Only a few days after Carnival Corporation CEO Arnold Donald said there would definitely “be an acceleration of retirement of ships,” financial documents revealed that at least six ships will leave the fleet in the coming day.
In addition to the six ships that already are leaving various Carnival Corporation brands, Donald has indicated that negotiations could also see more vessels exiting.
Which Ships Will Carnival Be Getting Rid Of?
The topic of older ships and their potential fates came up during the executive’s extensive chat with Brian Kelly — founder and CEO of The Points Guy — during a webinar hosted by the site. In discussing the Carnival Cruise Line fleet, Kelly specifically asked if perhaps the Fantasy-class ships, being the oldest, might be phased out.
“First of all, a lot of people love those Fantasy-class ships,” pointed out Donald.
For those perhaps not familiar with the ships, they include the Carnival Fantasy (built in 1990), Ecstasy (1991), Sensation (1993), Fascination (1994), Imagination (1995), Inspiration (1996), Elation (1998) and Paradise (1998). This is the largest collection of ships, by class, in the fleet.
“They book well, and they sail well, and we always keep them fresh,” elaborated the CEO of the vessels. “You don’t want any ship out there that isn’t aligned with guest expectations, so you have to keep the ship fresh.”
“Having said that,” he continued, “absolutely, there will be an acceleration of retirement of ships. There’s no question about that. I’d go so far as to say you’ll probably see some ships scrapped instead of just moving to secondary or tertiary markets.”
A few days later, we got more information as Carnival prepared to disclose its earnings for the second quarter of 2020.
A preliminary statement read, in part, “In connection with its capacity optimization strategy, the company intends to accelerate the removal of ships in fiscal 2020, which were previously expected to be sold over the ensuing years. The company already has preliminary agreements for the disposal of six ships, which are expected to leave the fleet in the next 90 days, and is currently working toward additional agreements.”
Fewer Ships Will Be Needed For the Initial Return
Even before news broke about the fleet reduction, Donald spoke at the webinar about conditions leading up to the decision. “When we start up again, every destination is not going to start at the same time,”
Donald pointed out. “In the beginning, there will be fewer ships — by a lot — starting out than there were when we shut down, because all of the destinations won’t be open. They will open up in their own time with their own rules and regulations.”
As a result, he previewed, “It’s going to take us some time to get back to the levels that we were at before.”
An Update On Carnival Corporation’s New Ships
Donald also answered questions regarding the company’s currently under-construction ships, including the highly-anticipated Mardi Gras. He explained that the shipyards had to deal with shelter-in-place orders like the rest of the world.
As a result, they “were not operating for a period of time” and have experienced delays in starting up again. “This whole thing has upset the whole apple cart as far as getting supplies in for ships and so on,” he sighed. “So there will definitely be delays in the arrival of the new ships.”
That line-up includes some big-ticket ships across numerous brands. “We had several coming this year,” he said. “Enchanted Princess in our Princess Cruises Line, Iona in our P&O Line, and of course Mardi Gras from our Carnival line. Those ships are all going to be delayed.”
While the exact timelines are still in flux, he pointed out that the most up-to-date info could be found on the various ships’ websites. “When they know, they’ll report,” he promised. “But all of this is evolving. We’re in a constant dialogue with not only the yards but the suppliers because [they] have to be up and running, too.”
There is no word yet as to which ships will be leaving Carnival or from which of the brands that operate under the corporate umbrella.