Desperate Times, Desperate Measures

During these times of uncertainty, the world has been patiently waiting for the tourism industry to start back up. All eyes have been on the ever-so-unstable leisure cruise industry as the CDC makes modifications to their no-sail order and CLIA works to assemble guideline standards across the board.

We have seen two large cruise lines fold since COVID-19 began to take hold. Pullmantur Cruises operated defunct Royal Caribbean ships among others and was the first cruise line to sink. Their ships have ended up in Turkey to be scrapped.

Pullmantur Website Screengrab from July 23, 2020Screenshot from, July 23, 2020
The second cruise line to fall out was Cruise & Maritime Voyages (CMV) which operated out of Essex, United Kingdom. They were a fairly young cruise line, formed only in 2009, however all of the fleet that sailed under the CMV flag was recycled from other cruise lines.

CMV Cruise Line Administration Notice from Website, July 23, 2020Screenshot from, July 23, 2020

Pullmantur was a name I had seen while sailing in the Caribbean on recent voyages, but CMV is new to me. I was curious about the fleet they operated and discovered several Holland America Line ships and one relic that I just had to do further research on: CMV Magellan, formerly known as Carnival Holiday. My knowledge and interest in Carnival Cruise Lines brought forward the rabbit hole that surrounded the Holiday-class of ships and had me wondering where those three ladies drifted off to.

Up until 1981, Carnival Cruise Lines had purchased ships that had sailed under other operators as a way of testing the waters and market for passenger cruise ships. The first ship they built from the hull up was the Tropicale. It was on the Tropicale they introduced the very first whale of a tail funnel, a tradition that has sat firmly in place on every ship launched since!

By 1985, a new class of ships was born. The Holiday was a baby by today’s standards, weighing in at a mere 46,052 Gross Tons. Standing 8 decks tall, she could carry 1,486 guests to their Caribbean dream destinations. Her history was rich as she aided in recovery efforts during Hurricane Katrina in 2005 as a temporary housing unit for victims of the storm. Holiday was the leader in her namesake class and remained in service with Carnival until November 2009.

When the Holiday was sold, she underwent a transformation to become the Grand Holiday for Carnival’s sister company, Iberocruceros. She began sailing with them in May of 2010 and continued to build her history as she played host as a four-star hotel at the Russia Winter Olympics in February 2014.

By November of 2014, Holiday was sold once again. This time to her ill-fated CMV parent. Her name was changed to Magellan by the spring of 2015 as she became the flagship for Cruise & Maritime Voyages. A great homage was paid to this 30-year old ship and she was given a new life under CMVs control. Unfortunately, the pandemic has taken CMV down and the current fate of the former Carnival Holiday is unknown.

The second ship in the Holiday Class was originally known as Jubilee and she launched in 1986. She was slightly larger than her older sister, which gave guests more space to spread out and enjoy their vacation. Jubilee sailed with Carnival Cruise Lines through 2004 and when she transferred to her new owner, P&O Cruises Australia, her funnel was changed, losing the iconic whale tail appearance for a more modern, streamlined stove-pipe styled funnel. Upon entering service with P&O, her name was also changed to Pacific Sun where she would sail through 2012. Over the course of her time as a P&O ship, she encountered a gnarly storm in 2008 where 42 passengers were injured onboard.

In 2013, Jubilee was sold for her third and final time to HNA Cruises when her name was changed to Henna. She sailed mostly in the Chinese market until the cruise line announced that their operational costs were exceeding their profits for the three years of operations forcing them to sell the Henna. No one was willing to front the bill to buy such an old ship, so she was sent to her final resting place in Alang, India. Her scrapping had concluded by the end of 2017.

The third, and final ship in the Holiday Class, was the Celebration which launched in 1987. She was the same size as the Jubilee and remained with Carnival until 2008.

Carnival CelebrationCarnival Celebration – photo: Wikipedia
When she was retired from Carnival Cruise Lines, she underwent an extensive refit and moved over to Iberocruceros as the Grand Celebration. She was reunited with her little sister, the Grand Holiday in 2010, and they had stayed together until Iberocruceros shuttered operations in 2014.

The plan was to move the Grand Celebration to Costa Cruises and receive the name change to Costa Celebration. The day before her inaugural sailing with Costa, an announcement was made that she had been sold to an unnamed buyer and that her voyages and reservations were canceled. It was soon discovered that the Celebration was on her way to Bahamas Paradise Cruise Line. By early 2015, the Grand Celebration was up and running with her new parents. She retained the famous funnel and donned a new paint color scheme.

In 1990, the leisure cruising industry was really taking off and Carnival took their design successes from the Tropicale and the Holiday class ships and developed the new, and largest class of ships to date for the Carnival Cruise Line brand, the Fantasy class. At the time of this writing, the namesake of the class, the Fantasy, is sailing into the sunset on her final voyage to Aliaga, Turkey, where she will be laid to rest and sold for scrap.

While it is sad to see these historic and beloved ships being sold for scrap, it’s a sign of the uncertain times we are currently in. The global pandemic has impacted every aspect of life and the cruise leisure industry is certainly no exception. Stay faithful to your brands and show the love to your booking agents, as those are the actions that will be necessary to keep these massive hotels on the water afloat.

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