The time has finally come for Carnival Ecstasy, and the ship is set for its last sailing with the Fun Ship fleet. As the only Fantasy-class ship to have a planned and pre-announced retirement, there has been great anticipation for the vessel’s last cruise.
Carnival Ecstasy‘s Last Cruise
Carnival Ecstasy will set sail from Mobile, Alabama for its last trip welcoming guests for Carnival Cruise Line on Monday, October 10, 2022. The voyage is a 5-night roundtrip Western Caribbean sailing, visiting Cozumel and Progreso, Mexico, with the first and last nights of the trip both being days at sea.
The ship will return to Mobile on Friday, October 15 to debark guests, and no further guests will embark the popular, but older ship.
Carnival Ecstasy‘s retirement was announced in early February 2022, and since that time, plans have been made for her special final voyage in October. Ready to set sail are a total of 2,251 confirmed guests, of which 605 have never sailed with Carnival.
Interest in this cruise is high for the 1,646 guests onboard who have sailed with Carnival Cruise Line previously, as this is the last chance to experience Carnival Ecstasy.
Some of these guests may be seeking to finally enjoy a ship they will never have a chance to sail again, while others may be saying goodbye to a favorite ship or one that holds special memories from past sailings.
Aboard the ship’s last cruise will be Carnival Cruise Line brand ambassador John Heald, who was a cruise director for the Fantasy-class vessel in 1992, making this an especially nostalgic voyage.
“I am very much looking forward to hosting the last ever cruise of the Carnival Ecstasy,” Heald said when announcing some plans for onboard activities.
Popular Carnival cruise director Alex Siegler is the ship’s current cruise director, and is also excited for the celebrations for the ship’s retirement. “I promise we’ll make sure she goes out with a bang!” Siegler said.
To commemorate the voyage, Heald, Siegler, and Carnival Cruise Line have planned some extraordinary, once-in-a-cruise-ship’s-lifetime events and activities for the sailing.
“I have some special events lined up including a charity auction of some of the ship’s memorabilia, a Q and A session with the Captain and senior officers, and other fun events all mixed together with the usual shows and activities the ship’s crew have instore,” Heald announced on his Facebook page on October 6.
Other memorable moments onboard will likely include long-gone activities once familiar on Carnival cruise ships, as well as current favorites like trivia contests, dance lessons, deck parties, atrium parties, and more. Because it is October, onboard events will also include Halloween-themed festivities and spook-tacular fun.
Heald will also be signing commemorative maps of the ship’s final voyage, which will be on sale for $4.99 from the ship’s photo gallery.
Other Fantasy-Class Retirements
Of the eight Fantasy-class ships, five have already left Carnival Cruise Line.
Fantasy, Fascination, Imagination, Inspiration, and Sensation were all scrapped during the pandemic-related shutdown. Because there was no cruise travel ongoing at the time and the ships were already out of active service, none of the vessels had any retirement festivities or planned final voyages.
Carnival Ecstasy first joined the cruise line in 1991, making her the oldest remaining ship in Carnival’s fleet to still be in service.
As cruise ships age, it isn’t always possible to keep them updated with new requirements for engine efficiency, emissions, and other environmental regulations. It can also be difficult to update older vessels to meet guests’ new expectations in terms of onboard entertainment, high-tech features, or popular spaces.
While Carnival Ecstasy‘s ultimate fate has not been announced, it is likely the vessel will meet the same fate as her older sisters. It is also possible, even if unlikely, that the ship could be sold to a smaller cruise line to be refurbished and rebranded for further service.
Sister Ships Still in Service
The last two Fantasy-class ships, Carnival Paradise and Carnival Elation, both joined the fleet in 1998. At the moment, there have been no announced plans to retire either vessel, and both continue to offer guests outstanding cruise experiences.
Carnival Paradise is currently sailing 4-5 night itineraries from Tampa, Florida, with a few 6-night voyages available as well. The ship regularly visits popular ports of call in the Western Caribbean and The Bahamas.
Carnival Elation is homeported in Jacksonville, Florida, offering 4-5 night sailings to The Bahamas, including visits to Princess Cays, Carnival Cruise Line’s private island destination, on longer voyages.
With these two ships still in service, guests who enjoy the smaller Carnival Cruise Line ships still have amazing opportunities to set sail on a more intimate, cozy-sized vessel.