Another classic Carnival cruise ship appears headed for the scrappers

Jul 18, 2020

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It looks like another classic Carnival Cruise Line ship is headed for the scrappers.

The Long Beach, California-based Carnival Inspiration has filed a voyage plan for Izmir, Turkey, which is near a major ship scrapping operation that has become the final resting place for such notable vessels as Princess Cruises‘ Pacific Princess — the original “Love Boat.”

On Saturday, ship tracking sites showed the 2,056-passenger Carnival Inspiration sailing eastward from the Caribbean island of Curacao on its way to Izmir.

A spokesperson for Carnival Corporation, the parent company for Carnival Cruise Line, didn’t immediately respond to questions about Carnival Inspiration’s fate.

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Carnival Inspiration is setting off for Izmir just a few days after another classic Carnival ship, the 2,056-passenger Carnival Fantasy, left Curacao for Izmir. Cruise site Cruise Radio, citing unnamed sources, reported at the time that the vessel had been sold and was destined for scrapping.

The Curacao Ports Authority last week announced on Facebook that both Carnival Inspiration and Carnival Fantasy had arrived at the island’s container port to unload heavy equipment — an early sign they were being prepared for an end to service with the Carnival brand.

Carnival Fantasy and Carnival Inspiration moored at the container terminal for unloading heavy equipment.

Posted by Curaçao Ports Authority on Saturday, July 11, 2020

 

The news of the departure of the two ships for Turkey comes just days 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.

Donald suggested the ships leaving the various fleets would be their older vessels. Unveiled in 1990, Carnival Fantasy is the oldest ship in the Carnival Cruise Line fleet. Carnival Inspiration, which dates to 1996, is the line’s sixth oldest vessel.

Related: How to book a cruise with points and miles 

Carnival Cruise Line's Carnival Inspiration. (Photo by Andy Newman courtesy of Carnival Cruise Line)
Carnival Cruise Line’s Carnival Inspiration. (Photo by Andy Newman courtesy of Carnival Cruise Line)

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 on Wednesday 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 Carnival Fantasy and Carnival Inspiration as well as several ships from other Carnival Corporation brands.

Carnival Inspiration had been scheduled to continue sailing out of Long Beach, California, through at least April 2022. As of Saturday morning, Carnival was continuing to sell voyages on the ship.

Related: Is cruising done until 2021? This cruise line thinks so 

Carnival Inspiration and Carnival Fantasy both are part of Carnival’s long successful, eight-ship Fantasy Class series. The vessels debuted between 1990 and 1998 and for years were the workhorses of the Carnival fleet.

Going into the coronavirus shutdown, all eight of the Fantasy Class vessels remained in the Carnival fleet.

Both Carnival Inspiration and Carnival Fantasy measure around 70,000 tons, which was big for a cruise ship in the 1990s. They now don’t even come close to cracking the list of the 50 biggest cruise vessels, some of which are more than 200,000 tons. Cruise ships have gotten bigger and bigger over time.

Carnival’s soon-to-debut Mardi Gras, its new flagship, will measure around 180,000 tons. Mardi Gras originally was due this year but was delayed until 2021 due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Related: New Carnival cruise ship will have a roller coaster on deck. Really 

Carnival in recent years has used many of the Fantasy Class vessels for sailings from secondary ports that can’t necessarily support a larger ship. Carnival Fantasy sailed from Mobile, Alabama, for instance. But the vessels are approaching the end of their useful lives. They are less efficient to operate than bigger, more modern vessels. They also lack a large number of balconies, which command a higher price from cruisers than cabins without balconies.

Carnival Inspiration and Carnival Fantasy aren’t the only notable cruise vessels on the way to Turkey. On Monday, Pullmantur Cruises’ Monarch arrived in the vicinity of the ship scrapping operation near Izmir.

Pullmantur is a three-ship, Spain-based line that last month announced it was insolvent and was reorganizing under Spanish insolvency laws. There have been reports that all three of Pullmantur’s vessels would be scrapped.

Pullmantur blamed headwinds from the coronavirus pandemic that were “too strong … to overcome.”

Monarch is the former Royal Caribbean ship Monarch of the Seas.

Additional resources for cruisers during the coronavirus outbreak:

Feature image courtesy of Carnival Cruise Line.

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