Carnival Cruise Line is Missing Something Guests Have Noticed

Guests onboard have noticed fewer trophy prizes, but Carnival Cruise Line's famous "ship-on-a-stick" will be returning soon.

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Guests aboard Carnival Cruise ships in recent weeks have noticed fewer and fewer of the cruise line’s iconic ship-on-a-stick trophies. While these kitschy souvenirs have previously been given out for all manner of games and competitions, they have been noticeably scarce recently.

About the Ship-on-a-Stick

Carnival Cruise Line’s “24-karat plastic ship-on-a-stick” trophies are fun souvenirs throughout the fleet, customized with the name of the vessel where the trophy was won. Measuring 5.25 inches (13.25 cm) tall and 6.25 inches (16.0 cm) long, the “golden” ship is held aloft by laurel leaves, an ancient, classic symbol of victory.

Wildly popular as souvenirs of a Fun Ship vacation, these trophies are often given out as prizes for trivia contests, deck games, group games, game shows, dance offs, and all sorts of other onboard competitions. Among Carnival Cruise Line fans, collecting a new ship can be the highlight of a cruise.

Trophies Disappearing

In recent weeks, however, these trophies have seemingly begun to vanish from Carnival ships.

Rather than presenting winners with trophies, Fun Squad members have been giving out generic Carnival “bling-on-a-string” medallions for each win, reserving the coveted trophies for more intense group competitions or high profile game shows.

Carnival Ship-on-a-Stick
Carnival Ship-on-a-Stick (Photo Credit: Melissa Mayntz)

This has led to rampant speculation about the fate of the trophies, with the most common theory being that the cruise line is eliminating the prizes as a cost-cutting cutback, similar to other permanent post-pandemic cutbacks and introducing more fee-based room service options.

Official Response

The rumors have caught the attention of Carnival Cruise Line’s brand ambassador, John Heald, who has addressed the situation with the ship-on-a-stick trophies on his Facebook page.

“We have not stopped the trophies. I am afraid there was a supply chain issue from the factory,” Heald said. “That has been resolved and we should get them back to the ships no later than the end of this month.”

Depending on the ship, the supply of trophies may already be nearly exhausted, while other ships still have some limited supply of the prizes available to award contest winners.

Who Makes the Trophies?

Carnival Cruise Line has switched manufacturers for the molded plastic trophies in recent years. The original ship-on-a-stick trophies were shinier and had a V-shaped laurel “stick” with stick-on plaques that named the ship.

The newer design is slightly more refined, with a matte finish and a more circular laurel leaf holder. Each ship’s name is still on a plaque on the trophy’s base, but is now black letters on a gold background, rather than the original gold letters on a black background.

Carnival Ship on a Stick
Photo: Carnival Cruise Line

Both trophy designs are the same size, and the ships on individual trophies are the same, not customized to the ship’s class or other details.

Older trophies were manufactured by MDR Industries, a division of MDR International, Inc., that also created plastic hurricane glasses and other drinkware widely used on cruise ships and in various hotels and resorts.

The new trophies, however, are manufactured by Y-Not Design & Manufacturing, Inc., which also creates other trophy designs and a wide variety of corporate logo products such as drinkware, bags, electronics, stationery, and much more.

The new company has partnered with Carnival Cruise Line for nearly a decade, providing not only the ship trophies, but other loyalty items and branded merchandise.

It appears that the original supplier, MDR International, Inc., is no longer in operation.

Meanwhile, Y-Not Design & Manufacturing, Inc. also supplies products to Norwegian Cruise Line and Disney Cruise Line.

Heald referenced a “supply chain issue” as cause for the current trophy shortage, which has impacted all aspects of manufacturing and retail operations, not just travel industry souvenirs.

To allay fears of discontinuing the trophies, however, Heald emphasized that the prizes will return.

“They will be back and will return to being prizes again,” he said.

That will be good news to Carnival Cruise Line fans looking forward to continuing to collect these whimsical trophies, especially with Carnival Celebration soon to join the fleet – what better way to celebrate the new ship than winning a new trophy?

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