Carnival Cruise Lines celebrates 40 years of Fun, timeline

Size matters, the first Carnival ship Mardi Gras and the latest build, Carnival Magic. (photo: CCL)

40 years ago, Ted Arison set out to make cruise vacations affordable… and that he did. Mr. Arison revolutionized the way we sail today.

Carnival Cruise Lines created this timeline to show their progress over the years and did a good job of outlining all the milestones.

Through the years:

1972 – Maiden voyage of Carnival’s first ship, the TSS Mardi Gras.

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.

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.

1984 – Carnival becomes first cruise line to advertise on network T.V. 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.

1987 – The 47,262-ton Celebration enters service.

Carnival earns distinction as “Most Popular Cruise Line in the World,” carrying more passengers than any other cruise line.

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.

1995 – 70,367-ton Carnival Imagination enters service.

1996 – Carnival’s launches sixth “Fantasy-class” vessel, 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 – Introduction of seventh “Fantasy-class” vessel, the Carnival Elation, the first new cruise ship deployed on the West Coast.

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, beginning a new class of vessel for the line.

2003 – Second 110,000-ton “Conquest-class” ship, the Carnival Glory, enter service.

2004 – Carnival Miracle, the fourth in Carnival’s “Spirit-class,” debuts.

A third 110,000-ton “Conquest-class” ship, Carnival Valor, sets sail.

2005 – A fourth 110,000-ton “Conquest-class” vessel, Carnival Liberty, enters service July 20 operating Carnival’s first-ever Mediterranean cruise program.

2007 – Debut of Carnival’s fifth “Conquest-class” vessel, Carnival Freedom.

2008 – The new 113,300-ton Carnival Splendor enters service, representing a new class of ship for the line.

2009 – The 130,000-ton Carnival Dream – the largest “Fun Ship” ever constructed – is introduced in Europe Sept. 21, 2009.

2011 – A second 130,000-ton ship, Carnival Magic, enter services in Europe May 1 2011, and will launch year-round seven-day Caribbean service from Galveston, Texas, Nov 14.

2012 – A third 130,000-ton ship, Carnival Breeze, is scheduled to enter service in June 3, 2012, operating 12-day Mediterranean voyages from Barcelona before repositioning to Miami on year-round six- and eight-day departures.

Source: Carnival Cruise Lines

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