The former Carnival Fascination cruise ship has reached the end of her long and productive life, as she arrived in Gadani, Pakistan, on February 9, 2022, to be beached and scrapped. This marks the end of the vessel’s service and a distinguished career that spanned more than 25 years and two cruise lines.
Carnival Fascination at Scrapyard
Workers are already aboard the vessel as it approaches the ship-breaking yard in Gadani, Pakistan, preparing the ship for scrapping. This can involve removing items that may be able to be resold, such as lighting fixtures and other electronics, furniture, china, appliances, and more.
The ship will then be broken into pieces, with the material sold for reuse. It is likely that some of the metal, after recycling, may one day end up as part of a new cruise ship that will continue to delight passengers with the same fun and vitality that Carnival Fascination brought to travelers for so many years.
While several of her sister Fantasy-class vessels were scrapped quickly, Carnival Fascination first seemed to find new life as she was purchased by Century Cruises in November 2020. Her name was to be changed to Century Harmony, and the ship was rumored to be refitted for service as a floating hotel in Asia.
Later, various reports seemed to indicate the startup of a new China-based cruise line that would feature the renamed ship heading up its fleet. The ship did indeed go a variety of refurbishments toward that goal, but the refitting was incomplete.
Unfortunately, the new owners of the once grand cruise ship were unable to financially maintain the vessel as the pandemic pause wore on and travel in Asia did not resume quickly.
The ship was sold again, this time to be scrapped, as her value as raw material far exceeds the value she could bring after necessary refurbishments and renovations to continue sailing.
Carnival Fascination – originally named Fascination until the prefix Carnival was added to all ships in the fleet in 2007 – was the fourth of the Fantasy-class ships built for Carnival when she entered service in July 1994.
She was constructed at the Helsinki New Shipyard in Finland, and spent most of her years with Carnival Cruise Line sailing Caribbean itineraries from various homeports, including New York, New York; Miami and Jacksonville, Florida; San Juan, Puerto Rico; and Bridgetown, Barbados.
The ship received various upgrades and renovations during her time in the Carnival fleet, including the addition of technology, updated staterooms, and, in 2015, the WaterWorks water park with the Splash Zone and Twister Waterslide.
Her final renovation was in 2018, when Guy’s Burger Joint, the BlueIguana Cantina, Cherry on Top, and other dining venues were added.
Over the years, Carnival Fascination offered Fun Ship getaways to millions of passengers and visited a wide range of ports of call. Yet some of her most memorable service was near the end of her tenure with Carnival Cruise Line.
In October 2017, the ship was chartered with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to house relief workers in the U.S. Virgin Islands. This was in response to the devastation from Hurricane Irma and Hurricane Maria, and Carnival Fascination served as home to workers restoring the islands until early February, 2018, after which she entered her final drydock.
Carnival Fascination ceased sailing, along with the entire Carnival fleet, when the cruise line ceased operations in March 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
At first, she was on hold with anticipation of resuming service, but as the worldwide crises continued, Carnival Fascination was laid up with no firm date for a return to service.
In September 2020, Carnival Cruise Line announced that the ship would be retired, part of a restructuring of the Carnival fleet that involved removing several older, less efficient vessels from operation.
This step had already been planned for the future, but the financial challenges of the pandemic accelerated the fleet’s restructuring and Carnival Fascination was placed on the market.
Last of the Fantasy Class
The scrapping of Carnival Fascination is one step closer to the end of Carnival Cruise Line’s popular Fantasy-class vessels. Her sister ships Carnival Fantasy, Carnival Inspiration, and Carnival Imagination were all sent to the Aliaga ship-breaking facility in Turkey.
Earlier this month, Carnival Cruise Line provided an update on two more Fantasy-class vessels. Carnival Sensation will not be returning from the pandemic shutdown, and the vessel has already been listed for sale. Carnival Ecstasy is still currently sailing, but will complete her final voyage and leave the fleet October 10, 2022.
At the moment, Carnival Paradise and Carnival Elation are the last two Fantasy-class ships that are planned to remain in the Carnival fleet, carrying on the proud tradition of these popular vessels.