Carnival Fantasy, the oldest cruise ship in the Carnival Cruise Line fleet at the time of her retirement, has arrived in Izmir, Turkey, joining the former Pullmantur ships Monarch and Sovereign for scrapping.
The image of the three ships lined up on the beach awaiting the welder’s torch is striking because all three vessels are less than 40 years old, and would have had a decent decade or so of service left in them had the cruise industry’s boom continued.
They are the first of many modern, viable cruise ships that are likely to face the scrap yard in the coming months as the cruise industry reels amid the greatest crisis it has ever faced.
The picture was taken by Nautica Goods, and marks the beginning of the physical impact of the virus on the cruise industry as cruise line’s begin to prepare their fleets for a post-pandemic world of potentially reduced demand.
Carnival Fantasy was launched in 1990 for Carnival Cruise Line and is one of a number of Fantasy-class cruise ships. By 2020 she was the oldest vessel in the Carnival fleet and is unlikely to be the last of the cruise company’s older ships to be scrapped.
Even as Carnival Fantasy arrived in Turkey for scrapping, Carnival Corporation confirmed that it has added an additional two cruise ships to the 13 previously announced ships due to be retired.
Carnival Cruise Line has said it is looking to retire ships that are less efficient than its more modern vessels. “To reduce our cash burn and have a more efficient fleet we have aggressively shed less-efficient ships,” Arnold Donald, company CEO said on a July earnings call.
However, Carnival will keep some Fantasy class ships in operation because they’re popular with passengers and give the cruise line more flexibility in accessing smaller ports.
“We will continue to invest in the four remaining Fantasy class ships that we are keeping in the fleet,” said Christine Duffy, President of Carnival Cruise Line when the sale of Carnival Fantasy was confirmed.
“We have many guests who prefer our Fantasy-class ships which work so well for shorter itineraries from smaller ports that cannot accommodate our larger ships,” she added.