Carnival Cruise Line has 25 ships in service, with another set to join the fleet in 2024. That’s more than any other cruise line in the world!
With so many ships to choose from, it can be virtually impossible to remember which Carnival cruise ships are the newest and which are the older ones.
But, with some stark contrasts between the newest and oldest ships in the Carnival fleet, this is something that you’ll probably want to know before you book.
After all, a cruise on a ship that’s 20+ years old is going to be quite a different experience from what you’ll get if you choose one of Carnival’s fun new mega-ships!
And to further confuse things, Carnival has re-named several of its older ships, to create some new ships that are actually pretty old.
So, read on for a list of Carnival cruise ships by age, as well as some helpful info about the various ships in the fleet.
Carnival Cruise Ships By Age
This table shows all Carnival cruise ships from newest to oldest as well as when they were last refurbished.
Although some Carnival cruise ships are pretty old, every ship undergoes an extensive dry dock refurbishment at least every five years. So even if you choose one of the oldest ships, you can rest assured that everything will be in good working order and looking good.
Carnival Cruise Line acquired Carnival Luminosa from Costa Cruises, renamed the ship as Carnival Luminosa and added it to the Carnival fleet in September 2022.
Then Costa Venezia was renamed Carnival Venezia and relaunched in 2023. To complete the tri of ex-Costa ships, Costa Firenze will launch as Carnival Firenze in 2024.
You can read more about those here: The Newest Carnival Ships (including ships acquired from Costa Cruises).
What is the newest Carnival cruise ship in 2023?
The newest Carnival cruise ship currently at sea is Carnival Venezia. Acquired from Costa Cruises where she sailed as Costa Venezia, this ship made her first voyage for Carnival on May 29, 2023.
While you’re here, you might also be interested in this list of Carnival Cruise Ships by Size to see how much the ships have grown over the years!
What will be the next Carnival cruise ship to launch?
The next new Carnival cruise ship to launch will be Carnival Jubilee. A sister ship to Mardi Gras and Carnival Celebration, the new Carnival Jubilee is set to make her maiden voyage on December 23, 2023.
Carnival Jubilee’s maiden voyage was originally set to be will be a 17-night transatlantic sailing from Southampton, UK to Galveston, Texas on 30th October 2023.
However, the cruise line as forced to delay the launch due to supply chain logistics. [source]. Instead, Carnival Jubilee’s first cruise will depart on 23 December from Galveston, Texas.
The ship will be based out of Galveston and offer 7-night Western Caribbean itineraries.
What is the oldest Carnival cruise ship still in service?
The oldest Carnival ship in service is the Carnival Sunshine which was launched in 1996. This Sunshine-class ship was known as Carnival Destiny until it was renamed in 2013 during a refit.
Carnival Sunshine was groundbreaking in the 1990s as the first-ever ship to exceed 100,000 gross tonnes in size. Modern cruise ships are now much larger, with Royal Caribbean’s newest ship, Icon of the Seas set to exceed 250,000 gross tonnes.
Prior to October 2022, the oldest Carnival ship in service was the Carnival Ecstasy which was launched in 1991. This Fantasy-class ship was also one of the smallest ships in the Carnival fleet, accommodating just 2,606 guests across 10 decks.
Which Carnival ships were scrapped?
Here’s a list of Carnival ships that were scrapped recently:
- Carnival Ecstasy was scrapped in Turkey in November 2022 at 31 years of age.
- Carnival Sensation retired in February 2022. The ship never restarted operations after the global pause in 2020.
- Carnival Fascination left the Carnival fleet in September 2020. After initial plans to be turned into a floating hotel fell through, the ship was scrapped in Pakistan.
- Carnival Imagination was sold in September 2020 after a long lay-up. The ship then headed to Turkey to be scrapped.
- Carnival Inspiration was sold for recycling in July 2020 along with the Carnival Fantasy.
- Carnival Fantasy was the first ship to leave the fleet in July 2020 as a result of the shutdown. The ship was scrapped in Turkey.
Are the newer Carnival ships better?
Many people believe that the newest Carnival cruise ships are the best. And if you want to ride a sky bike or rollercoaster high above the top deck, then they might well be. However, even the oldest Carnival cruise ships have water slides, splash parks, mini golf, kids’ clubs, casinos, and nightclubs, so you’ll never be short of something to do.
Carnival cruises can be very loud and brash, so you may even find that sharing your ship with 5,000 other guests is a little too much and prefer the atmosphere of a smaller 2,000-passenger ship.
To find out which Carnival cruise ship is considered the best, I collated the review scores from all of the major cruise review sites. You can find the verdict here: Carnival Ships Ranked From Best To Worst and in this video…
You’ll also want to think about the price. People are willing to pay a premium to be among the first to try the latest and greatest new ships, so there are some real bargains to be had if you’re willing to give one of the older vessels a chance.
One thing to consider though, is that balcony rooms are pretty rare on Carnival’s oldest ships. But if you’d be happy with an Ocean View, then these can be a good option.
Suggested read: What to Expect From Carnival’s Ocean View Rooms
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Carnival Cruise Ships
Here’s some more information about each of the ships in the Carnival Cruise Line Fleet along with photos…
Carnival Jubilee will be Carnival’s newest cruise ship when she sets sail in December 2023. This Excel-class cruise ship will be a sister ship to Carnival Celebration and Mardi Gras.
Carnival Venezia is Carnival’s newest ship. She made her debut as Costa Venezia for Costa Cruises in May 2019 and was originally made to serve the Chinese market. In 2023, the ship was transferred to Carnival and renovated before making her debut for Carnival.
Carnival Celebration is Carnival’s new cruise ship for 2022. This Excel-class cruise ship is a sister ship to Mardi Gras and the second ship to feature the BOLT rollercoaster. Carnival Celebration cruises out of Miami all year round.
Carnival Luminosa was launched for Costa Cruises as Costa Luminosa in 2009. While Carnival calls this a Spirit-class ship, the design also features elements from the Vista Class. She was transferred to the Carnival fleet in 2022.
Carnival’s Mardi Gras cruise ship was launched in 2021. This Excel-class cruise ship can accommodate up to 6,500 passengers at maximum occupancy as well as a crew of 2,000.
Carnival Panorama is three years old, being launched in 2019. This Vista-class cruise ship can accommodate 4,008 guests and was the flagship of Carnival Cruise Line until Mardi Gras was launched.
The Carnival Horizon cruise ship is four years old and was launched in the spring of 2018. This Vista-class cruise ship and can accommodate 3,960 guests, slightly less than sister-ship Carnival Panorama.
Carnival Vista cruise was launched in 2016, making the ship six years old. The first of Carnival’s Vista-Clas ships, this ship was highly-anticipated, marking the end of a four-year-long pause in shipbuilding for the cruise line.
The Carnival Breeze cruise ship is ten years old. The ship was launched in 2012 and was last refurbished in 20167. Carnival Breeze is a Dream-class cruise ship and can accommodate 3,690 guests and 1,386 crew members.
The Carnival Magic cruise ship is 11 years old. Launched in 2011, the ship was last refurbished in May 2021 and now has the new blue, white and red livery. Carnival Magic is a Dream-class cruise ship and can accommodate 3,690 guests.
Carnival Dream was launched in 2009, making her 13 years old. The most advanced cruise ship in the world at the time, this ship was last refurbished in 2017. Like the other Dream-class ships, she can accommodate around 3,600 guests at double occupancy.
Carnival Splendor cruise ship is 14 years old. Launched in 2009 and last refurbished in 2017, she is the only Splendor-class ship in Carnival’s fleet. This is because she was originally ordered by Costa Cruises as a sister ship to the Costa Concordia which tragically sank in 2012.
Carnival Freedom is a 15-year-old cruise ship that was launched in 2007. She has since been refurbished in 2019. The last of Carnival’s Conquest-class ships, she can accommodate 2,980 guests at double occupancy.
Carnival Liberty was launched in 2005, making her 17 years old. This ship has been refurbished several times. In 2011 she was the first ship to receive the FUN 2.0 enhancements and in 2021 she received the new blue, white and red livery.
The Carnival Miracle cruise ship is 18 years old. The ship was launched in 2004 and was last refurbished in 2020. Carnival Miracle is a Spirit-class cruise ship, offering more space per passenger than any other ship in the fleet.
Carnival Valor launched in 2004, making this cruise ship is 18 years old. However, she was refurbished recently in 2021. This Conquest-class cruise ship accommodates just under 3,000 guests.
Carnival Glory made her debut in 2003 but was last refurbished in 2021. This 19-year-old cruise ship is a Conquest-class cruise ship, accommodating around 3,000 guests.
Launched in 2002, the 20-year-old Carnival Conquest cruise ship was the first of a new class of ships for Carnival Cruise Line, back in the day. The ship was last refurbished in 2017.
The Carnival Legend cruise ship is 20 years old. The ship was launched in 2002 and was last refurbished in 2018. Carnival Legend is a Spirit-class cruise ship with space for 2,124 passengers – relatively small compared to most modern cruise ships.
Carnival Pride is a Spirit-class cruise ship. Launched in 2002, this ship is now 20 years old but was last refurbished in 2019. Carnival Pride can carry just 2,124 passengers but is one of the most spacious ships in Carnival’s fleet.
Carnival Spirit debuted in 2001 and is now 21 years of age. If this ship were a person, she’d be old enough to drink! This first of the spacious Spirit-class ships, Carnival Spirit was last refurbished in 2018.
Carnival Radiance was first launched in 2000 under the name Carnival Victory. In 2021, the ship underwent a huge $200 million bow-to-stern makeover, was given the new livery and was Christened again with the new name.
Carnival Sunrise started off as Carnival Triumph in 1999. But in 2019, the ship underwent a $200 million transformation that took 38 days to complete. She was then Christened again with the new name – Carnival Sunrise.
The Carnival Elation cruise ship is 24 years old. The ship was launched in 1998 and was last refurbished in 2020. One of the smallest in Carnival’s fleet, Carnival Elation is a Fantasy-class cruise ship and can accommodate 2,130 guests.
Just like Carnival Elation, Carnival Paradise also made her debut in 1998 and is 24 years old. This Fantasy-class cruise ship was last refurbished in 2018.
Carnival Sunshine was originally named Carnival Destiny when the ship was launched in 1996. In 2013, the ship underwent a $155 million transformation which saw an entire deck added to the front third of the ship and the addition of 182 more cabins.
Carnival Ecstasy is the oldest ship in Carnival Cruise Line’s fleet at 31 years old. This Fantasy-class ship made its debut all the way back in 1991. Despite her old age, Carnival Ecstasy continues to provide a party atmosphere on short cruises to the Bahamas in a Vegas-style setting.
Carnival Cruise Ship FAQs
Carnival Cruise Lines commenced sailing in 1972. The first cruise was on board Mardi Gras on March 11, 1972.
Carnival Cruise Line’s second cruise ship was called Carnivale. Launched in 1975, this ship belonged to the Canadian Pacific Line before it was acquired by Carnival.
No Carnival Cruise Line ship has ever sunk. However, the Costa Concordia which sank in 2012 was owned by Costa Cruises, a subsidiary of the Carnival Corporation.
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