Carnival Cruise Ship Ends Final Journey at Scrapyard in Turkey

Carnival Sensation has completed her final voyage to the scrapyard, but the Fun Ship may not be gone for good.

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Carnival Sensation has arrived at her final port of call right on schedule, as the ship arrived today at the ship-breaking yard in Aliaga, Turkey. It will now be several days or weeks before the next step in scrapping the ship begins, but her long journeys on open water have ended. The ship was also beached on April 5.

Carnival Sensation Beached for Scrapping

The Fantasy-class vessel was sold for scrap earlier this year, after it was announced that she would not return to service as planned.

Instead, the ship’s scheduled itineraries from Mobile, Alabama were reassigned to Carnival Ecstasy, and while Carnival Sensation did continue to host crew members transitioning in and out of quarantine periods, she would not welcome passengers again.

When she debuted in 1993, the ship had cost $250 million to build and was welcomed into the fleet with great fanfare.

Carnival Sensation Lido Deck
Photo Credit: Melissa Mayntz

The ship weighs in at 70,367 gross tons, and her 10 decks featured accommodations for 2,056 passengers at double occupancy, and up to 2,634 guests when fully booked, with 920 international crew members providing truly sensational service.

Carnival Sensation left the U.S. from her holding position in The Bahamas on March 18, sailing across the Atlantic Ocean for the final time on her way to the ship-breaking facility.

The ship was scheduled to arrive at the yard on April 4, which she has done exactly as expected, completing her 29 years of service with punctuality and distinction.

It may be just hours or it could be several days before the ship’s transponder is deactivated as the shipyard officially takes possession and the cruise ship ceases to be an active vessel. She has already been beached on April 5, one of the final steps before scrapping begins.

Next Steps

The ship will now rest at anchor at the shipyard while the remaining crew members leave the vessel and additional supplies and materials are offloaded. At this time the scrapping process will begin with some interior dismantling, though the hull will remain temporarily intact.

When a space becomes available for the ship to be safely beached, she will be brought onto the shore and stabilized for safe cutting that will divide the hull into sections for removal and recycling. As the hull is opened, larger equipment and interior materials will continue to be removed.

Carnival Imagination at Scrapyard
Carnival Imagination at Scrapyard in Aliaga (Photo Credit: Sergey Levashov)

Carnival Cruise Line specifically selected the Aliaga yard for this process because of its higher safety standards and stronger commitment to environmentally-responsible techniques.

Not only will this protect local workers – ship breaking is a dangerous profession and injuries are common at many yards – but it will also ensure the ship poses as little risk to immediate the environment and habitats as possible.

The overall process of breaking up a ship can take several months from the time the ship arrives at the yard until the last bits of metal are removed, the hull is dismantled, and the vessel ceases to exist.

Former Fantasy-Class Vessels

Carnival Sensation is now undergoing the same fate as her Fantasy-class sisters have in recent months. Carnival Fantasy, Carnival Inspiration, and Carnival Imagination were all similarly scrapped at the Aliaga yard, on Turkey’s west coast on the Aegean Sea.

Carnival Fantasy was the first to arrive at the yard, officially anchoring in Aliaga Bay on July 29, 2020. Carnival Inspiration quickly followed, with her transponder going silent on August 3, 2020. Carnival Imagination joined her sisters the next month, officially becoming silent on September 14, 2020.

Fantasy-class Cruise Ship at Scrapyard
Photo Courtesy: Carnival Cruise Line

Another sister ship, Carnival Fascination, was also scrapped in February 2022, but that work was done at the Gadani yard in Pakistan as the ship had been sold to different operators before ultimately being scrapped.

Only three of the eight Fantasy-class ships remain in service today. Carnival Ecstasy, however, will retire in October, after a final sailing from Mobile, Alabama, on October 10.

That last voyage will be a 5-day Western Caribbean itinerary, visiting Cozumel and Progreso, Mexico. It is not yet known whether the ship will be scrapped or could be sold to another company.

The last two Fantasy-class vessels are planned to remain in service. Carnival Paradise is sailing 4- and 5-day Western Caribbean itineraries from Tampa, Florida, while Carnival Elation is offering 4- and 5-day sailings from Jacksonville, Florida, to The Bahamas.

Resurrecting Ships

The Fantasy-class vessels have long been beloved by Carnival cruisers who enjoy smaller, more intimate ships and the open, multi-story atrium designs of the ships. Yet though five of the eight sister ships have already retired, they may not be gone for good.

Carnival Sensation Cruise Ship
Photo Courtesy: Carnival Cruise Line

Carnival’s upcoming Excel-class ship, Carnival Celebration, is integrating different aspects of retired Fun Ships into its décor and artistic elements.

While the line has not yet released many details about these commemorative highlights, it is possible that some nods to the popular Fantasy-class ships will be found aboard the cruise line’s newest vessel when she debuts in November.

In that way, and in the hearts and memories of the millions of passengers who sailed aboard her, Carnival Sensation and all her retired sister ships will never be forgotten.

Carnival Sensation Cruise Ship

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