Carnival retires another ship; moves ships around at three brands

The ongoing impact of the pandemic on the global cruise industry continues to be felt, withCarnival Corporation reporting further moves to shift around vessels within in its cruise brands, and to move some ships into retirement a little earlier than  would otherwise have been the case.

Three of the corporation’s brands have announced changes in their operations. One cruise ship reportedly being retired and sold.

In March 2022 the CEO Arnold Donald said that during 2022 Carnival would continue to redeploy ships and retire older, less efficient ships. He said that Carnival was planning the removal of an additional three smaller ships. That would see 22 cruise ships, just under 20% of its roster in January 2020, removed from the corporation’s fleet. Historically the corporation had been removing an average of three ships a year.

Carnival’s German brand, Rostock-based Aida, confirmed that it would be retiring the AIDAvita (IMO 9221554) after recently adding a new, larger LNG-powered ship to the fleet. The ship is currently laid up in Tallinn, Estonia. It was not clear if the vessel had been sold or would be towed away for scrap. The market for older vessels, which previously had often been sold to smaller boutique cruise ship operators, often on generous financial loan terms, has fallen away dramatically since the start of the pandemic.

The 42,200 gt 2002-built AIDAvita, and sister ship AIDAaura, were the first expansion of the brand which had been launched in 1996 as a successor to East Germany’s vacation clubs. The sale of the AIDAvita, marks the third cruise ship to recently be removed from the Aida brand.

Meanwhile, at Carnival Cruise Line and Costa Cruises there has been some reshuffling. Christine Duffy, president of Carnival Cruise Line, said that “with our full fleet back to guest operations and the pent-up demand for Carnival we are seeing every week aboard our ships, the chance to expand with Costa Luminosa (IMO 9398905) and then the arrival of Carnival Celebration (IMO 9837456) in November provides our guests with more choices and new ways to enjoy a Carnival vacation”.

Carnival Cruise Line had been scheduled to take over the 102,780 gt Costa Magica from Costa Cruises this year. Introduced in 2004, the Costa Magica had been at an Italian shipyard recently and was yet to return to service. Carnival has now said that it would be acquiring the smaller Costa Luminosa this autumn, with the Costa Magica remaining with Costa.

The Costa Luminosa, launched in 2010, is a 92,600 gt cruise ship and shares a design with Carnival’s Spirit class. It accommodates 2,260 passengers, compared to the 2,700 capacity on the Costa Magica.

After delivery in November 2022 the ship will be renamed Carnival Luminosa and will operate seasonally from October through to April from Brisbane, Australia and then reposition to Seattle, where it will sail Alaska itineraries from May through to September. Carnival said, however, that given the short timeline to get Carnival Luminosa ready for service, the ship will only go through some modest updates to change over from Costa to Carnival over the next few months ahead of the November service start-up. The ship, while being staffed by Carnival and branded for the line, will not be receiving straight away the distinct décor of the other Carnival cruise ships.

Carnival is moving quickly to re-establish its Carnival Australia operation after a more than two-year pause in all cruises from Australia. In addition to the Carnival Luminosa, the larger Carnival Splendor (IMO 9333163) will arrive in Sydney to resume Australia-based sailing year-round from on October 2nd 2022.

2002-built, Italy-flagged, 42,289 gt AIDAvita is owned by Costa Crociere Spa of Genoa, Italy, and managed by Aida Cruises of Rostock, Germany ISM manager is Carnival Maritime GmbH of Hamburg, Germany. Carnival insures for P&I with a trio of Group Clubs – Gard, Steamship Mutual and UK Club – with some covering the legal owner, some the subsidiary brand and some the parent group. As of June 16th the AIDAvita was moored in Tallinn.

2009-built, Italy-flagged, 92,270 gt Costa Luminosa is owned and managed by Costa Crociere Spa of Genoa, Italy. ISM manager is Carnival Maritime GmbH of Hamburg, Germany. As of June 16th it was moored in Corfu, Greece.

2023-built, Panama-flagged, 184,000 gt Carnival Celebration is owned by Carnival Corp of Doral, Florida, USA and managed by Carnival Cruise Line of Doral, Florida, USA.

2008-built, Panama-flagged, 113,573 gt Carnival Splendor is owned and ISM managed by Carnival Cruise LIne of Doral, Florida, USA. It is managed by Carnival Corp of the same address.