A Company History
Carnival Cruise Lines is the world's most popular cruise line based on passengers carried, with headquarters in Miami and contact centers in Miramar, Fla., and Colorado Springs, Colo. Carnival offers cruises from 20 North American homeports to breathtaking destinations that include Caribbean, Bahamas, Mexican Riviera, Alaska, Canada, Hawaii, Panama Canal, Bermuda, Mediterranean, South America, Tahiti, The Fiji Islands, New Zealand, Norway, the Baltic and the British Isles. The company expects to carry nearly 4.4 million guests this year - the most in the cruise industry.
Our success has grown from one ship in 1972 to 24 “Fun Ships,” including the new 130,000-ton Carnival Breeze which debuted in June 2012. Not only is Carnival Cruise Lines the leader in the cruise industry, it is also one of the most recognizable brands in the world. Carnival has maintained its leadership position largely because of the incredible team of dedicated employees both shipboard and shoreside who are passionate about hospitality, quality, and guest service.
Carnival is a vastly different company than the one started from humble beginnings 40 years ago. Carnival Cruise Lines was launched with a converted transatlantic ocean liner and the dream of entrepreneur Ted Arison, a pioneer in the modern-day cruise industry who set out to realize his vision of making the cruise vacation experience once reserved for the very rich, accessible to anyone and everyone. The rest, as they say, is history.
Here is a summary of our history so far…
- 1972 - Maiden voyage of Carnival's first ship, the TSS Mardi Gras, which runs aground on sandbar outside the Port of Miami. Despite the less-than-spectacular debut of the Mardi Gras, future voyages went more smoothly.
- 1975 - Carnival purchases Empress of Britain, enters service as the TSS Carnivale.
- 1978 - The Festivale, formerly the S.A. Vaal, undergoes $30 million refurbishment, begins service for Carnival as the largest and fastest vessel sailing from Miami to the Caribbean.
- 1982 - Debut of the Tropicale, the first new cruise ship the cruise industry has seen in many years; ship marks the beginning of an industry-wide multi-billion-dollar shipbuilding boom.
- 1984 - Carnival becomes first cruise line to advertise on network T.V. with the premiere of new advertising campaign starring company spokesperson Kathie Lee Gifford (then Johnson).
- 1985 - Debut of 46,052-ton Holiday.
- 1986 - Launch of 47,262-ton Jubilee.
- 1987 - The 47,262-ton Celebration begins service. Carnival earns distinction as "Most Popular Cruise Line in the World," carrying more passengers than any other. Carnival Cruise Lines undertakes its initial public offering on Wall Street, raising approximately $400 million to fuel future expansion; entity later becomes Carnival Corporation, a multi-line worldwide cruise conglomerate.
- 1990 - The 70,367-ton Fantasy - the first and namesake vessel in the highly successful "Fantasy-class" -- enters service as first new ship ever placed on three- and four-day Bahamas cruise program from Miami. Eventually, Carnival would construct eight "Fantasy-class" vessels, the most cruise ships in a single class.
- 1991 - Launch of 70,367-ton Ecstasy.
- 1993 - Carnival introduces its third 70,367-ton SuperLiner, Sensation.
- 1994 - Debut of 70,367-ton Fascination. Carnival's parent company renamed Carnival Corporation to distinguish between it and its flagship brand, Carnival Cruise Lines.
- 1995 - 70,367-ton Imagination enters service.
- 1996 - Carnival launches sixth "Fantasy-class" vessel, the SuperLiner Inspiration. Carnival debuts the first passenger vessel to exceed 100,000 tons, the 101,353-ton Carnival Destiny, at the time the world's largest cruise ship.
- 1998 - Carnival Cruise Lines introduces seventh "Fantasy-class" vessel, the Elation, the first new cruise ship deployed on the West Coast. The eighth and last in the "Fantasy-class" series, the Paradise, enters service.
- 1999 - Debut of the 102,000-ton Carnival Triumph, Carnival's second "Destiny-class" vessel.
- 2000 - A third "Destiny-class" vessel, the 102,000-ton Carnival Victory, is launched.
- 2001 - Carnival introduces a brand new class of vessel with the launch of the 88,500-ton Carnival Spirit, the first new "Fun Ship" ever positioned in the Alaska and Hawaii markets.
- 2002 - A second "Spirit-class" vessel, the Carnival Pride is launched. A third "Spirit-class" ship, the 88,500- ton Carnival Legend, debuts in August. The 110,000-ton Carnival Conquest – at the time, the largest "Fun Ship" ever constructed - began year-round seven-day cruises Dec. 1.
- 2003 - Second 110,000-ton "Conquest-class" ship, the Carnival Glory, enters service.
- 2004 - Carnival Miracle, the fourth in Carnival's "Spirit-class," is introduced.
- 2005 - Debut of a fourth 110,000-ton "Conquest-class" vessel, Carnival Liberty, followed by a third "Conquest-class" ship, Carnival Valor, later in the year.
- 2007 – Launch of fifth 110,000-ton “Conquest-class” vessel, Carnival Freedom.
- 2008 – Carnival introduces a brand new class of vessel with the launch of the 113,300-ton Carnival Splendor.
- 2009 – Carnival introduces a brand new class of vessel with the launch of the 130,000-ton Carnival Dream, the largest “Fun Ship” ever constructed.
- 2011 -- A second “Dream class” vessel, the 130,000-ton Carnival Magic, enters service.
- 2012 -- Third "Dream-class" ship, the Carnival Breeze, debuted in spring 2012.
- 2016 -- An as-yet-unnamed 135,000-ton ship is scheduled to enter service in winter 2016..