Speculation is growing that Carnival Corporation is preparing to recycle additional cruise ships as the cruise industry leader works to manage its costs as it waits to resume cruise operations after the pandemic. The world’s largest cruise ship operator announced during the summer that it would be taking steps to accelerate the departure of older, underperforming ships from its fleet.
Carnival Corporation initially announced that it would be removing nine ships from its fleet during the summer in addition to four that it had previously sold but had yet to deliver to the new owners. While the identifies of these ships were revealed, the corporation later announced that it was writing down the value of two additional cruise ships in its fleet after concluding that “their carrying values are no longer recoverable when compared to their estimated remaining future cash flows.”
Suspicions have been raised about three of the corporation’s cruise ships. Late today, August 26, the 1995-built Carnival Imagination departed Curacao and her AIS track has been set showing her heading for Aliaga, Turkey. Carnival Cruise Lines had previously announced the ship would be put into a long-term lay-up with no date set for a return to service. Speculation points out that the two previous Carnival ships were off-loaded of equipment and stores in Curacao before they followed the same route to be scrapped.
In addition, two other ships, the 1994-built Pacific Aria and the 1991-built Pacific Dawn, both departed Port Klang in Malaysia on August 10 and 11 heading across the Indian Ocean. Both ships, which had previously operated for P&O Cruises in Australia had been sold to CMV Cruises for delivery in 2021. CMV, however, went into receivership in the UK during the summer. Scheduled to transit the Suez Canal on August 30, the ships currently appear headed to Cyprus. They had been operating from Australia for the past few years, raising the suspicion that they have been permanently retired based on their current movements.
Carnival Corporation’s fleet numbered 105 ships as of February 2020, and since then nine transactions were announced. Two of the oldest ships, the Carnival Fantasy and Carnival Inspiration, were sent to the recycling yards in Turkey, while Holland America Line’s Veendam was recently delivered to unidentified buyers that renamed her Aegean Majesty. The Costa NeoRomantica was recently delivered to Celeystal Cruises which renamed her Celeystal Experience.
Several additional ships are yet to be delivered to their buyers. Holland America’s Maasdam recently arrived in Piraeus, Greece where it is believed her handover is imminent. In addition, Holland America’s Rotterdam and Amsterdam are both currently at the Damen shipyard in Rotterdam. Damen reported the Rotterdam would be leaving her namesake city on August 27 proceeding for her handover to Fred. Olsen Cruises and the Amsterdam would be following within days.
Rotterdam in Damen’s drydock while Amsterdam is alongside – photo courtesy of Damen Shipyard Rotterdam