival ship has all 4 ATMs - 2 located in high-traffic passenger areas and 2 are exclusively for the crew.

Since August 2018, CCL doesn't require passengers to complete health-related questionnaires during check-in. Instead, they are asked to self-report illnesses, without answering questions on paper. At port terminals upon departure were installed health signage to remind practicing hand hygiene and reporting any illness to staff crew.

(NEW) Carnival cruise gratuities (2023)

Since 2023 (April 1st), CCL's daily gratuities per person (pp) are as follows:

  • USD 16 pp (standard staterooms - interior, oceanview, balcony, both adults and kids) - being increased from US$14,50 pp
  • USD 18 (suites) - being increased from US$16,50 pp. Suite perks (in addition to priority embarkation/debarkation in all ports, confirmed main dining room preference) also receive priority tender service, free in-cabin bottled water, 1 complimentary bag of laundry (per cruise), enhanced turndown service.
  • Cruise gratuities for children - tips don't apply to kids less than two years of age.
  • Gratuities can be prepaid. Daily gratuity is an automatic service charge added to the passenger's onboard account each day. The amount of gratuities is split between the onboard staff (dining, housekeeping, cabin stewards).

On Carnival ships departing from Australian ports tipping is not compulsory. Room Service staff tipping is also not compulsory.

On Cruises To Nowhere , the daily amount of gratuities is USD 14 pp.

Carnival Barbados deals (any itinerary visiting Bridgetown Barbados ), all gratuities are prepaid and added upon booking.

For drinks purchases, an automatic 18% gratuity is added to the bill. Charges are applied directly to the onboard account. An automatic 15% gratuity is added to "Chef's Table" (dining package) cover charge and applied directly to the onboard account.

Follows the breakdown of the gratuities on Carnival cruises (in USD, per day, per person):

  • Housekeeping staff: USD 4,05 (standard cabins) USD 5,05 (suites)
  • Dining/wait staff: USD 6,40
  • Alternative Services (kitchen, entertainment, passenger services, other hotel staff members): USD 2,50.

Carnival shipboard Wi-Fi plans

In 2017, CCL updated the cruise ship Wi-Fi service fleetwide, introducing the option to pre-purchase Internet packages online.

Starting April 19, 2017, the company offers pre-purchasing internet plans (first introduced on Carnival Fascination and Carnival Vista). The option is available via "Manage My Booking" (Carnival.com) where customers can select a package for the duration of the cruise.

Carnival's Wi-Fi plans can be purchased (at discounted rates) for either the entire voyage or for a day (24-hour period).

  • "Social Package" (costs USD 12,75 per day) offers access most popular applications and websites, including Facebook (and Facebook Messenger), Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, Linkedin, WhatsApp, plus the most popular airline websites. The Social plan doesn't include Snapchat, Facetime, iMessage, in-app calling or access to any other apps or websites.
  • "Value Package" (costs USD 17 per day) offers access to all websites and apps, including e-mail, news, banking, sports, weather, all social media. The Value plan doesn't support music and video streaming or Skype calls.
  • "Premium Package" (costs USD 18,70 per day) offers the fastest possible Internet connection. Depending on coverage, speeds can be up to 3 times faster compared to the "Value Package". The Premium plan includes all apps and websites, plus streaming services and Skype video calling.

Since May 2017, CCL offers a new, convenient option for fully booked passengers to select and pre-purchase Wi-Fi packages through carnival.com ("My Cruise Manager" tab). However, when purchasing W-Fi online, passengers must also pre-purchase an Internet package covering the whole voyage.

Daily Internet packages are available onboard.

  • WiFi package costs USD 12 per day, with discount price $10,25 if pre-purchased (prior deprture), 24-hour / daily rate $16.
  • Premium WiFi package costs USD 17,70 per day ($14,88 if pre-purchased), , 24-hour / daily rate $25.

Booked Carnival cruise ship passengers can upgrade from one plan to another and are also allowed to use multiple devices per plan (including the ship's onboard computers), but only on one device at a time. All the new Carnival WiFi plans do not include video streaming (Hulu, Netflix, Amazon Prime) and don't support WiFi Calling (voice calls via the ship's Wi-Fi network) and Facetime (Apple's videotelephony) services. Printing services on the ship are provided at no charge.

Carnival "Future Cruise" booking

In May 2017, Carnival Cruise Line started offering new incentives to customers on current voyages if they book next cruise while on the ship.

  • Cruisers are able to book a future Carnival cruise either while on the ship or within 2 weeks after the current cruise. Booking ashore can be done through travel agent or the Carnival HUB app. Onboard booking is through Loyalty and Cruise Rep. Before May 2017, passengers could only book a future cruise through onboard reps.
  • At the time of booking, passengers are entitled to the following perks: reduced deposit, 2-category cabin upgrade, 20% off "Early Saver" rates with price protection.
  • Passengers who opt to change the cruise date lose their onboard credit. That credit is forfeited in case the price drops and customers opt to rebook. Before May 2017, the amount of onboard credit offered was varying depending on itinerary's length, Now it is a flat rate of USD 25 per person (up to USD 50 per cabin) excepting suite staterooms, which receive USD 50 per person in onboard credit (up to USD 100 per cabin).
  • Travel agents are able to book their customers into a group booking with the offer.
  • Carnival's "Friends and Family" vouchers are not offered anymore. They used to allow passengers who may like to sail with you to get the same discount deal.

Carnival is the only cruise company allowing its customers to take advantage of a "Future Cruise Vacation" promo up to 2 weeks after the end of the voyage (debarkation).

In late-December 2018 was signed a contract with Speedcast (world's largest global satellite comm provider) to improve fleet's connectivity at sea. By this contract, Carnival increased fleet's bandwidth in order to provide highest-quality Internet at sea. Utilizing a total of 40 mini-satellites, Carnival now has the world's largest maritime satellite network. Specifically for Carnival, Speedcast developed the TrueBeam system, which constantly looks for weaknesses which would impact the satellite signal and instantly reroutes it to avoid interruptions. Such interruptions could be weather ("rain fade"), overcrowded networks and line-of-sight blockage.

Carnival fly-cruise deals Fly2Fun

Since 2015, Carnival offers a "flight and cruise" program (branded Fly2Fun) providing the company's potential customers with choice, convenience, and value when making flight arrangements in connection with the cruise.

Fly2Fun deals allow customizing flight reservations with different options, including the specifying preferred departure ports, flight schedules, airline/carrier, type of accommodation. Confirmations are received after making the reservation. Flights can be customized to allow pre- or post-cruise hotel stays.

  • The Fly2Fun program is operated with Carnival's "Flight Protection". It guarantees that in case of missing the cruise departure (due to aircraft mechanical or weather-related issues) Carnival will fully cover the airfare, plus all the expenses related to transportation, meals, and hotels for the booked passengers to meet the ship in the next call port of the cruise itinerary.
  • Within Carnival's flight cruise program there are 2 options available - "Restricted Air" and "Flexible Air".
  • With Flexible Air, potential Carnival customers (or travel agents) can book cruise up to 4 days prior to departure with the "Book Now-Pay Later" feature. With this option, flights payment is collected together with the cruise's final payment. There are no fees if air changes are made outside of 60 days prior to departure.
  • With "Restricted Air", flight tickets are non-refundable and due paid in full upon booking. Change fees are based on the airline's policy, once air tickets are issued.

Fly2Fun (Carnival fly-cruise deals) are bookable only via phone. After the cruise reservation is made, customers can call "1-800-CARNIVAL" to make a flight reservation.

In November 2018, Carnival partnered with American Airlines for a new exclusive fly-cruise offer.

  • Members of the airline's loyalty program (AAdvantage) can earn up to 10,000 miles on voyages. AAdvantage cardholders can earn up to 20,000 miles.
  • The deal includes Citi AAdvantage Platinum Card and Citi AAdvantage Platinum Select World Elite Mastercard.
  • AAdvantage members earn 1 mile per dollar spent on Carnival cruises. AAdvantage cardholders earn 2 miles per dollar spent.
  • Miles are awarded per stateroom, but only 1 passenger per booking can earn rewards. AAdvantage cardholders must book the cruise through "American Airlines Cruises" using their card to get an additional mile per dollar spent.
  • The exclusive deal was offered on Carnival voyages November 1, 2018, through August 31, 2021.

In late-February 2020, was introduced a new Fly2Fun option - upon online booking customers now can secure the flight arrangements (Flexible Air or Restricted Air) right after completing the voyage booking. The upgraded Fly2Fun allows booked customers to select flight dates and preferred airline and receive (online) immediate confirmation.

Carnival's "Great Vacation Guarantee"

Since 2013, Carnival is the company providing industry's biggest and strongest vacation guarantee ever - "Great Vacation Guarantee". Starting with the Victory ship cruise from Miami (September 12, 2013), this new brand-building initiative allows CCL passengers to end their cruise vacation early if they aren't happy with the experience - and to receive a 110% refund in OBC. And this is not all!

  • Unhappy customers also get a free air transportation home.
  • Plus free ground transportation from the next call port.
  • Plus free hotel stays (if necessary).
  • Plus USD 100 onboard credit for a future Carnival cruise booking.
  • Booking shore excursions through Carnival is the best deal in terms of money, quality of service and guaranteed ship departure/arrival times.

The only requirement is passengers must claim their unhappiness on the ship and within the first 24 hours after boarding.

Carnival HUB app

HUB app is a free download mobile app allowing onboard chatting between Carnival passengers. The app also provides access to ship-related information. A fee of USD 5 per device per cruise is required to activate the chat feature. The other functions are at no cost.

The HUB app was last updated in June 2017 and now offers the хew features weather forecast (for each day of the itinerary), dining menus, tips info (dress code, shipboard events schedules, deck plans, ports info). App's design was also updated.

Hub app also allows checking the Sail & Sign onboard account, viewing maps, scheduled events, dining and drinking options, add favorites. On select ships via Hub app can also be purchased tours/shore excursions. The app is available for Apple and Android mobile devices.

Carnival EasyPay

"Carnival EasyPay" was introduced in June 2017. This is Carnival Cruise Line's pay-over-time program allowing customers to book a cruise and pay for it in 3 monthly installments.

  • The program (cruise ship industry's first) is designed as a hassle-free cruise payment option. It allows booked passengers' to deduct cruise payments automatically (from the credit card on file). Then the payments are applied to the current balance over a 3-month period - interest-free.
  • The customer makes the initial deposit, then the balance of the cruise is charged in 3 equal payments - taken out automatically (on the designated day) for 3 consecutive months.
  • Booked cruise passengers can either register for "Carnival EasyPay" (at carnival.com) or call.
  • Travel agents can sign up in order to process payments on behalf of their clients.

Since 2017, Carnival Cruise Line accept PayPal as digital payment method available from any device. Via PayPal, customers can securely choose their payment methods for purchases - credit card, debit card, bank account or PayPal balance.

PayPal can be used by cruise ship tourists upon making their initial deposits on the voyage or any balance due. In addition to PayPal, Carnival also accepts all major credit cards, including Visa, MasterCard, American Express, Discover, Diner's Club, MasterPass.

PayPal allows CCL customers to make online purchases more quickly and securely. PayPal can be used as a payment option for any of Carnival cruise itineraries with durations 3- to 15-days, visiting ports both USA and international ports and destinations.

(NEW) Carnival cruise passengers debarkation policy

In August 2018 the company changed its passengers' debarkation policy.

  • Only customers who exceeded duty-free allowance must complete one US Customs Declaration Form per household, including family members traveling with them and residing at the same address.
  • On the day prior debarkation, new Zone-numbered luggage tags are offered in a shipboard designated area (listed in Carnival's Debarkation Flyer). This doesn't apply to passengers who choose self-assist debarkation.
  • Passengers may pick up luggage tags with desired debarkation time (subject to availability). Each tag has to be filled out and attached to luggage. It's recommended not to disembark until your zone has been called as your luggage will not be available for pick-up.
  • Passengers who use the new luggage tag system must leave luggage outside the stateroom (in the hallway) the night before debarkation (collection between 10 pm and midnight).
  • To avoid confusion, luggage tags used during boarding must be removed, leaving just the zone-numbered tags.
  • Passengers with confiscated stuff can reclaim them starting at 6:30 am (debarkation morning) in the designated area.
  • Upon debarkation, each passenger must present Sign & Sail card for scanning by ship's security (to know when the entire cruise liner has been cleared of travelers).

Carnival ship lifeguards

In April 2017, at the Clia Cruise 360 conference in Fort Lauderdale Florida , Carnival Cruise Line's president Christine Duffy reaffirmed that the company wouldn't add onboard lifeguards to the Fun Ships soon. Mrs. Duffy stated that "the responsibility for pool safety must be with the parents onboard and our employees".

On each of the Carnival ships, there are three full-time attendants (at the waterworks facility/ aqua park with slides), which are swimming pool safety, CPR and first aid trained. Still, the safest system remains "vigilance and awareness".

  • For comparison, NCL Norwegian Cruise Line started employing certified lifeguards (on its largest vessels only) in summer 2017. NCL's lifeguards were employed fleetwide by 2018. The announcement made NCL the 3rd major cruise company with lifeguards onboard its ships - following Disney and Royal Caribbean . The onboard NCL lifeguards are stationed only at the family pools during scheduled swimming pool hours. This staff is "American Red Cross" trained and certified. NCL also offers complimentary swim vests for both adults and kids. Parents can obtain safety vests at the Lido Deck's towel station during daytime hours.
  • NCL started testing monitoring through CCTV cameras at family pools (on fleet's largest ships only) since 2015. So adding full-time lifeguards was a decision for more safety on pool decks. However, it should be known that lifeguards don't replace parental supervision and that parents (legal guardians) remain the best form for preventing onboard accidents.
  • RCI Royal Caribbean employs cruise ship lifeguards since February 2017 (by the line's "water safety program"). RCI's onboard lifeguards are dressed in special uniforms (bright red and white) and stationed at every onboard swimming pool, including at the Solarium (adults-only retreat) during the complex' opening hours.
  • Disney Cruise Line employs certified lifeguards since 2013.

In mid-October 2019, Carnival issued the following safety briefing video that outlines all the fleet's main shipboard safety regulations .

"Fun Ship Freddy" is Carnival's mascot in the shape of the company's distinctive funnel.

Former Carnival liners

All vessel names have the prefix "Carnival", and are also referred to as "Carnival Fun Ships". The first Carnival liner (second-hand vessel) was "MS Mardi Gras".

Carnival Mardi Gras cruise ship

Next, are listed Carnival ships no longer part of the company's fleet. In brackets are shown the years the vessels served CCL.

  • MS MARDI GRAS (1972-1993), the first-ever Carnival cruise ship/1961-built ocean liner ("Empress of Canada"), scrapped 2003, weight 27300 GT, passengers 1240, former names Olympic, Star of Texas, Lucky Star, Apollo, Apollon.
  • MS CARNIVALE (1975-1994), an ocean liner built in 1956 as "Empress of Britain", scrapped in 2008, weight 25500 GT, passengers 1124, former names Queen Anna Maria, Fiesta Marina, The Topaz.
  • MS FESTIVALE (1977-1996), an ocean liner built in 1961 as "RMS Transvaal Castle", scrapped 2003, weight 32700 GT, passengers 726, former names SA Vaal, Island Breeze, Big Red Boat III.
  • MS TROPICALE (1982-2001), built 1982, tonnage 36700 GT, the first newbuild Carnival liner, named after the CCL service as Costa Tropicale, Pacific Star, Ocean Dream (2008-2020/scrapped).
  • MS JUBILEE (1986-2004), 47300 GT, passengers 1490-1900 (max), sold to P&O Australia in 2004, renamed Pacific Sun, sold in 2012 to a Chinese company (serves as the gambling ship MS Henna (scrapped in 2017).
  • MS CELEBRATION (1987-2008), now Grand Celebration , Sweden-built, weight 47300 GT, passengers 1490 (max 1900), transferred to iberoCruceros, currently operated by Bahamas Paradise Cruise Line .
  • MS HOLIDAY (1985-2009, scrapped in 2021 as CMV Magellan ), Denmark-built, weight 46000 GT, passengers 1450 (max 1800), transferred to iberoCruceros, later chartered by CMV (Cruise and Maritime Voyages) .

On May 10, 2018, in Miami was officially opened Carnival's "Fleet Operations Center". The 35,000 ft2 facility allows simultaneous real-time monitoring of all ships in the fleet. The main feature is its 74 ft (22,5 m) long video wall composed of 57x LED screens. The data processed here includes itinerary information, current position, weather conditions, logistics, environmental status, guest operations. The interactive world map shows also current locations of all Carnival Corporation ships (all brands). The center is staffed 24 / 7. The Corporation also owns similar monitoring centers in Seattle and Hamburg .

(Coronavirus crisis) passenger shipping pause 2020-2021

Due to the COVID pandemic, CCL-Carnival suspended its fleet's passenger shipping operations by canceling all voyages with pre-scheduled departures in the period March 13, 2020, through July 2021.

Next are listed CCL-Carnival's first departure dates by ship/homeport - BREEZE (July 15, 2021/Galveston Texas), CELEBRATION (Nov 6, 2022/ Maiden Voyage /Transatlantic Southampton-Miami), CONQUEST (Dec 13, 2021/Miami), DREAM (Sept 19, 2021/Galveston TX), ECSTASY (March 7, 2022/Jacksonville FL), ELATION (Oct 11, 2021/Port Canaveral), FREEDOM (Oct 9, 2021/Miami), GLORY (Sept 19, 2021/NOLA New Orleans), HORIZON (July 4, 2021/Miami), LEGEND (Nov 14, 2021/Baltimore to Bermuda), LIBERTY (January 3, 2022/Port Canaveral), MAGIC (Aug 7, 2021/Port Canaveral), MARDI GRAS (July 31, 2021/Port Canaveral/ Maiden Voyage ), MIRACLE (July 27, 2021/Alaska from Seattle), PANORAMA (Aug 21, 2021/Long Beach LA), PARADISE (March 12, 2022/Tampa), PRIDE (Sept 12, 2021/Baltimore to Bahamas), RADIANCE (Dec 13, 2021/Long Beach LA), SPIRIT (March 7, 2022/Jacksonville FL/Brisbane Australia 2022-24 schedule was canceled), SPLENDOR (May 2, 2022/Alaska from Seattle/Sydney Australia 2022-24 schedule was canceled), SUNRISE (Aug 14, 2021/Miami), SUNSHINE (January 13, 2022/Charleston SC), VALOR (Nov 1, 2021/NOLA New Orleans), VISTA (July 3, 2021/Galveston Texas), JUBILEE (October 30, 2023/ Maiden Voyage /Transatlantic from Southampton to Galveston).

  • The 2020-built Mardi Gras ship's inaugural sailing (Caribbean from Port Canaveral) was rescheduled from April 24 to May 29, June 5, July 3, Oct 2.
  • Carnival Radiance (fka Carnival Victory) restarted from Long Beach (3-4-night Catalina Island and Ensenada) on December 23 (rescheduled from Nov 5th due to revised drydock plans).
  • Carnival Legend's Europe 2021 program (May 17 - October 31/Mediterranean from Barcelona) was canceled and the ship restarted on Nov 14, out of Baltimore to Bermuda.
  • Carnival Australia ships were planned to restart in 2022 on April 16 (SPLENDOR from Sydney NSW) and April 17 (SPIRIT from Brisbane QLD), but in February 2022, both programs were canceled and the ships redeployed.
  • CCL's newest boat (Carnival Celebration's Maiden Voyage) was scheduled for Nov 6, 2022 (Transatlantic from Southampton to Miami).

All affected bookings received full monetary refunds (100%), including on prepurchased through CCL packages and services. With rebooking (made by May 31, 2021), refunds were in FCC (future cruise credit) transferred to the new booking. Cruises 5-day or shorter received a full monetary refund or a 100% refund in FCC plus USD 300 in OBC (onboard credit) per stateroom. Cruises 6-day and longer received a full monetary refund or a 100% FCC plus USD 600 in OBC per stateroom. Booking cancelations prior to the final payment were penalty-free - unless the booking was on a specific promo offer with a non-refundable deposit and/or cruise fare.

IMPORTANT : In mid-June 2020, Carnival Corporation (CCL's parent company) announced that intends to sell 13 ships in FY2020 - instead of the previously expected fleet optimization planned over the next 3-5 years.

  • The list of sold for scrapping liners includes Carnival Inspiration (1996-built, age 24) and Carnival Fantasy (1990 / 30-yo). On July 23, CCL announced that Fantasy and Inspiration are sold but not to be scrapped. The same statement mentioned that the ships Fascination and Imagination move to a cold lay-up (long term no-sail) status.
  • Carnival Fascination's schedule 2020-2021 based on homeporting in San Juan (Puerto Rico) and Bridgetown (Barbados) was canceled. The ship's new homeport (Mobile AL) and itineraries in 2022 were also canceled. On September 16 was announced that Carnival Fascination is sold (to an undisclosed buyer, hopefully not for scrap).

Itinerary of Carnival Cruise Line

Carnival Luminosa (former Costa ship) started an inaugural season in Australia in November 2022, based on homeporting in Brisbane Queensland .

In 2023 starts the "COSTA by CARNIVAL" cruise program (CCL and Costa Cruises) that targets CCL's North American customers. The program is based on two newbuild Costa ships - Venezia (starting in June 2023 with homeporting in NYC New York USA ) followed by Firenze (starting in May 2024 with homeporting in Long Beach/Los Angeles California USA ). Both Costa liners are CCL-managed (while operating out of the USA).

Former CCL vessels (scrapped in 2020-2022)

Carnival Fantasy (1990-built/30-year-old) and Carnival Inspiration (1996-built/24-year-old) were sold for scrap in July 2020/ Carnival Imagination (1995-built/25-year-old) was sold in August/ and later dismantled at Aliaga Turkey .

Carnival Fascination (1994-built/28-year-old) was sold in August 2020 and scrapped in February 2022 at Gadani Pakistan .

In 2022, the CCL fleet left Carnival Ecstasy (1991-built/31-year-old) and Carnival Sensation (1993-built/29-year-old).

Itinerary changes

CCL-Carnival established cruise ship operations in China via a partnership with its local subsidiary company Costa Asia (in China since 2008).

Representing 90% of CCL's American capacity, by February 2022, the fleet's USA-based homeporting operations covered the following ports and ships

  • Galveston TX : Breeze, Dream, Vista
  • Miami FL : Conquest, Freedom, Horizon, Sunrise
  • Port Canaveral FL : Mardi Gras, Elation, Magic, Liberty
  • New Orleans (Port NOLA) : Glory, Valor
  • Long Beach (Los Angeles CA) :Miracle, Panorama, Radiance
  • Baltimore MD : Legend
  • Tampa FL :Pride
  • Charleston SC : Sunshine

In summer 2025-2026 (starting May 2025) CCL homeports in LA/Long Beach three ships (Firenze, Panorama, Radiance) for 4- to 8-day roundtrip itineraries visiting destinations along the Mexican Riviera (Cabo San Lucas, Puerto Vallarta, Mazatlan) and Baja California (Ensenada, La Paz).

Follows a review of CCL-Carnival Cruise Lines' itinerary program for 2023-2024 scheduled itineraries. For sailing dates (departures, arrivals), call ports times and cruise prices (per person) follow the ship pages listed below.

Carnival AirShip

The 128-ft (39-m) long Carnival AirShip is a painted like cruise ship dirigible. The blimp floated around Galveston and Houston (September 7-8-9, 2018) as part of a 30-day air voyage across the Southern USA. The voyage started in Nashville TN (Aug 25) and ended in Atlanta GA (Sept 26-30), visiting along the route Memphis TN (Aug 29), Dallas (Sept 1-3), Austin (Sept 4), San Antonio (Sept 5), Houston (Sept 7-9), Galveston (Sept 9), New Orleans (Sept 10), Mobile AL (Sept 13), Tampa (Sept 15), Miami (Sept 16-20), Orlando (Sept 21), Canaveral (Sept 22) and Jacksonville (Sept 23).

Carnival AirShip is part of the company's marketing campaign about homeport changes (new ship deployments) - Carnival Vista (Galveston, since September 23), Carnival Horizon , ( Miami , since September 22), Carnival Breeze ( Port Canaveral , since September 30), and Carnival Magic (Miami, since September 30).

Carnival cruises to Cuba

Carnival expanded its cruises to Cuba with an additional 23 three- to five-day itineraries to Havana in 2020 planned for 5 different liners departing from 4 US East Coast homeports - Carnival Triumph (from Fort Lauderdale ), Carnival Sunshine (from Charleston SC ), Carnival Sensation (from Miami ). Carnival Sunshine was the biggest passenger ship to ever visit Havana and the liner with the first-ever Cuba cruise from Charleston SC. The new Cuba cruises include:

  • Carnival Sunshine : 8 five-day voyages featuring Freeport and Havana departing January 6, February 3 and 17, March 2, 16 and 30, April 13 and 27, 2020.
  • Carnival Triumph-Sunrise : 8 five-day itineraries featuring an overnight in Havana and a day-long visit to Nassau departing January 11, February 8 and 22, March 7 and 21, April 4 and 18, 2020; as well as a 5-day cruise featuring an overnight in Havana and a visit to Half Moon Cay departing January 20, 2020.
  • Carnival Sensation : 4-day voyage featuring an overnight in Havana and an extended visit to Nassau departing on March 19, 2020, as well as a couple of 5-day trips with an overnight in Havana and visits to Nassau and Freeport departing February 15 and 29, 2020.

Note: According to the current Cuban law, US citizens of Cuban origin (born in Cuba) are not allowed to visit the island country (including on cruise ships). Regardless of their US citizenship status, Cuba-born Americans were denied booking on cruise itineraries visiting ports in Cuba. However, the situation changed in April 2016, after Carnival Corporation negotiated with the Cuban government to allow ships with Cuban-born passengers, as such US citizens are allowed to visit the country on USA-Cuba charter flights. The Carnival-fathom cruise line started Miami to Cuba cruises in May 2016 with the P&O UK ship Adonia (now Azamara Pursuit) . The brand was terminated in April 2017.

Alaska Airlines offers regular nonstop flights to Havana from Los Angeles (California USA). An 80-min ling JetBlue flight from Fort Lauderdale (Florida) to Havana costs less than USD 100. Previously, air travel from the USA to Cuba was thought charter flights only.

Carnival Journeys cruise itineraries

Since 2015, Carnival Cruise Line offers the so-called "Carnival Journeys" itineraries. These are longer than usual voyages with length ranging between 9 and 15 nights. Some are one-way (relocation cruises).

"Carnival Journeys" offer a more in-depth port of call experiences than the shorter itineraries of 7-8 nights. Among the highlights are live entertainment and exotic culinary experiences that reflect the local cuisine and cultural traditions.

The onboard "journey" experiences feature local cuisine specialties (served in the Main Dining Room), cooking demonstration, Academy of Fun (expert lectures), traditional dance performances, themed deck parties, crew connections (opportunities to connect with the ship's staff and crew). The new program "Carnival Journeys" features destinations like Hawaii, Caribbean, Mexico, Panama Canal, Europe.

Among the wide variety of offers are over cruises of up to 5 days, providing passengers with many "mini-cruise" options, including new 4- and 5-day deployments for Carnival Valor ( from Port Canaveral ) and Carnival Victory-Radiance (from Miami ). Longer Carnival Journeys visit exotic ports. Bermuda cruises depart from 7 East Coast USA homeports. The unique Panama Canal cruises on Carnival Pride leave from Tampa .

New Carnival Caribbean cruise shore excursions

Since July 2015, Carnival Cruise Line offers new shore excursions, new customized private tours and new family-friendly enhancements with complimentary beachside activities and complimentary land tours in select Caribbean ports of call. The min age requirement is 5 yo.

The new tour deals pertain to over 50 call ports in Mexico, Hawaii, Bahamas, Caribbean, Canada New England, South America.

  • Cozumel (La Casa en la Playa) 5-hour tour offers luxury limited to 30 participants who have access to a beach house for the day with 5-star service provided by the wait staff and personal chef. They also can learn Mexican cooking, making Margaritas and mojitos.
  • Cozumel ("Photo Safari and Beach Expedition') is a 2-days tour starting with a 1-hour photo seminar on the cruise ship. On the next day, the tour continues with visiting a national park and beaches.
  • Ocho Rios ("Eat, Drink and Dance') is a food-themed tour about Jamaica's culture, music, and food. After food tasting at jerk hut, passengers enjoy dining at Miss T's Kitchen. Follows a visit to a beach bar (where mixologists create rum cocktails), then ends with reggae dance lessons.
  • Ocho Rios ("Jamaican Home for the Day') is a day-long tour on which cruise passengers enjoy their own Jamaican home, with included home-cooked lunch.
  • Charlotte Amalie / St Thomas Island USVI ("Eat, Drink and Walk") is a walking tour starting with a bus-drive to StPeter Mountain Great House and Botanical Gardens. Passengers can try 24 different local rums and learn how to make banana daiquiri and local food.

CCL also offers new "family-friendly" cruise shore excursions in the Bahamas, Mexico, and the Caribbean. On these tours, kids aged 5 and under receive complimentary beach excursions if their parents book the excursion.

  • Freeport Bahamas ("Family Beach Escape') tour starts with a bus ride to a beach resort, where kids enjoy treasure hunts, face-painting, sandcastle-making competitions, and other supervised outdoor activities. Lunch is included.
  • Cozumel ("Island Beach Escape for Families by Power Catamaran') tour starts with a power catamaran ride to Passion Island and its white-sand beaches and resort facilities. Adults enjoy water trampolines, pedal boats, beach volleyball, while kids play is a dedicated beachside playground. A Mexican-style buffet is included.
  • Nassau Bahamas ("Family Treasure Hunt with Lunch at Blue Lagoon') - discover hidden treasures, answer trivia questions, win Pirate's Bounty. Grilled lunch at Blue Lagoon Island is included.
  • Montego Bay Jamaica ("All Inclusive Family Beach Resort Getaway') tour is at Seawinds Beach Club and includes live entertainment and complimentary buffet lunch.

Carnival offers private tours via motor coaches, yachts, and helicopters. These excursions are all guided by experienced locals. Carnival ships have a new tour dispatch system, from where tours depart as local operators board the ship to meet the participants.

All new cruisetour offers complement CCL's "Shore Excursion Best Price Guarantee" providing a 110% refund in OBC/onboard credit if passengers find a better price on similar land tour deals. Each Fun Ship also has a dedicated "shore excursion desk" with experienced staff to answer any questions and to recommend particular tours. The company's tour section was revamped with enhanced navigation, more videos, and photos, online reservations, guest-written tour reviews.

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Charleston Just Told Carnival It Can No Longer Sail Out Of Its Port Starting In 2024, Here’s Why

carnival cruise ships no longer in service

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South Carolina is saying goodbye to Carnival Cruise Line starting in 2024, and the state is happy to see the company go!

No More Departures 

The South Carolina Ports Authority is ending its deal with Carnival, preventing the cruise line from departing from Charleston. Carnival ships are currently using the Union Pier Terminal for departures and arrivals. A lot of those journeys are short — heading to the Caribbean and back. The state’s decision ends a 14-year contract. Carnival will still be able to use the port, but only for the day. 

Right now, Carnival Sunshine calls Charleston home, and will continue to do so until early 2024. The last cruise from the South Carolina port is scheduled for April 27, 2024. The 5-day sail will stop in Nassau, Bahamas, and the Carnival-owned island of Half Moon Cay before returning to Charleston one last time.

Controlling Tourism

Charleston officials are applauding the state’s decision, citing a large number of cruise departures throughout the year. In addition to limiting cruise departures, the South Carolina Ports Authority is limiting ships to no more than 104 visits per year and no ship can hold more than 3,500 passengers. Charleston’s mayor says eliminating these departures will allow the city to redevelop the Union Pier Terminal and open up more opportunities for city growth and vitality. 

“We’re grateful to the port for taking this critically important step, and we look forward to continuing to work with [South Carolina Ports Authority] to make Union Pier a beautiful and vibrant part of the city of Charleston,” said Mayor John Tecklenburg.

Charleston is following in Key West’s footsteps in limiting cruise departures as a way to control tourism. In 2020, Key West voters approved a measure to severely limit the number of cruise ships allowed to dock there. But, the state of Florida reversed that decision a year later.

Whether you’re heading to Charleston for a cruise or for the weekend this summer, be sure to check out our list of top beaches near Charleston , plus 12 charming vacation rentals .

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Amy’s passion for traveling and writing started at a young age. She grew up traveling with her family -- visiting three continents by the time she was 16. She’s always looking for her next trip and isn't happy until she has at least one (or two) on the horizon. She is most fulfilled when she’s exploring new areas like a local and finding good deals on travel and activities.

Amy studied broadcast journalism at the University of Missouri-Columbia. She started her career as a TV news producer in Tulsa and Denver, winning 4 Emmy Awards for her work. She’s also worked in production for HGTV and as a spokeswoman for a small Colorado mountain town.

Amy is married with two young kids. Both kids got their passports before age one, as it’s her goal to instill the travel bug in them from a young age. If you can’t find Amy at an airport, you can find her trying out new restaurants, reading, or running.

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Carnival cruise line no longer departing from charleston after 2024.

Cruise ships will no longer start their journeys from Charleston by the end of 2024, the South Carolina Ports Authority said.

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CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) — Cruise ships will no longer start their journeys from Charleston by the end of 2024, the South Carolina Ports Authority said.

The authority decided to not renew a deal with Carnival Cruise Line that allowed cruises to begin and end from the Union Pier Terminal in downtown Charleston.

Cruise ships can continue to dock at Charleston, but only for brief, same-day port of call stops, The Post and Courier of Charleston reported.

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The decision should cut the number of cruise passengers in Charleston down by 80%, officials said.

The State Ports Authority said it will no longer work on plans to redevelop a warehouse at the Union Pier into a cruise terminal. Permits to start the project have been tied up for years by lawsuits from conservation and historical preservation groups.

Instead, the authority said it will look into selling the land it owns to a private developer.

Charleston Mayor John Tecklenburg said the decision by the authority will improve the quality of life in his city.

“We’re grateful to the port for taking this critically important step, and we look forward to continuing to work with (State Ports Authority) to make Union Pier a beautiful and vibrant part of the city of Charleston,” Tecklenburg said.

Currently, about 70 cruises a year leave Charleston for the Bahamas and other Eastern Caribbean destinations.

Carnival Cruise Line officials said they will continue to work with the authority to find options to use Charleston.

“In the meantime, it is business as usual, and we look forward to seeing our guests aboard Carnival Sunshine through 2024,” Carnival spokesman Matt Lupoli said.

After that deal is finished, the Ports Authority said it will continue to follow a voluntary limit of no more than 104 cruise ship visits a year, and no stops by ships that carry more than 3,500 passengers.

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Cruises ships to no longer depart from Charleston after 2024

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CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) — Cruise ships will no longer start their journeys from Charleston by the end of 2024, the South Carolina Ports Authority said.

The authority decided to not renew a deal with Carnival Cruise Line that allowed cruises to begin and end from the Union Pier Terminal in downtown Charleston.

Cruise ships can continue to dock at Charleston, but only for brief, same-day port of call stops, The Post and Courier of Charleston reported.

The decision should cut the number of cruise passengers in Charleston down by 80%, officials said.

The State Ports Authority said it will no longer work on plans to redevelop a warehouse at the Union Pier into a cruise terminal. Permits to start the project have been tied up for years by lawsuits from conservation and historical preservation groups.

Instead, the authority said it will look into selling the land it owns to a private developer.

Charleston Mayor John Tecklenburg said the decision by the authority will improve the quality of life in his city.

“We’re grateful to the port for taking this critically important step, and we look forward to continuing to work with (State Ports Authority) to make Union Pier a beautiful and vibrant part of the city of Charleston,” Tecklenburg said.

Currently, about 70 cruises a year leave Charleston for the Bahamas and other Eastern Caribbean destinations.

Carnival Cruise Line officials said they will continue to work with the authority to find options to use Charleston.

“In the meantime, it is business as usual, and we look forward to seeing our guests aboard Carnival Sunshine through 2024,” Carnival spokesman Matt Lupoli said.

After that deal is finished, the Ports Authority said it will continue to follow a voluntary limit of no more than 104 cruise ship visits a year, and no stops by ships that carry more than 3,500 passengers.

carnival cruise ships no longer in service

Virgin Voyages, Carnival alter itineraries to avoid Red Sea amid continued attacks

carnival cruise ships no longer in service

More cruise lines are rerouting ships to avoid the Red Sea, amid continued attacks in the area.

Virgin Voyages altered a repositioning cruise on its Resilient Lady ship, departing from Sydney, Australia, on March 27, impacting the journey’s three legs. The vessel will now sail from Sydney to Cape Town until April 17; from Cape Town to Barcelona through May 4; and from Barcelona to Athens through May 9.

Resilient Lady was originally scheduled to sail from Sydney to Singapore; from Singapore to Dubai; and from Dubai to Athens (guests could book one or multiple segments of the 43-day voyage).

“The safety of our passengers and crew is our number one priority,” a spokesperson for the line said in a statement. “Like many other cruise brands, we have been watching the current conflict in the Middle East closely, connecting regularly with global security experts to consider the impacts to the repositioning voyages planned for Resilient Lady in 2024. We remain concerned about potential escalations in this part of the world over the next 12 months and the risk that this presents for safe passage through the region.”

Guests booked on the original three legs “will have guaranteed spots on these sailings at no additional cost and a price protection commitment in place,” the spokesperson said. They can also opt for a future cruise credit based on the amount they paid or a full refund.

The line is reviewing similar voyages and will share updates on any other changes in the coming weeks.

The Iranian-backed Houthis have launched dozens of attacks on commercial and naval vessels in the Red Sea in the wake of the Israel-Hamas war . The Yemen-based militants have claimed they are showing solidarity with the Palestinians (though experts say their motivations are more complex ).

What other cruise lines have changed itineraries to avoid the Red Sea?

The news comes after Carnival Corp., the parent company of major cruise lines including Carnival Cruise Line, Princess Cruises and Holland America Line, said late last month that it would alter itineraries for a dozen ships set to transit the Red Sea through May.

“The company has not seen an impact on booking trends due to the Red Sea situation and has no other Red Sea transits until November 2024,” Carnival Corp. said in a news release . The changes will impact seven of its brands, but a spokesperson declined to share specifics on which lines and cruises were affected.

Silversea Cruises and MSC Cruises also previously canceled sailings to avoid the area.

Nathan Diller is a consumer travel reporter for USA TODAY based in Nashville. You can reach him at [email protected].

TheStreet

Carnival Cruise Line makes a big main dining room change

R egular cruisers seem to resist change even when it's arguably for the better. That's because people go into a cruise with certain expectations and when something changes, those expectations may not be met.

That makes it incredibly difficult for cruise lines to make any changes to their menu which became evident last year when both Carnival Cruise Line ( CCL ) and Royal Caribbean completely overhauled their main dining room (MDR) menus.

Related: Royal Caribbean makes a huge free dining improvement

When you serve thousands of passengers on each ship and millions of people each year, every tweak you make invariably gets rid of someone's favorite item. Royal Caribbean, you can argue, made negative changes to its dinner menus (albeit at least partially for noble reasons.

The cruise line pared down its MDR menus and moved to a themed night set up in the interest of cutting down on food waste and offering faster service. Royal Caribbean also dropped the "Classics" section of its menu which offered basic items like shrimp cocktail, French onion soup. New York strip steak, spaghetti bolognese, a basic chicken, and a few others. 

That arguably made the experience worse for picky eaters or families with young kids who don't have more daring palettes.

Some Carnival changes, like the cruise line charging $5 for every entree after the second one, could be seen as negatives. Carnival's MDR changes, on the other hand, were more focused on revamping its menu than on taking things away. Yes, a few items disappeared, but many more were added as the cruise line worked with its Chief Culinary Officer Emeril Lagasse. 

 Carnival makes another key MDR change

When a cruise line adds something to serve some passengers, other cruisers see it as it taking something away from them. If Royal Caribbean, for example, expands its vegan offerings or adds more Chinese dishes, passengers who no longer see their favorite item offered as often (or at all) will draw a line between the two situations.

That's how some Carnival passengers may take its latest dining change which Brand Ambassador John Heald shared on his Facebook page.

"Every ship now has a gluten-free menu each night. You will need to ask your waiter for this because it is not on the app or the QR code yet. Here it is for tonight and if you need this menu, just ask your waiter as I said, and he or she will bring it. But there is a different gluten-free menu every night," he shared.

The menu contains some new items and many items that were already available that are naturally or can be made, gluten-free. Carnival also has vegan and vegetarian menus that can be requested.

Both Carnival and Royal Caribbean offer gluten-free sections of their buffets.

Carnival and Royal Caribbean want to keep passengers safe

Both Carnival and Royal Caribbean will work to offer food that meets all dietary needs. In the past, however, someone with a gluten allergy or other food intolerance might have to pick their meals the night before or order from a limited selection of dishes.

They were also at the mercy of whether their waitstaff would fully understand their allergy. Someone who's allergic to tree nuts may not be allergic to peanuts. That's a bit nuanced and it can lead to problems.

Adding a gluten-free menu, along with the vegan and vegetarian menu makes it easier for waitstaff to serve people with those allergies or preferences. It also frees up some of their mental bandwidth and time to work with passengers who may have less common dietary restrictions.

For any special dining requests including allergies, both cruise lines have email addresses passengers can use to alert the ship before their cruise. That gives the cruise line time to make special arrangements or even bring on alternative ingredients if needed.     

Royal Caribbean does not have a printed gluten-free menu but offers many gluten-free items. The cruise line recommends that passengers tell their head waiter of any dietary concerns and that cruisers share those issues with specialty restaurants as well.

The main dining room on the Carnival Venenzia. Lead KL 111522

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Turn down service

By robinsra , January 31, 2020 in Carnival Cruise Lines

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Cool Cruiser

Hi, It has been a couple of years since we cruised Carnival at that time they cleaned your room twice a day.

They were switching to once a day but you still could request it be done twice. What is the policy now of getting your room cleaned.

Thanks so much.

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bury me at sea

Morning, evening, or both.  You might have to request both.

On the Vista, was offered morning or evening, requested both, and only got mornings until I asked at guest services if "both" was really an option. He also missed one morning completely. Lazy room steward. 

On the Magic, requested both and got both. 

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ALWAYS CRUZIN

The ask you when you are greeted by your steward. We like both. However the AM one might end before you are out of your room. Especially when the ship is in a port. You will need to call to request the room to be made up.

Organized Chaos

Organized Chaos

I think most stewards these days won't even offer both as an option when they talk to you about it, but it's still available if you want it. Since they have an increased workload now, I think they somewhat sneakily offer one or the other in hopes that the guest doesn't realize both are still an option. Obviously Carnival doesn't mind that they do it because they've been doing it ever since the policy changed 2-3 years ago.

8 hours ago, robinsra said: Hi, It has been a couple of years since we cruised Carnival at that time they cleaned your room twice a day. They were switching to once a day but you still could request it be done twice. What is the policy now of getting your room cleaned. Thanks so much.

They never switched to once a day.  They started offering the option of morning, evening or both. They used cards to start but people saw "Morning" and "Evening" listed but not "Both" and they assumed they could just choose one instead of checking Morning and Evening.  

PhillyFan33579

49 minutes ago, Elaine5715 said: They never switched to once a day.  They started offering the option of morning, evening or both. They used cards to start but people saw "Morning" and "Evening" listed but not "Both" and they assumed they could just choose one instead of checking Morning and Evening.  

Its just a matter of time before Carnival implements once a day cabin service, with the possible exception of suites. I have heard that directly from several hotel directors. 

7 hours ago, Organized Chaos said: I think most stewards these days won't even offer both as an option when they talk to you about it, but it's still available if you want it. Since they have an increased workload now, I think they somewhat sneakily offer one or the other in hopes that the guest doesn't realize both are still an option. Obviously Carnival doesn't mind that they do it because they've been doing it ever since the policy changed 2-3 years ago.

I am just off the Pride. My room steward asked me which I wanted and presented to me a notepad that had morning, evening, or both clearly as options. I checked morning, but asked if it was possible to get ice in the evening. She asked what time I wanted ice and in the few milliseconds it took me to think about my dinner time versus what time I might want ice, she said "Why don't I just do both?" So I got both  🤷‍♀️

Bostwick girl

We always get both. When we meet our steward/stewardess, I ask for both, show them my little cooler and ask that it be filled with ice every day. Never had a problem, especially after they happily take the $20 I give!

bafinegan

Even before the options,we always told the steward not to bother with the morning service. We like to sleep in and didnt want to feel like we had to vacate the room so the steward could clean ( not that we were ever pressured by anyone :)).  Now we just ask for evening service with ice.  And we always tip extra, usually at the beginning of the cruise ( but after we make our request).  I make a joke about here take this before the casino gets it 🥳 .

1 hour ago, iamsteph said: I am just off the Pride. My room steward asked me which I wanted and presented to me a notepad that had morning, evening, or both clearly as options. I checked morning, but asked if it was possible to get ice in the evening. She asked what time I wanted ice and in the few milliseconds it took me to think about my dinner time versus what time I might want ice, she said "Why don't I just do both?" So I got both  🤷‍♀️

We've only been given the little checklist sheet to mark it down ourselves one time. Other than that, they've asked us. The one time we were given the checklist, which was not long after the policy changed, it didn't have both as an option. I guess we could've checked off both of them, but there was no literal "both" choice. I think that's what throws people off who don't know they can still do both. And the stewards often word it in such a way to make it sound like it has to be one or the other. The times when our stewards asked us what we wanted, they didn't mention both as an option. And from what I've read of people's experiences on here, that seems to be what happens much of the time...they're asking guests instead of giving them the paper and they aren't actually telling people they can still choose both. In a way, I can't blame them because when Carnival reduced the number of stewards, their workload went up considerably. We could tell it's had an impact on the level of service on our last two cruises. But I still think they should be making it clear to everyone that both is an option. To be clear, our steward service hasn't been bad, it's just that they're so busy, they're not as readily available as they used to be. Before the cut in stewards, we'd see ours all the time . Now, not so much.

jimbo5544

There are threee options:  Morning, Evening or both.  Period. 

1 minute ago, jimbo5544 said: There are threee options:  Morning, Evening or both.  Period. 

For now Jimbo. I know you have better sources than I do, but I haven’t heard anything other than it will eventualLy change to once per day. Of course eventually doesn’t specify a time period.   

I was also told within the last year a change was coming to the VIFP program and they were going to “Sunshine” the Conquest class ships. I haven’t heard anything official about either of these issues, so my sources may not be very good. 

5 minutes ago, PhillyFan33579 said: For now Jimbo. I know you have better sources than I do, but I haven’t heard anything other than it will eventualLy change to once per day. Of course eventually doesn’t specify a time period.    I was also told within the last year a change was coming to the VIFP program and they were going to “Sunshine” the Conquest class ships. I haven’t heard anything official about either of these issues, so my sources may not be very good. 

there are times when I think the decisions are made with a flip of a coin. 

"Period." 🤣 It's not so cut & dry. Until all of the stewards make it clear to all of their passengers that having both is still an option, this question will continue to be asked. And they're not going to do that. Not everyone reads this forum, or other sources of info., so in the grand scheme of things, only a fraction of Carnival cruisers know that they can still get both. If the day does come when they truly make us choose one or the other, it won't be the end of the world, but will certainly disappoint many people. For us, it won't necessarily be easy to decide. Both morning and evening services have their pros and cons.

13 minutes ago, Organized Chaos said: "Period." 🤣 It's not so cut & dry. Until all of the stewards make it clear to all of their passengers that having both is still an option, this question will continue to be asked. And they're not going to do that. Not everyone reads this forum, or other sources of info., so in the grand scheme of things, only a fraction of Carnival cruisers know that they can still get both. If the day does come when they truly make us choose one or the other, it won't be the end of the world, but will certainly disappoint many people. For us, it won't necessarily be easy to decide. Both morning and evening services have their pros and cons.

The policy (might be to strong a word) is that cut and dried, but this dead horse has been beaten enough.  We go back and forth between asking for morning and evening, and routinely get asked are we sure we do not want both (we do not).  We can discuss how upset everyone would be if the policy changed when it occurs.  

We just got off the Horizon. Deck 10 offered only morning or evening not both. He provided the hours he worked and morning and evening option not both.

Bob NC

Just got off the Breeze Saturday.   

When our steward introduced himself he did not ask what our preference was.   

We received both morning and evening service every day.  

15 minutes ago, Bob NC said: Just got off the Breeze Saturday.    When our steward introduced himself he did not ask what our preference was.    We received both morning and evening service every day.  

We have had that as well, that said, offering options is not a bad thing, many really only want one. 

35 minutes ago, fyree39 said:   They requested what was offered, which is the polite thing to do. The polite thing for the steward to do is offer ALL choices to make it clear to the guest that both morning and evening service are available. Some stewards mislead the guest with an either/or message rather than a one or both message. We all know this, even you. 

I see one post where two was asked for and not delivered (until guest services was involved, apparently). I see no misleading at all. Every cruise we have been we have been asked, that is what I know.  Not sure what you “know”.  I think I am pretty in touch with how Carnival delivers to their guests. Maybe your view is jaded. Every thread on this topic seems that most only want once a day and some who feel ‘cheated’ for lack of better word take issue. The next comment will be that this Carnival trying to make a change by slight of hand.  Conspiracy theories pure and simple.  That’s what I know

Read the reply again, they did not request both

VentureMan_2000

carnivalmenu.jpg

57 minutes ago, VentureMan_2000 said: Do they still provide Guests with this card ?

Have not gotten one in a long time.  What is the significance of getting the card? 

49 minutes ago, jimbo5544 said: Have not gotten one in a long time.  What is the significance of getting the card? 

Provided to the cruiser to customize their room service, is what I read.

1 hour ago, VentureMan_2000 said: Provided to the cruiser to customize their room service, is what I read.

I get that, At the time they did it, it was to squash rumors that service was changing.  Since other than a rare instance here,  there is not any need any longer (my guess).  

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Passengers are furious after Norwegian Cruise Line removed Antarctica from its itinerary after everyone had boarded

  • Norwegian Cruise Line passengers are upset over a sudden itinerary change, skipping Antarctica.
  • Passengers voiced their disappointment on social media, accusing the company of poor communication.
  • The company cited "operational reasons" for the change, leaving passengers demanding answers.

Insider Today

Passengers aboard a Norwegian Cruise Line ship are furious about a change in their itinerary which means they are no longer heading to Antarctica.

Those aboard the cruise ship were expecting to travel to Antarctica and South America. But after they boarded, they noticed the trip's name was quietly changed on the app to "Round-trip of South America" last week.

On February 9, a TikTok account called @ruinedvacation was set up, where a woman expressed her frustration with what had happened and what she said was poor communication from the company.

"I'm on board Norwegian Star," the passenger said. "Our ship is not going to Antarctica."

@ruinedvacation @Norwegian Cruise Line we need answers #cruise #cruisetok #help #southamerica #antarctica #vacation #cruiseship #fyp #fypシ ♬ original sound - ruinedvacation

She said the name of the cruise had "secretively" been changed to a Round-trip of South America, and she believed the decision had been made before passengers boarded the ship.

She said customer service cited "operation reasons" for the change but did not elaborate.

According to the NZ Herald , a notification was sent to passengers to inform them they would not be reaching Antarctica

"While we try to maintain original itineraries as much as possible, unfortunately, at times modifications are made to optimise the itinerary or to accommodate certain circumstances," it read. "As such, in order to enhance the guest experience, the itinerary has been revised."

The woman behind @ruinedvacation said passengers began gathering in the communal foyer of the ship to demand answers.

"Customer service are refusing to acknowledge us," she said, showing the large crowd of angry passengers that was forming.

"They've sent a security officer out to calm us down, but we just refuse to be told: 'Sorry we're not going, and we're not going to give you reasons.'"

She said passengers felt "scammed" by the ordeal because everyone on the ship had paid "a lot of money" to go to Antarctica. Trip costs vary, but one passenger on Facebook said he had paid $13,000 for his ticket.

"They think we're idiots," she said. "We're not idiots, and we're not prepared to just accept this sitting down."

Passengers also discussed the situation in the Facebook group "Norwegian Star South America & Antarctica," saying they were not being provided answers of effective communication.

"No explanation," wrote one passenger named Shane C Grant. "The entire ship are really pissed off. My wife and myself only found out via whispers in the hallway."

The woman running @ruinedvacation provided an update the following day, saying some crew members had appeared during the gathering in the foyer.

"But we are still very much in the dark," she said.

She said the decision was made by the NCL head office in Miami, not by anyone on board, on January 31. She said what passengers had been told was that the ship was on a "go slow order" and could not travel at the speed it normally would.

"Do they know why? We don't know," she said, adding that passengers still had not heard from the captain.

"Is it saving fuel costs? Is it something with the ship, that it can't handle the long journey? We don't know," she said. "But they made that decision."

She said for many people, this was a once-in-a-lifetime experience, and NCL had taken that away.

Cruise companies can often change their itineraries at the last minute, leaving passengers frustrated and angry. In December, passengers on an MSC Cruises trip were told they would be heading from New York to Boston instead of the Caribbean just hours before they were scheduled to set sail.

In a statement to Business Insider, a spokesperson for Norwegian Cruise Line said they are "committed to providing exceptional vacation experiences" and taking passengers to "sought-out destinations around the world."

They said modifications are made to "optimize the itinerary or to accommodate certain circumstances," and in this case, the decision was made to give passengers more time to explore Stanley, the capital of the Falkland Islands.

"As such, the cruise by Paradise Bay, Antarctica was replaced with a cruise by Admiralty Bay, Antarctica," they said. "In addition, due to a recent regulatory requirement in the area, the ship is operating at a reduced speed, also impacting its original itinerary."

Business Insider has reached out to @ruinedvacation for comment.

@ruinedvacation Replying to @Sarah update!! Still veey little information from @Norwegian Cruise Line #cruise #cruisetok #help #southamerica #antarctica #ncl #vacation #cruiseship #fyp #fypシ ♬ original sound - ruinedvacation

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Watch: The rise and fall of the cruise industry

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Set sail in 2024: Best cruise ships and cruise lines of the year revealed

Cruising is among the most popular ways to see the world. Unpack once and take in the sights of the world’s rivers and seas from your floating hotel, all while enjoying top-notch entertainment, dining, and amenities. And with more than a dozen new vessels introduced each year, the sheer variety of cruises can be overwhelming.

To help narrow it down, USA TODAY 10Best asked a panel of cruise industry experts to nominate their favorite cruise lines and ships across nine categories. Then, readers voted over a period of four weeks to decide the winners, and the results are in .

Click on each category below to see the full winners list:

Best Adults Only Cruise: Wind Spirit - Windstar Cruises

When sailing on Windstar's Wind Spirit, guests will feel like they're on their own private yacht. This four-masted sailing yacht accommodates just 148 guests, so intimacy rules throughout your cruise. Amenities include two primary restaurants, a spa, swimming pool and hot tub, and a water sports platform. Plus, you'll find fresh fruit in your room each afternoon. To sail on the Wind Spirit, guests must be at least 8 years old, but the intimate nature of the ship is geared more towards adults.

Full list of winners: Best Adults Only Cruise »

Best Alaska Cruise: Eurodam - Holland America Line

Eurodam, an exquisite Holland America Line vessel, invites passengers to experience Alaska's magnificence in elegance and style. With a 2,100-passenger capacity, it's the largest of the Holland America "Signature Class" ships. Gourmet dining, cultural enrichment, and enthralling shore excursions (including whale watching and seaplane tours featuring jaw-dropping scenery), ensure an enjoyable and adventurous cruise.

Full list of winners: Best Alaska Cruise »

Best Boutique Cruise Line: Windstar Cruises

With fewer than 350 guests per sailing, Windstar Cruises promises passengers a cruising experience free of lines and waiting. Since their six boutique ships are smaller than typical cruise ships, they can sail into small European villages, off-the-beaten-path harbors, and hidden coves, giving guests the opportunity to visit both major capitals and smaller ports. Windstar’s shore excursions offer guests the opportunity to immerse themselves into the local culture and cuisines of these special ports of call.

Full list of winners: Best Boutique Cruise Line »

Best Cruise Line for Families: Adventure Canada

If your intent is to offer your kids the experience of a lifetime, look no further than Adventure Canada, which cruises to the vast wonders of the north with a mix of sailing yachts and ice-defying exploration vessels. Expert-led excursions introduce young travelers to everything from archaeology and botany to the science of glaciers through interpretive hikes, photography outings, and other unique programs.

Full list of winners: Best Cruise Line for Families »

Best Cruise Line for Solo Travelers: Grand Circle Cruise Line

Grand Circle Cruise Line has been an industry leader when it comes to solo travel, thanks to small-group (no more than 47 people) shore excursions and free or low-cost single supplements. A roommate matching program helps pair same-gender travelers, and an online forum allows solo travelers to start connecting well before the departure date.

Full list of winners: Best Cruise Line for Solo Travelers »

Best Cruise Ship for Dining: Carnival Celebration - Carnival Cruise Line

The Carnival Celebration features many of Carnival Cruise Line's favorite eateries such as Guy's Burger Joint and Cucina del Capitano, but it also includes Emeril's Bistro 1397, serving up international dishes finished with the famed chef's unique flair. The ship also includes Street Eats, which emulates food truck fare with such dishes as cheesesteak fries, pot stickers, and kebabs.

Full list of winners: Best Cruise Ship for Dining »

Best Cruise Ship for Entertainment: Carnival Celebration - Carnival Cruise Line

Carnival is known as the "fun" cruise line and their Celebration ship is made for good times! This lively vessel boasts an abundance of high-caliber entertainment venues, live music happening throughout the ship all day long, a Punchliner comedy club, thrilling waterslides, and their famous roller coaster at sea, Bolt. With many casual and upscale dining options and nightly deck festivities, the Carnival Celebration is truly a nonstop party.

Full list of winners: Best Cruise Ship for Entertainment »

Best Ocean Cruise Line: Carnival Cruise Line

Carnival Cruise Line caters to families and casual cruisers with its fleet of "Fun Ships." On these large cruises, passengers have no excuse to feel bored; ships come equipped with water parks, glitzy casinos, live entertainment, and a focus on diverse, casual dining, highlighted by a partnership with celebrity chef Guy Fieri to bring Guy's Burger Joint to the fleet. All of this comes at affordable price points.

Full list of winners: Best Ocean Cruise Line »

Best River Cruise Line: Viking River Cruises

Founded in 1997, Viking River Cruises plies the waterways of Europe, Asia, the U.S., and Egypt with its fleet of more than 60 vessels. While Viking has also launched an award-winning ocean cruise line, the company built its reputation in river cruising. These all-inclusive cruises feature outside staterooms, Wi-Fi, wine and beer with meals, shore excursions in every port, and cultural enrichment programs.

Full list of winners: Best River Cruise Line »

Congratulations to all these winners! Remember to visit 10best.usatoday.com daily to vote in our other Readers' Choice Awards contests.

This article originally appeared on 10Best.com: Best cruises of 2024 for every traveler: Find your perfect vacation

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The 9 best northern lights alaska cruises for 2024 & beyond.

Consider one of these trips for a chance to see this mesmerizing natural wonder.

The Best Northern Lights Alaska Cruises

Northern lights over Alaska landscape.

Getty Images

There's no other experience on Earth quite like witnessing the northern lights. Also known as the aurora borealis, this spellbinding phenomenon – when brilliant hues of green, yellow and purple dance across the night sky – is visible in Alaska from late August to late April. Clear, dark evenings away from the ambient light of cities provide prime viewing opportunities.

Alaska is one of the best places in the world to see the aurora borealis – especially locations in the Interior and Arctic regions, such as Coldfoot, Wiseman, Utqiagvik (Barrow) and Nome. Fairbanks is regarded as a top location due to its position directly under the auroral oval, a ring-shaped area in the far north where aurora activity is generally concentrated. The Southcentral region of Alaska, where you'll find Anchorage, Talkeetna and the Mat-Su Valley, also offers basecamps for northern lights viewing.

If you're hoping to see the magic aboard an Alaska cruise in 2024 or 2025, then you just might be in luck. Experts predict the next few seasons will be particularly good for northern lights sightings, due to increased solar activity. While seeing the northern lights is never guaranteed, your best chance of seeing them is during these high-activity solar cycles, which occur about every 11 years.

Find your perfect cruise

When to take a cruise to view the northern lights

The Alaska cruise season falls between May and September, with a few cruise lines extending the season from April to October.

Holland America Line recommends booking a cruise or cruisetour (a combined sea and land package) during the autumnal equinox, or the official start of autumn, which falls around Sept. 22 in the Northern Hemisphere. Disturbances in the Earth's magnetic field are more likely around the autumn and spring equinoxes, which could increase your chances of seeing the aurora. For the best views, Holland America advises heading to higher ground in Anchorage , to vantage points like Glen Alps, the Knit River Valley and Point Woronzof.

Princess Cruises also suggests booking your vacation in the fall. September is an ideal month to watch for the spectacle in the sky as the nights start getting longer and darker. The elusive display is most likely to appear on crystal-clear evenings between midnight and 4 a.m. While you can see incredible light shows in Anchorage, consider an extended tour of Fairbanks or the Interior that takes you away from light pollution (such as to Denali National Park & Preserve).

U.S. News has compiled a list of the nine best cruises and cruisetours to give you the optimal chance of viewing these whimsical lights in the sky, with a focus on sailings around the autumnal equinox in 2024 and later dates in September 2025. We've also included an early sailing in April, before the end of the aurora season. (Keep in mind: Many of these trips and itineraries are also available on other dates during the season. Cruise fares were accurate at the time of publication.)

Holland America Line

Princess cruises, celebrity cruises, norwegian cruise line, royal caribbean international.

Man standing under the northern lights in Canada.

Thierry Guenez | Courtesy of Holland America Line

9-Day Denali: Tour D8l

This nine-day land and sea tour on Nieuw Amsterdam includes an opportunity to search for the northern lights in Fairbanks, one of the best places to see them in Alaska (and in the world). Holland America offers a four-hour aurora borealis viewing tour outside the city in a yurt; it operates between the last week of August and mid-September.

If you'd like more options, there's no shortage of tour operators in town that can take you on a northern lights adventure in Fairbanks. You can even fly into town early to stay in the wilderness in an igloo with clear views of the night sky at Borealis Basecamp, located less than 30 miles from Fairbanks. Be sure to notify your hotel that you'd like a wake-up call or a knock on the door if the northern lights are on display.

You'll have more opportunities to see the aurora when you head to Denali National Park & Preserve for a stay at Holland America 's exclusive 60-acre McKinley Chalet Resort, located near the entrance to the park. After a full day exploring the park by ATV or a bucket list flightseeing adventure over Denali, you'll have another chance to see the colorful light display in Alaska's wilderness after midnight. The rest of the cruisetour itinerary includes scenic cruising days, with one spent in beautiful Glacier Bay National Park & Preserve. You'll also call on Juneau , Skagway and Ketchikan before disembarking in Vancouver .

14-Day Denali: Tour D3c

This 14-day adventure includes scenic cruising of the Inside Passage, Glacier Bay National Park & Preserve and College Fjord, with stops in the ports of Ketchikan, Juneau, Skagway, Whittier and Seward. You'll then have nearly a week on land in Anchorage, Denali National Park & Preserve and Fairbanks to go aurora hunting. If you spend an extra night or two in Fairbanks at the end of the trip, you'll be in town for the autumnal equinox, maximizing your northern lights viewing opportunities.

With the extra time in town, plan to book the Arctic Circle Air Adventure with Northern Alaska Tour Company. This unforgettable journey takes you on a flight over the Yukon River and Brooks Range, just east of the Gates of the Arctic National Park & Preserve. You'll then land 60 miles north of the Arctic Circle in the community of Coldfoot and receive an Arctic Circle Adventure Certificate before your return flight to Fairbanks.

7-Day Glacier Discovery Northbound

If you're interested in a cruise-only option and would prefer to arrange the land portion independently, consider this seven-day voyage on Nieuw Amsterdam. The itinerary includes three scenic cruising days, with one day in Glacier Bay National Park & Preserve, and calls on the ports of Ketchikan, Juneau and Skagway before disembarking in Whittier, which sits roughly 60 miles south of Anchorage.

From Whittier, there are many options to transfer to Anchorage (by rail or by road), including the iconic Glacier Discovery Train. Plan to stay a few evenings in Anchorage with a multiday guided aurora tour, or reserve a spot on an evening outing in search of the northern lights.

Princess Cruises ship in Skagway, Alaska.

Courtesy of Princess Cruises

11-Day Denali Explorer – Tour DA4

This 11-day cruisetour begins with a seven-night voyage embarking from Vancouver on Royal Princess or Sapphire Princess . The itinerary includes three sea days, two of which are dedicated to scenic cruising through Glacier Bay National Park & Preserve and College Fjord. You'll make stops in the coastal towns of Ketchikan, Juneau, Skagway and Anchorage (Whittier) before disembarking to depart for the Denali Princess Wilderness Lodge via the line's direct-to-the-wilderness rail service.

Spending three nights at the lodge – located just outside the entrance to the park – in mid-September will offer excellent opportunities for aurora viewing. Keep your fingers crossed for high solar activity and clear, dark skies. Throughout your trip, learn photography tips to capture the mesmerizing display through Princess' North to Alaska Program. After your stay in Denali, you'll take a motor coach to Anchorage and stay overnight in a hotel there to finish up your voyage.

10-Day On Your Own – Tour BBX

The 10-Day On Your Own cruisetour with Princess Cruises begins with three nights on land, including overnights in Fairbanks, the Denali Princess Wilderness Lodge and the Mt. McKinley Princess Wilderness Lodge. While at the Mt. McKinley resort, be sure to check out the lodge's treehouse. Designed by Pete Nelson of Animal Planet's "Treehouse Masters," this vantage point offers impressive views of Denali – the highest peak in North America at 20,310 feet above sea level.

Before heading off to bed, get an update on aurora activity from the tracker on your smartphone, especially if you have clear skies that night; the app My Aurora Forecast & Alerts has excellent reviews. Request a wake-up call to have the Princess lodge staff call your room if the dazzling bands of light begin to dance in the sky. The next day, after traveling to Whittier by motor coach, you'll embark on your cruise to Vancouver aboard Royal Princess or Sapphire Princess.

The voyage from Whittier includes three sea days for relaxing activities on board the ship, with two days of scenic cruising around Hubbard Glacier and in Glacier Bay National Park & Preserve. During your time in Glacier Bay, park rangers will board the ship to offer commentary about this captivating wilderness area's pristine glaciers and abundant wildlife. Younger cruisers and teens will also appreciate learning about this spectacular place through the Junior Ranger program, which features interactive games, activities and presentations. (All cruise ships visiting the park participate in this program with the National Park Service.) Ports of call for the rest of the journey include Icy Strait Point or Skagway (depending on the cruise), then Juneau and Ketchikan. The voyage ends in Vancouver.

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Tips on Trips and Expert Picks

Travel tips, vacation ideas and more to make your next vacation stellar.

Balcony of the Celebrity Suite on the Celebrity Summit.

Courtesy of Celebrity Cruises

The Great National Parks Expedition Cruisetour

Celebrity's pre-cruise national parks adventure takes guests on a wildlife viewing quest to destinations in the north and the Interior where you can watch for the aurora. The 12-night trip begins in Fairbanks with a free day to explore.

Consider a trip to the University of Alaska Museum of the North, which features exhibits on Arctic dinosaurs, diverse wildlife, Alaska Native cultures and 2,000 years of Alaska art. You could also visit the impressive collection of antique cars and clothing at the Fountainhead Antique Auto Museum, or take a walk with the reindeer into the woods at Running Reindeer Ranch. The second day in town includes a Riverboat Discovery ride and a tour of the city, as part of the cruisetour.

On the third day, you'll board the Wilderness Express (a glass-domed railcar) for the ride to Denali. Then, you'll embark on the Tundra Wilderness Tour in search of the park's grizzly bears, moose, Dall sheep and other wildlife. Be sure to put your name on the list before bedtime to get a wake-up call for aurora activity. You'll also have one evening in Anchorage, where you can arrange for a northern lights tour, and one night in Seward before setting sail on Celebrity Summit the next morning. Highlights of the voyage include cruising Hubbard Glacier and the Inside Passage as well as stopping in Juneau, Icy Strait Point and Ketchikan. You'll disembark in Vancouver.

The Norwegian Bliss on the water at sunset with mountains in the background.

Courtesy of Norwegian Cruise Line

13-Day Denali Explorer – Pre-Cruise Cruisetour

Norwegian Cruise Line's six-day pre-cruise adventure begins with overnights in Fairbanks, Denali and Anchorage, where you'll have the best chances to view the northern lights. Other highlights for the first part of the trip include a deluxe dome car rail journey from Talkeetna to Anchorage on the Alaska Railroad and a private tour to an Iditarod sled dog musher's kennel. You'll also have plenty of time in Denali National Park to book a flightseeing tour, go whitewater rafting, or take a hike with a park ranger to look for bears, moose, Dall sheep, wolves and other local wildlife before starting your cruise in Seattle .

Norwegian Encore will call on Juneau, Skagway, Glacier Bay and Ketchikan (Ward Cove) in Alaska. The Mill at Ward Cove near Ketchikan is a newly built cruise ship port that serves as a jumping-off point for outdoor activities in the Tongass National Forest, from hiking and biking to kayaking and sea cycling. You can even pick up souvenirs, grab a bite to eat and sample a cold Alaska brew at the mill. The cruise itinerary also includes one day at sea and a stop in Victoria, British Columbia, before you disembark in Seattle.

7-Night Alaska: Dawes Glacier, Juneau & Ketchikan

Consider this seven-day cruise on Norwegian Bliss if you prefer to travel early in the spring and take your chances at catching the northern lights toward the end of aurora season, which falls around April 21. This round-trip itinerary from Seattle is one of the earliest sailings of the year to visit the Great Land and features two sea days, with one day of scenic cruising in Endicott Arm and Dawes Glacier. You'll also visit Sitka, Juneau, Icy Strait Point, Ketchikan (Ward Cove) and Victoria before disembarking in Seattle.

Juneau will offer one of the best opportunities during the cruise for seeing the northern lights, although chances are dependent on the weather and solar activity. There are several apps and websites with real-time updates for aurora tracking, including My Aurora Forecast & Alerts. If the skies are clear in the evening and the forecast looks promising, ask guest relations if there's a sign-up sheet to get a call or a knock on the door in the event of aurora activity.

Exterior of Royal Caribbean's Radiance of the Seas.

Courtesy of Royal Caribbean International

12 Night Mountain Panorama Adventure Cruisetour 5B (Pre Tour)

This 12-night cruisetour with Royal Caribbean International begins with an overnight in Anchorage before boarding the Wilderness Express, where you'll have a glass-domed rail car for the journey to Talkeetna. The quirky community of Talkeetna is said to be the inspiration for the fictional Alaska town of Cicely in the 1990s show "Northern Exposure." It's also an excellent base for chasing the aurora – especially at the Talkeetna Alaskan Lodge, where you'll be staying.

After an overnight at the lodge, your tour moves on to Denali, where you can search for wildlife by day and look for the aurora at night. Another evening on land at Hotel Alyeska in the remote town of Girdwood affords more opportunities to chase the finnicky lights before heading to Seward to board your ship, Radiance of the Seas .

Ports of call on this voyage include Juneau, Skagway, Icy Strait Point and Ketchikan. There are also two days of scenic cruising through Hubbard Glacier and the Inside Passage before disembarking in Vancouver. While there are plenty of activities, dining venues, bars and lounges on board to keep you entertained all night long, be sure to save up enough energy to wake up in the middle of the night should you get a call to see the magical natural wonder that is the northern lights.

Why Trust U.S. News Travel

Gwen Pratesi is a U.S. News & World Report contributor and an avid travel adventurer who fell in love with Alaska on her first visit to the state many years ago. She's returned several times both by land and sea to view wildlife and chase the northern lights in one of the best places on the planet to view them. She's even considered moving to The Great Land as a full-time resident. Pratesi used her deep knowledge of Alaska and the cruise industry to write this article.

You might also be interested in:

  • Alaska Cruise Packing List: Must-Have Items
  • The Best Alaska Cruise Lines
  • The Best Time to Cruise to Alaska
  • The Best Alaska Shore Excursions
  • How to See the Northern Lights in Iceland

Tags: Travel , Cruises , Alaska Vacations

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  • # 4 Bora Bora

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IMAGES

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  5. Carnival Cruise Ship Delaying Homeport Departure

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COMMENTS

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  11. When Carnival Will Have All Their Cruise Ships Back in Service

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  12. 7 big changes coming to Carnival in 2024

    Effective, December 1, 2023, Carnival's CHEERS! Package is going to cost you $10 more per day on short sailings that are 3, 4, or 5 nights. Instead of costing $64.95 per person, per day, the Cheers! Package will now cost all guests $74.95 per day, plus an 18% service charge.

  13. Carnival Cruise Line Will Bring More Ships Back in Service Thi

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  17. Carnival Cruise Line

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