The oldest ship in Carnival’s fleet — the 31-year-old Carnival Ecstasy — is set to start her final voyage with passengers today, marking the end of an era.
Ecstasy, which has been sailing from Mobile, Alabama since March, is slated for a 5-day cruise with the ship’s final stops in Cozumel and Progreso, Mexico. The October 10th cruise was announced as the last voyage earlier this year.
The ship joined Carnival’s fleet all the way back in 1991. To put that into context, the ship first started sailing during the presidency of George H.W. Bush. It even debuted three years before the show Friends first aired. At more than three decades old, that makes her not just the oldest ship in Carnival’s fleet, but one of the oldest of any major cruise line.
Carnival has decided to remove the ship from the fleet as part of a push to move toward a younger and more efficient fleet. In fact, while Ecstasy is leaving in October, Carnival Celebration — the cruise line’s newest ship — will join the fleet next month.
What Is Leaving With Carnival’s Oldest Ship
Carnival Ecstasy is definitely a call-back to a different era of cruising. In fact, just weeks ago, I sailed on the ship to experience just exactly the differences between a ship that’s been in service for 30+ years and a modern-day cruise ship.
What really stood out was that Ecstasy feels like a time capsule. Normally when a ship is refurbished, that means tearing out many things and starting over. Here, it seemed like it meant refurbishing what existed. There was a definite 1990s style to the ship.
That meant lots of bright colors and lots of mirrored surfaces. And while things like the cabin hallways were wider, in general things felt more cramped than on a newer ship.
Having the ship be in such a dated ’90s style — but still looking kept up — made it unique. Instead of having trendy muted browns and grays you see with contemporary style on ships, Ecstasy stood out.
Would I want every ship to look like this? No, but was fun to experience before it goes away. But one other thing I noticed is that as you would expect, there weren’t near the amount of amenities and activities as with a modern ship.
So while it’s sad to see a ship that’s given literally millions of people a lot of fun over the years, it’s also understandable why Carnival is looking to update and upgrade its fleet with newer, larger, and more efficient ships.
(You can read our blog of the entire trip here or watch our YouTube video of the cruise here.)
At this point, we’ve seen no word from Carnival on what will happen with the ship after it leaves service. However, when the cruise line removed other ships from the fleet during the pandemic, there was dramatic video of them being beached in order to be scrapped. It’s possible that Ecstasy will meet the same fate.
Carnival Ecstasy will return to Mobile for the last time on October 15. Carnival Spirit will begin sailing from the port beginning in October 2023, with seasonal 6-8 day cruises.