This Carnival cruise ship made history. Now it’s being scrapped.

Jan 2, 2021

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Another icon of the early days of cruising has been sent to the scrappers.

Ocean Dream, which originally sailed as Carnival Cruise Line‘s Tropicale, arrived at the scrapyards of Alang, India, on Friday after being idle for nearly a year due to the coronavirus crisis.

Unveiled in 1982, the 1,422-passenger ship was the first cruise vessel purpose-built for Carnival, and it played a significant role in the line’s early growth.

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Ordered just eight years after Carnival’s founding in 1972, the 10-deck-high ship was larger than the line’s three existing vessels at the time — Mardi Gras, Carnivale and Festivale. It also was the first true cruise ship at the line.

Carnival had bought its first three vessels on the second-hand market, and all were traditional ocean liners that the line had converted for use as cruise ships.

The addition of a purpose-built cruise ship to the Carnival fleet was thus a major milestone in the line’s development. In part due to the success of the ship and three more, bigger vessels based on the same design that came later, Carnival grew rapidly and soon was able to begin buying up its rivals to become the world’s biggest cruise company.

Now known as Carnival Corp., the company today operates nearly 90 cruise ships under not just the Carnival brand but eight other cruise brands including Princess Cruises, Holland America, Seabourn and Costa Cruises.

Built by Danish shipbuilder Aalborg Verft, Tropicale initially sailed from Miami to the Caribbean. But the vessel would go on to play an important role in launching Carnival cruises to other destinations such as Alaska and Mexico. Tropicale was the first Carnival ship to be based in San Juan, Puerto Rico, New Orleans and Tampa.

Tropicale was, notably, also the very first Carnival ship to boast one of the line’s signature “whale tail” winged funnels — a now-iconic design flourish dreamed up by the noted ship designer Joe Farcus. All Carnival ships since Tropicale have had one.

The former Carnival Cruise Line ship Tropicale as it looked when sailing for Peace Boat as Ocean Dream. (Photo by Francis Dean/Corbis via Getty Images)

Tropicale left the Carnival fleet in 2000, transferring to sister line Costa Cruises. It sailed for Costa through 2005 as the Costa Tropicale before being transferred to another sister line, P&O Cruises Australia, to sail under the name Pacific Star. In 2008, the ship was transferred yet again, to Spanish line Pullmantur. It was there that it took on the name Ocean Dream.

A few years after that, the ship was sold to Peace Boat, a Japan-based non-governmental organization that runs educational voyages as part of its mission of working toward peace, human rights, environmental protection and sustainable development.

Peace Boat has purchased a former Princess Cruises ship to take Ocean Dream’s place.

Tropicale is the oldest former Carnival ship still in existence. Once it is scrapped, the oldest former Carnival ship to still be in existence will be the 1987-built Celebration, which now sails for Bahamas Paradise Cruise Line as the Grand Celebration.

The scrapping of Tropicale comes just just six months after one of the most iconic ships from the early Royal Caribbean fleet, Sovereign of the Seas, was sent to the scrappers.

Related: Why the scrapping of Sovereign of the Seas is so heartbreaking

The ships are among a growing list of cruise vessels that have been sent to the scrappers in the past 10 months as the cruise industry experiences an unprecedented shutdown.

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Featured image by Francis Dean/Corbis via Getty Images

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