Carnival Cruise Line to purge 2 more Fantasy-class ships
Two more Fantasy-class cruise ships will depart the Carnival Cruise Line fleet this year. As part of a larger plan to redeploy some of its vessels, the line said Thursday that Carnival Ecstasy and Carnival Sensation will leave the fleet by the end of 2022.
It isn't yet clear whether Carnival plans to transfer the ships to another brand under the Carnival Corp. umbrella, sell them to another cruise line or sell them for scrap.
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In 2020, due to the industry-wide COVID-19 shutdown, the line scrapped three other members of the Fantasy Class: Carnival Fantasy, Carnival Inspiration and Carnival Imagination. It also sold Carnival Fascination to another cruise line, which renamed it and ultimately scrapped it in 2021.
All four of those ships, plus Carnival Ecstasy and Carnival Sensation, were part of the original eight-ship Fantasy Class. Of those eight, built between 1990 and 1998, only two are currently set to remain with Carnival: Carnival Elation and Carnival Paradise.
With the addition of new ships Mardi Gras, which debuted in 2021, and Carnival Celebration, which begins voyages this year, the removal of the six Fantasy-class vessels brings Carnival's fleet total to 22 ships. This year, Costa Magica -- which belongs to Costa Cruises, a sister brand to Carnival -- will be transferred to Carnival, bringing the number up to 23 vessels. In 2023, Carnival will also add another new ship, Carnival Jubilee.
As part of the brand's larger deployment news, Carnival is also pulling its two Australia-based ships -- Carnival Spirit and Carnival Splendor -- out of the region, due to uncertainty around when the industry might be able to restart there.
Plans for Carnival Splendor haven't yet been released, but Carnival Spirit will head to Jacksonville temporarily for a series of four- and five-day voyages departing between March 7 and April 9, 2022. The ship will replace Carnival Ecstasy, which was slated to begin sailing from Jaxport on March 7.
Ecstasy will now sail from Mobile from March 5, 2022, until it leaves the fleet in Oct. 2022. Anyone booked on Carnival Ecstasy from Jacksonville between March 7 and April 9 will automatically have their reservations moved to Carnival Spirit. A new ship will be assigned to Jacksonville to resume voyages on April 23, 2022. The two cruises between the April 9 and April 23 departures have been canceled.
Details on where Carnival Spirit will go after it leaves Jacksonville and which ship will replace Carnival Ecstasy when it departs Mobile are not yet available. There is also no word on if or when Carnival will move ships back to Australia. Carnival Corp.'s P&O Australia brand has been a mainstay in that market, but its ships are currently idle.