36 YEARS OF 'FUN': A HISTORY OF CARNIVAL CRUISE LINES
Carnival Cruise Lines is the largest and most successful cruise line in the world, carrying more passengers than
any other. But “Today’s Carnival” is a vastly different company than the one started from humble beginnings nearly
four decades ago. Carnival was launched with a converted trans-Atlantic ocean liner and a dream of entrepreneur
Ted Arison, a pioneer in the modern-day cruise industry who set out to realize his vision of making a vacation
experience once reserved for the very rich accessible to the average person. The rest, as they say, is history.
THROUGH THE YEARS . . .
1972 – Maiden voyage of Carnival’s first ship, the TSS Mardi Gras, which runs aground on sandbar outside the Port
1975 – Carnival purchases Empress of Britain, enters service as the TSS Carnivale
1978 – The Festivale, formerly the S.A. Vaal, undergoes $30 million refurbishment, begins service for Carnival as
the largest and fastest vessel sailing from Miami to the Caribbean (the ship has since been retired from the fleet)
1982 – Debut of the Tropicale, the first new cruise ship the cruise industry has seen in many years; ship marks the
beginning of an industry-wide multi-billion-dollar shipbuilding boom (the ship has since been retired from the fleet)
1984 – Carnival becomes first cruise line to advertise on network television with the premiere of new advertising
campaign starring company spokesperson Kathie Lee Gifford (then Johnson)
1985 – Debut of 46,052-ton Holiday
1986 – Launch of 47,262-ton Jubilee (the ship has since been retired from the fleet)
1987 – The 47,262-ton Celebration enters service (ship to leave fleet in April 2008)
Carnival earns distinction as “Most Popular Cruise Line in the World,” carrying more passengers than any other
Carnival Cruise Lines undertakes its initial public offering on Wall Street, raising approximately $400 million to fuel
future expansion; entity later becomes Carnival Corporation & plc, a multi-line worldwide cruise conglomerate
1990 – The 70,367-ton Carnival Fantasy – the first and namesake vessel in the highly successful “Fantasy-class” --
enters service as first new ship ever placed on three- and four-day Bahamas cruise program from Miami.
Eventually, Carnival would construct eight “Fantasy-class” vessels, the most cruise ships in a single class.
1991 – Launch of 70,367-ton Carnival Ecstasy
1993 – Carnival introduces its third 70,367-ton SuperLiner, Carnival Sensation
1994 – Debut of 70,367-ton Carnival Fascination
Carnival’s parent company renamed Carnival Corporation to distinguish between it and its flagship brand, Carnival
Cruise Lines. Company is later renamed Carnival Corporation & plc following the combination with P&O Princess
Cruises, creating the world’s largest cruise vacation group by far.
1995 – 70,367-ton Carnival Imagination enters service
1996 – Carnival’s launches sixth “Fantasy-class” vessel, the SuperLiner Carnival Inspiration
Carnival debuts the first passenger vessel to exceed 100,000 tons, the 101,353-ton Carnival Destiny, at the time
the world’s largest cruise ship
1998 – Carnival Cruise Lines introduces seventh “Fantasy-class” vessel, the Carnival Elation, the first new cruise
ship deployed on the West Coast
The eighth and last in the “Fantasy-class” series, the Carnival Paradise, enters service
1999 – Debut of the 102,000-ton Carnival Triumph, Carnival’s second “Destiny-class” vessel
2000 – A third “Destiny-class” vessel, the 102,000-ton Carnival Victory, is launched.
2001 – Carnival introduces a new class of vessel with the launch of the 88,500-ton Carnival Spirit, the first new “Fun
Ship” ever positioned in the Alaska and Hawaii markets
2002 – A second “Spirit-class” vessel, the Carnival Pride, is launched
Carnival’s third “Spirit-class” ship, Carnival Legend, enters service
Debut of the 110,000-ton Carnival Conquest, at the time the largest “Fun Ship” ever constructed.
2003- Second 110,000-ton “Conquest-class” ship, the Carnival Glory, begins year-round seven-day cruises from
Port Canaveral, Fla., July 19.
2004 – Carnival Miracle, the fourth in Carnival’s “Spirit-class,” begins a series of 12 voyages from Jacksonville, Fla.
– the first “Fun Ship” sailings from that port – Feb. 27, 2004.
A third 110,000-ton “Conquest-class” ship, the Carnival Valor, begins year-round seven-day service from Miami
Dec. 19, 2004, becoming the largest "Fun Ship" ever based at that port.
2005 – A fourth 110,000-ton “Conquest-class” vessel, Carnival Liberty, debuts July 20, 2005, operating Carnival's
first-ever Mediterranean cruises.
2007 - Carnival Freedom, the line's fifth 110,000-ton vessel, debuts in Europe, operating by 12-day voyages to the
Mediterranean, Greek Isles, and Turkey.
2008 - The 113,300-ton Carnival Splendor is slated to debut in July 13, 2008, operating Carnival's first Northern
Europe cruise program.
2009 - Carnival Dream, a 130,000-ton vessel to be the largest "Fun Ship" ever constructed - is scheduled to enter
service in October 2009, beginning a new class of vessel for the line.
2011 - A second 130,000-ton SuperLiner, Carnival Magic, is slated to debut in June 2011.
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