Which Cruise Ships Will be Sold or Scrapped?

Carnival Fantasy

Carnival Fantasy. Credit: Ron Cogswell / CC BY 2.0

Cruise fans may never find some of their favourite cruise ships with some of them ready to be laid-up, sold or scrapped. Cruise departures worldwide halted due to the global COVID-19 pandemic concerns. With no quick comeback for cruising in the cards, some of the big players in the industry may permanently retire parts of their fleets.

Cruise giant Carnival Corporation, with around 100 ships, recently stated that they were ready to dispose of six of the vessels in the next 90 days. Carnival Corporation CEO Arnold Donald hinted at a recent interview that some of the ships would go for dismantling. The CEO of the world’s third-largest cruise company, Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings, also recently stated that ship retirements in the industry were likely. 

Cruise companies have not explicitly announced any shortlists for the removal of the vessels. However, age is a marker of whether a vessel is on the way out of a fleet. Major lines may consider selling off older vessels after they reach 20 or 25 years of age. Carnival, for instance, during the economic downturn of 2008 and 2001, removed two ships Celebration and Holiday from its fleet that were 21 and 24 years old, respectively. Such ships are often sold to smaller lines that can’t afford newer vessels. 

Some Vessels that may disappear from their respective lines in the coming months are:

Carnival Fantasy

One of the oldest ships in the Carnival fleet, and there are hints that this line may go off. Debuting in 1990, the ship hasn’t undergone a dry dock overhaul since January 2019. Carnival Elation and Carnival Inspiration may also be removed from the fleet.

Empress of the Seas

Royal Caribbean’s oldest ship debuted in 1990 and is now 30 years old. Royal Caribbean already has removed it from its fleet once before, in 2008, when it transferred the vessel to the Royal Caribbean-affiliated Spanish line Pullmantur. Other Royal Caribbean’s ships include Grandeur of the Seas and Majesty of the Seas.

Pacific Princess

Pacific Princess has been an outlier in the Princess Cruises line’s fleet for some time. Two other Princess vessels that would be logical candidates for removal from the line’s fleet are its two Sun Class ships: Sun Princess and Sea Princess.


Holland America’s oldest and smallest ship is listed for sale on shipbroker sites and has no sailings scheduled beyond September 2021. Just two of the ships remain in the Holland America fleet – Maasdam and younger sister Veendam, which debuted in 1996. Veendam is another logical candidate for removal from the Holland America fleet.

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