What Happened to Carnival Ecstasy? Retired Cruise Ship Arrives in Turkey

For more than 30 years, Carnival Ecstasy took literally millions of passengers on vacation, with trips sailing all over Mexico, the Caribbean, and The Bahamas. That means millions of passengers have a happy memory of the ship and many likely wonder where is it now?

The ship has arrived in Turkey, with signs pointing to it being broken up, signaling its end of life as a cruise ship.

Carnival Ecstasy left the fleet in October 2022. What happened from there? It now sits near a ship-breaking yard in Turkey.

Ecstasy First Sailed in 1991

Carnival Ecstasy first began sailing for the cruise line in 1991, and at that time, it represented a groundbreaking new ship. As part of the Fantasy class, the ship came in at about 70,000 gross tons and carried roughly 2,000 passengers at double occupancy.

In the past three decades, however, a lot has changed in the cruise industry. For example, Carnival’s newest ships carry about 5,300 passengers at double occupancy and measure about 180,000 gross tons. In other words, there’s a significant difference between old and new ships.

We actually sailed aboard Ecstasy from Mobile, Alabama on one of its last cruises. Our opinion is that the ship felt like a time capsule. It had been well-maintained but had a dated feel. Bright colors were everywhere, and there were also lots of mirrored surfaces. Having the ship be in such a dated ’90s style — but still looking kept up — made it unique.

But there’s no argument that there was less to do, see, and eat aboard the ship. As the cruise industry has evolved, what’s expected on a modern cruise ship has changed. Still, we enjoyed the cruise tremendously even though sailing on an older, smaller ship was a completely different experience.

Nearly 5.5 Million Passengers and Last Cruise in October 2022

During the pandemic, Carnival Corporation (the parent company of Carnival Cruise Line) announced that many ships would be leaving the fleet in an effort to turn to a more modern and efficient lineup. And after cruises returned to sailing following the pandemic pause, Carnival announced in early 2022 that Ecstasy would also be leaving the fleet later in the year.

Following the announcement that Carnival Ecstasy would be retired, the ship repositioned to Mobile, Alabama from March 2022 until its last cruise in October. There, it sailed four and five-night cruises to Mexico.

As mentioned, we were fortunate enough to sail one of its final cruises, and you can see our experience in the video below:

At the last sailing on October 10, 2022, Carnival held a celebration for the ship and its final cruise. There, it was shared that nearly 5.5 million passengers sailed on Ecstasy over its 30+ years in service, across more than 2,300 voyages. During its life, the ship also sailed from eight different homeports, ranging from Miami to Los Angeles.

Sailed to Turkey to the Aliaga Ship Breaking Yard

Following its last cruise with passengers from Alabama, Carnival Ecstasy then embarked on what seems to be its final voyage.

According to CruiseIndustryNews.com, the ship was “sold to Turkish ship breakers” in order to be broken apart and salvaged. In fact, this was a fate that met a number of ships during the pandemic pause when companies like Carnival Corporation made their fleets more lean by removing older ships.

Ship-tracking website CruiseMapper.com shows Carnival Ecstasy sitting off the coast of the Aliaga Ship Breaking Yard in Turkey after Ecstasy sailed across the Atlantic Ocean following its last cruise in the United States:

A screengrab from CruiseMapper.com show the ship sitting off the coast of Turkey, near the Aliaga Ship Breaking Yard.

This ship-breaking yard is well-known to retired Carnival ships. In fact, a satellite photo on Google Maps shows two of Ecstasy’s sister ships beached and in the process of being broken apart. The distinctive Carnival funnels are still visible.

The image of the Aliaga Ship Breaking Yard on Google Maps shows two former Carnival ships (funnels still visible) being scrapped. Map credit: Google Maps, CNES/Airbus, Maxar Technologies.

While we have not seen an official word from Carnival, all signs point to Carnival Ecstasy being scrapped in Turkey. But at least one part of the ship will live on.

A few months ago the 1934 Rolls Royce car that had sailed on the ship parked next to the Rolls Royce Café aboard Ecstasy was removed from the ship and placed on the new Carnival Celebration. There, it will continue to have a prominent place for millions more passengers to see.

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