Carnival Corporation has reported new ship shuffling measures across its cruise brands as the company continues to respond to changes in the industry as it recovers from the impact of the pandemic and shifts in travel patterns . Three of the company’s brands have announced changes to their operations, a cruise ship has reportedly been retired and sold.
Speaking to investors and analysts in March 2022, CEO Arnold Donald indicated that the company would continue to redeploy ships and retire older, less efficient ships in 2022. He said they expect to retire three other smaller ships, which would bring the total. to 22 cruise ships retired from the company’s fleet since 2019. Historically, the company retired about three ships a year before the pandemic as part of its efforts to modernize the fleet. Donald said that when they resume full operations, almost a quarter of the capacity will be on board “newly delivered vessels”.
German Aida Cruises
Detailing plans for its winter 2022-2023 deployments, Carnival’s German brand Aida has confirmed it will be retiring a cruise ship after recently adding a new, larger LNG-powered ship to the fleet. “After 20 years of success, AIDAvita will no longer be used for the company,” the company said in its announcement. Reports say the vessel, which is currently laid up in Tallinn, Estonia, has been sold while Aida declined to comment saying only that they had opted not to return the vessel to service.
Built in 2002, the 42,200 gross ton AIDAvita and a sister ship AIDAaura, were the first expansion of the brand which had been launched in 1996 as a successor to the East German holiday clubs. The AIDAvita and sister continued the unique elements of the brand with primarily casual self-service dining and a focus on fitness with a large gym. The sale of the AIDAvitamarks the third cruise ship to be recently retired from the Aida brand.
Carnival Cruise Line and Costa Cruises
“With the return of our full fleet to guest operations and the pent-up demand for Carnival that we see weekly on board our ships, the opportunity to grow with Luminous then the arrival of Carnival Celebration in November gives our customers more choices and new ways to enjoy the Carnival vacation,” said Christine Duffy, President of Carnival Cruise Line, also announcing the company’s second realignment today.
Carnival Cruise Line was to take over the 102,780 gross ton Costa Magica from Costa Cruises this year. Similar to Carnival’s Sunshine class, she was to be overhauled as the fourth ship of this design. The Costa Magic, introduced in 2004, was recently in an Italian shipyard and has not yet been returned to service. Carnival announced today that it will instead acquire the smaller Costa Luminosa this fall with the largest remaining vessel with Costa.
Introduced in 2010, the Costa Luminosa is a 92,600 gross ton cruise ship and shares a design with Carnival’s Spirit class. It can accommodate 2,260 passengers compared to the largest capacity of 2,700 on the Costa Magic.
“Our Spirit class ships are very popular with our customers and Luminous will be a great addition given the large number of balcony cabins that make her an ideal vessel for this deployment. And just as importantly, it will allow Carnival to finally begin our highly anticipated itineraries from Brisbane, so we will have two ships operating in Australia for the peak season Down Under,” said Duffy.
After this delivery in November 2022, the ship will be renamed Luminous Carnival and will operate seasonally from October to April from Brisbane, Australia, then reposition to Seattle, where it will sail Alaskan routes from May to September, before returning to Brisbane. Carnival said, however, that given the short lead time to obtain Luminous Carnival Ready for service, the ship will undergo only a few modest updates to transition from Costa to Carnival over the next few months before service begins in November. The ship, while operated by Carnival and branded for the line, will not at this time receive the unique spaces and decor of other Carnival cruise ships.
Carnival is moving quickly to restore its Carnival Australia operation after the more than two-year hiatus in all cruises from Australia. In addition to Luminous Carnivalbigger Carnival Splendor will also arrive in Sydney to resume year-round sailing from Australia on October 2, 2022.