Skip to content

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

July 23, 2020
7 min read
Carnival Fantasy cruise ship
No fun for these ships: Carnival says 4 vessels won't come back when cruising resumes
This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

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
Unveiled in 1990, Carnival Fantasy is the oldest ship in the Carnival fleet. (Photo by Andy Newman courtesy of Carnival Cruise Line).

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.

Sign up for our daily newsletter

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)
The Carnival Inspiration is one of four Carnival ships that won't be coming back when cruising resumes. (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:

Featured image by Andy Newman/CCL

Top offers from our partners

How we chose these cards

Our points-obsessed staff uses a plethora of credit cards on a daily basis. If anyone on our team wouldn’t recommend it to a friend or a family member, we wouldn’t recommend it on The Points Guy either. Our opinions are our own, and have not been reviewed, approved, or endorsed by our advertising partners.
See all best card offers

TPG featured card

Best card for premium perks while traveling
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards

2 - 10X points
10XEarn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel
5X5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel.
2X2 Miles per dollar on every purchase, every day

Intro offer

75,000 bonus miles
Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel

Annual Fee

$395

Recommended Credit

740-850
Excellent
Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

Why We Chose It

The Capital One Venture X card is one of the best all-round travel credit cards ever launched. Not only is it offering a tremendous welcome bonus, but cardholders can earn tons of miles on everyday spending and receive a 10,000-mile anniversary bonus to boot. Its annual fee is $395, but cardholders can count on up to $300 in statement credits toward travel booked through Capital One Travel each year and other valuable benefits like access to Priority Pass lounges and Capital One’s own growing family of airport lounges.

Pros

  • Excellent welcome offer worth 75,000 miles after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months.
  • Up to $300 in annual travel statement credits toward bookings make through Capital One Travel.
  • 10,000 bonus miles (worth $100 toward travel) each account anniversary.

Cons

  • The $395 annual fee might be expensive for some, but this card’s benefits provide much more value than that.
  • If you don’t travel frequently, this might not be the best card for you.
  • Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel
  • Receive up to $300 back annually as statement credits for bookings through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of options
  • Get 10,000 bonus miles (equal to $100 towards travel) every year, starting on your first anniversary
  • Earn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel and 5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles on all other purchases
  • Unlimited complimentary access for you and two guests to 1,400+ lounges, including Capital One Lounges and our Partner Lounge Network
  • Receive up to a $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck®
  • Use your Venture X miles to easily cover travel expenses, including flights, hotels, rental cars and more—you can even transfer your miles to your choice of 15+ travel loyalty programs
  • Named editors' choice for "Best New Credit Card of 2021" by The Points Guy
  • Earn 10 miles per dollar when you book on Turo, the world's largest car sharing marketplace, through May 16, 2023
Best card for premium perks while traveling
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

10XEarn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel
5X5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel.
2X2 Miles per dollar on every purchase, every day
  • Intro Offer
    Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel

    75,000 bonus miles
  • Annual Fee

    $395
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    740-850
    Excellent

Why We Chose It

The Capital One Venture X card is one of the best all-round travel credit cards ever launched. Not only is it offering a tremendous welcome bonus, but cardholders can earn tons of miles on everyday spending and receive a 10,000-mile anniversary bonus to boot. Its annual fee is $395, but cardholders can count on up to $300 in statement credits toward travel booked through Capital One Travel each year and other valuable benefits like access to Priority Pass lounges and Capital One’s own growing family of airport lounges.

Pros

  • Excellent welcome offer worth 75,000 miles after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months.
  • Up to $300 in annual travel statement credits toward bookings make through Capital One Travel.
  • 10,000 bonus miles (worth $100 toward travel) each account anniversary.

Cons

  • The $395 annual fee might be expensive for some, but this card’s benefits provide much more value than that.
  • If you don’t travel frequently, this might not be the best card for you.
  • Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel
  • Receive up to $300 back annually as statement credits for bookings through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of options
  • Get 10,000 bonus miles (equal to $100 towards travel) every year, starting on your first anniversary
  • Earn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel and 5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles on all other purchases
  • Unlimited complimentary access for you and two guests to 1,400+ lounges, including Capital One Lounges and our Partner Lounge Network
  • Receive up to a $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck®
  • Use your Venture X miles to easily cover travel expenses, including flights, hotels, rental cars and more—you can even transfer your miles to your choice of 15+ travel loyalty programs
  • Named editors' choice for "Best New Credit Card of 2021" by The Points Guy
  • Earn 10 miles per dollar when you book on Turo, the world's largest car sharing marketplace, through May 16, 2023