After more than 30 years of cruises, Carnival Ecstasy arrived in Cozumel for her final call to the famous Mexican cruise port. The cruise ship first sailed to Cozumel in 1992 on her maiden voyage. It makes this call a fitting farewell for a cruise ship that has created a fun vacation for millions of cruisers over the years.
Carnival Ecstasy sailed from Mobile, Alabama, earlier this week on what will be her final cruise for Carnival Cruise Line. The company is saying farewell to the Fantasy-class cruise ship, focusing on new, more economical cruise ships instead.
Carnival Ecstasy Docks In Cozumel for the Final Time
On April 2, 1991, Carnival Ecstasy set off on her maiden voyage, the first cruise in a career that would last 31 years. In that time, the Fantasy-class cruise ship sailed on 2300 cruises, welcoming more than 5.5 million guests onboard. Over the years, the vessel sailed to hundreds, if not thousands, of different ports, but one stands out the most, Cozumel.
Cozumel was one of the first ports that Carnival Ecstasy visited in April 1991, and now, on the last cruise in an illustrious career sailing for Carnival Cruise Line, she returned for one last time. Carnival Brand Ambassador John Heald remembers the call well, as he was on board as cruise director.
John Heald: “So Cozumel, it is fitting that the ship is calling here on her final voyage with guests because she called here on her inaugural cruise season as well. Back then when I was Cruise Director here.”
“Sitting here now in 2022 memories of my time here in the early nineties are flooding back. In those days the ships would stay until 2 am and after I had finished hosting the Mexican Folkloric show in the main lounge. My mates and I would rush ashore, jump in a cab and pay $1 per person to go to a club called Neptunos where the entrance was free to all the crew, and Corona beer was 50 cents a bottle.”
The story perfectly illustrates the relationship the ship, crew, and passengers developed with Cozumel over the years. Back then, Carnival Cruise Line had only 16 ships (including Holland America Line and Windstar), Carnival Ecstasy was brand-new, and Cozumel had yet to develop into the popular cruise port it is today.
Memories of Carnival in Cozumel
Since 1991, Carnival Corporation developed into a company that at one point owned more than 100 cruise ships, with Carnival Ecstasy dutifully sailing her cruises, ensuring guests had a fun-filled vacation onboard.
While much has changed since those days, some things have stayed the same. John Heald recalls in a post on his Facebook page how guests would leave towels behind in the taxis in Cozumel, most of which remained there for many years and even remain in cabs today:
“One thing that so many Cozumel taxis have in common is the seat covers because the plastic vinyl in so many of these cars have been replaced with old-style Carnival towels……. circa early 1990s.”
“Now, these were given to guests to go ashore and to use at the beach, and remember, there was no charge if they didn’t bring them back. There was no inventory back then. I cannot imagine how much money we lost in beach towels back then because many of these pale blue towels are still in the taxis of Cozumel.”
Leaving towels behind even caused Carnival Cruise Line to implement a 22-dollar towel fee, likely due to too many Margaritas on the beach in Cozumel.
In many ways, it is sad to say goodbye to a ship that has made millions of guests happy over the years. But Carnival as a company does need to revive its fleet if it wants to take on the competition. That means removing older ships, such as Carnival Ecstasy, and replacing them with newer vessels, such as Carnival Celebration.
Carnival Ecstasy‘s final cruise will sail to Progreso, Mexico, tomorrow and arrive back in Mobile, Alabama, on October 15. Whether or not she will head to one of the shipbreaking yards to be broken up for scrap metal is not clear.
However, Carnival seems unlikely to sell Carnival Ecstasy, given the fact that it previously scrapped three other Fantasy-class ships: Carnival Fantasy, Carnival Inspiration, and Carnival Imagination.