Two ships that formerly sailed as part of the Carnival Cruise Line fleet — the Holiday and Celebration — are in the process of being scrapped. Ironically, even as the original Celebration is being torn apart and sold for scrap, Carnival has begun construction on a new ship bearing the same name.
The original Celebration, which last sailed as the Grand Celebration for Bahamas Paradise Cruise Line, reached the beach at the ship-breaking yard in Alang, India on Thursday, January 14, after being sold for scrap.
Meanwhile, Cruise Harbour News cites sources as saying that the former Holiday — which last sailed as the Magellan for Cruise & Maritime Voyages — was quietly sold and has set sail on her final voyage to the same destination.
Already, Alang’s beaches are littered with the remains of ships in various stages of deconstruction, most having been disposed of by various lines due at least in part to the ongoing industry-wide shutdown.
How Celebration Changed Carnival’s Game
Originally christened by TV star and Carnival spokesperson Kathy Lee Gifford in March 1987, the Celebration was the third and final member of the Holiday Class, joining Holiday and Jubilee. Together, they were the first class of ships specifically built for Carnival, which until that point had purchased and refurbished previously-owned vessels. The exception? Tropicale was the first ship custom-built for Carnival — and the last to not belong to a specific class.
Accommodating 1,496 passengers and 670 crew, the ship sailed for Carnival for 20 years, primarily from Miami and Jacksonville, Florida. The impact of the ship on Carnival Cruise Line’s early success can’t be understated, especially as it was heavily featured in an ad campaign featuring Gifford enjoying life aboard the Celebration.
Celebration eventually left the Fun Ship fleet when in 2008, it was announced that she would begin sailing under the Carnival Corporation subsidiary Ibero Cruises as the Grand Celebration. But perhaps the most interesting twist in the ship’s story came in 2014 when it was decided that — after the Ibero Cruises brand was discontinued — the vessel would get a makeover, a name change, and sail for yet another Carnival subsidiary, Costa Cruises.
LAST LOOK: Remembering Carnival Fantasy
While the ship did receive both the refurbishment and name change — to the Costa Celebration — it never actually sailed as part of that fleet. Instead, the day before the inaugural sailing, she was sold to the newly-formed Bahamas Paradise Cruise Line.
Now, even as her namesake is being dismantled, a new version of Carnival Celebration is set to take her place. The first steel used to construct the new ship was cut on January 13, 2021, with the ship expected to join the Carnival fleet in November 2022 as part of the festivities which will mark Carnival Corporation’s 50th anniversary.
What Made Holiday a Special Ship
With Holiday, Carnival began to build “classes” of ships. In the case of the Holiday class, the titular vessel would be followed by Jubilee and the aforementioned Celebration. At the time, they were simply known by these names, as the word “Carnival” would not be added to the full, official name of the ships until years after they began sailing.
Following the devastation of Hurricane Katrina in 2005, Holiday was taken out of service and used as temporary housing for victims of the unprecedented storm. Upon her retirement from the Carnival Cruise Line fleet, she was transferred to Ibero Cruises where she operated as the Grand Holiday from 2010 until 2014, including a brief stint as a floating hotel during the Sochi Winter Olympics held in February of 2014.
Later that year, she would be sold to Cruise & Maritime Voyages and take on the moniker of Magellan. Now, it appears that Cruise & Maritime sold the ship to a company called Seajets, who in turn have opted to send the ship to the scrapyard.
Both ships will be missed and fondly remembered by the thousands of passengers who created special memories while sailing on them over the years.
Images of Grand Celebration at the Scrapyard
Other ships in our Last Look series:
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