When the cruise suspension hit, Carnival Cruise Line took advantage to dispose of multiple older ships. The move reduced its fleet size, but made the rest of the fleet younger and more efficient overall.
Now with sailings returning soon, the cruise line is putting an emphasis on increasing the number of ships in its fleet once again. Today Carnival announced it will add two more ships by the end of 2023.
These new vessels are in addition to previously announced newbuilds Mardi Gras (which has joined the fleet, but has yet to sail with passengers) and Carnival Celebration, which is still under construction.
The announced ships include a new Excel-class vessel in late 2023 that was previously planned to go to AIDA Cruises (another cruise line under the Carnival Corporation umbrellas) and a transfer of the Costa Magica to Carnival in mid-2022.
As an Excel-class build, the new vessel from AIDA will be a sister ship to Mardi Gras and Celebration, giving the cruise line three versions of the new class of ship. These vessels represent a new direction for Carnival that offers a much bigger ship with more restaurants, entertainment options, and different design from the rest of the fleet.
The first Excel-class vessel, Mardi Gras, sets sail from Port Canaveral starting at the end of July. Celebration will sail from Miami in late 2022.
Costa Magica is the other ship announced and is not a new vessel. It was first launched in 2004. She is similar to Carnival’s Sunshine-class of ship, which includes Sunshine, Sunrise, and Radiance. Carnival plans to have Costa Magica go to drydock to undergo conversion before joining the fleet next year.
“We are excited about these additions to our fleet which reflect the strong position that Carnival has established in the U.S., the pent-up demand we continue to see for cruise vacations, and the overall plans by Carnival Corporation to optimize capacity and growth in key markets,” said Christine Duffy, president of Carnival Cruise Line.
What’s yet to be seen is which ports these ships will sail or what they will be named.
“While our immediate focus is on our restart of guest operations this summer, this is another cause for excitement at Carnival, and we will be announcing more detailed plans about homeports, itineraries and ship names very soon,” Duffy said.
After the additions, Carnival Cruise Line will have a fleet of 27 ships.