Carnival Sunset

Edit: New Information has been posed on June 14, 2022.

On June 23, 2021, Carnival made an announcement about some upcoming changes to their fleet (check out that announcement here). They indicated they would take over the build-out of a brand new Excel-class ship that was destined for sister-brand Aida Cruises. It wouldn’t be until November 11th that the world would learn the name of this new ship: Carnival Jubilee.

If you’re expecting to learn all about the Carnival Jubilee, then check back later because this article is dedicated to the other ship which was announced in the press release from Carnival on June 23rd. Sister-brand Costa is reportedly transferring one of their ships to Carnival Cruise Lines. That ship, the Costa Magica, is a Destiny [Sunshine]-class ship that was built in 2004. I’m beginning to think Carnival Cruise Lines is hungry to replace some of the lost berths from ships they’ve scrapped/sold during COVID.

If you’re familiar with Carnival’s Sunshine-Class, you may notice some significant differences in this image of Costa Magica – of note, the different top deck in the front of the ship that lacks the awkward slope with skylight. (Image courtesy of

It’s interesting to see that Carnival is interested in going with a smaller ship as they sold off several of the Fantasy-Class ships throughout the pandemic. Currently only three of the original eight Fantasy-Class ships remain in service, with one scheduled to be sold off later in 2022.

Ever since the initial announcement, Carnival Jubilee (I know, I said I wasn’t going to talk about her anymore in this article!) has been mentioned by Carnival several times – but the things have been very quiet surrounding Costa Magica. I began to get curious about the ship since, according to the initial announcement, it was scheduled to enter service with Carnival in mid-2022. As we are in March, and have only a few months left until the half-way point of the year, I fear one of two things: the ship will not move over to Carnival Cruise Lines after all, or the rebranding will not be completed until after the 50th anniversary celebration year.

Her new name hasn’t been announced to the public yet. I have my theories however, about the ship’s name since she is coming over as a Sunshine-Class ship. The namesake of the class is called Carnival Sunshine. The second ship in the class was originally referred to as Carnival Triumph, but has since been renamed as Carnival Sunrise. The name is very similar to the Sunshine and as we are preparing to embark on a journey on her, we’ve confused the two ship names multiple times – and, honestly, it’s difficult to remember the name of the ship we’re sailing on! The third ship in the class that was released in late 2021 is the Carnival Radiance, former Carnival Victory.

The ships within the Sunshine-class all bear names that represent the dance that our planet does with the bright star that lights up our day. My speculation on this new [old] ship’s branded name is that Carnival will want to maintain the same theme. Being that Carnival Magic is already taken, does the Costa Magica transform into the Carnival Sunset? Seems logical, right?

What’s Happening Now?

Costa Magica has been spending her days in La Spezia, Italy for some time. Every once in a while I check in on the ship to see if there’s been any movement to a port where her transformation can truly begin. In the almost one year since her announcement, she has not sailed on any revenue cruises, partially thanks to the global cruise shut-down. Within the last couple of months, I have noticed some activity within the port area of La Spezia.

Ever since I’ve started watching her movements, Costa Magica docked at a pier for the first time yesterday. Genoa, Italy is where she currently sits, though not at a dry dock pier. For the past couple of months, I have checked various websites to see her whereabouts almost daily. Costa’s Concordia-Class ship, Costa Pacifica has been doing a tango dance with the port of La Spezia over the past several weeks. Based on Costa Pacifica’s movements, it does not appear that she is doing revenue cruises, but is instead waiting to get to a point where she can get crew back onboard and then start welcoming passengers back. While Costa Pacifica does her do-si-do around La Spezia, docking at port and then sailing out to the open waters, Costa Magica was staying just outside of the port area.

Costa Pacifica and Costa Magica spending time in the harbor of La Spezia on February 27, 2022. (image courtesy of

Recently, I have noticed some new changes to Costa Magica’s behavior including the ship sailing even further outside the port area into more open waters. Even more interesting, each day one of her tender boats (Tb22 on the image below) goes on a mini journey to dock at a pier. It seems that every day there is a different tender boat that makes the run to the pier, too. It is difficult for me to identify how long the boat remains in the port, and we don’t know what’s happening on these mini-journeys, but let’s hypothesize for a moment…

Costa Magica tender boat 22 (Tb22) making the trek from the namesake ship to the pier in La Spezia, Italy on February 26, 2022. (Image courtesy of

Idea 1: The tender boats are going ashore because Carnival Corporation is using the ship to move crew around. Maybe they’re going onto Costa Magica for training and development purposes, or they’re using the ship as a quarantine space. Costa Pacifica could be meeting with other Costa branded ships off the coast of Italy where she picks up crew who test positive for COVID-19 and she then brings them to the shore where the Costa Magica tender boat picks up the crew and additional provisions.

Idea 2: The tender boats are heading to the port to pick up/drop off supplies and/or decorative elements that are currently on Costa Magica, or they’re picking up elements specific to Carnival to begin the re-branding process. I am secretly hoping that it’s this idea as that would put us even closer to an announcement of the Carnival [Sunset]. However, I would think that if they’re performing construction on the ship to bring her over to the Carnival Cruise Lines fleet, they would dock her in a port to minimize the amount of time it takes to perform the transition.

Either way, I’m very curious to find out what happens to Costa Magica. Will she migrate over to the big sister of Carnival Cruise Lines? The biggest – and most notable change – would be that the exhaust system would have to be modified to receive the iconic Carnival funnel, the addition of the Ropes Course, and some reconfiguring of interior spaces to match her sisters in the class.

Do you have any knowledge of what’s going on with this ship, or do you have any speculations that you’d like to share? We would love to hear them!

April 11, 2022 – Costa Magica has entered what appears to be a dry dock basin in Marseille, France. It is unclear how long she will remain here, but this dry dock seems to be operated by Chantier Ship Yard. It will be interesting to watch what happens in the coming weeks, and if any subsequent announcements are made.

June 14, 2022 – Costa Magica has been out of the dry docks in Maseille, France for several weeks now, and has been hanging around off the cost of La Spezia, Italy. Today, Carnival Cruise Line announced a change to their plans, leaving Costa Magica in the trusting hands of Costa Croceire and will instead be moving the hybrid Spirit- Vista- Class ship, Costa Luminosa over to Carnival. The ship, renamed Carnival Luminosa, will begin sailing the Australian summer in November 2022, and will switch to the Alaskan summer in 2023. From there, the ship will continue to switch between the two high-season sailings each summer. Expect Carnival Luminosa to debut without the Fun Ship 2.0 upgrades. To read more, head over to Carnival’s press room here.

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