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Our History

Carnival Cruise Lines is the world's most popular cruise line based on the number of guests who sail with us. With headquarters in Miami and contact centers in Miramar, Florida, and Colorado Springs, Colorado. Carnival offers cruise vacations from 20 North American homeports to breathtaking destinations that include Caribbean, Bahamas, Mexican Riviera, Alaska, Canada, Hawaii, Panama Canal, Bermuda, South America, Tahiti, The Fiji Islands, Australia, New Zealand, Mediterranean, Norway, the Baltic and the British Isles. Carnival carried nearly 4.4 million guests in 2014 - the most in the cruise industry. Carnival is a vastly evolved 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. Take a look below to find out more about how we arrived at where we are today.
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1970's
1972

Maiden voyage of Carnival's first ship

Carnival's first ship the TSS Mardi Gras, ran aground on a sandbar outside the Port of Miami during the maiden voyage. Despite the less-than-spectacular debut of the Mardi Gras, future voyages went more smoothly.

1975

DEBUT OF TSS CARNIVALE

Carnival purchases Empress of Britain, enters service as the TSS Carnivale.

1978

DEBUT OF TSS FESTIVALE

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.

1980's
1982

DEBUT OF THE TROPICALE, THE FIRST CUSTOM BUILT CARNIVAL VESSEL

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 the 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

Carnival introduces a new class of vessel with the launch of the Holiday.

1986

LAUNCH OF 47,262-TON JUBILEE

Carnival introduces a second vessel in the Holiday class of ships.

1987

The 47,262-ton Celebration begins service 

The 47,262-ton Celebration begins service. Carnival earns distinction as "Most Popular Cruise Line in the World," carrying more guests 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's
1990

THE 70,367-TON CARNIVAL FANTASY – THE FIRST AND NAMESAKE VESSEL IN THE HIGHLY SUCCESSFUL "FANTASY-CLASS"

The 70,367-ton Carnival Fantasy - the first and namesake vessel in the highly successful "Fantasy-class" -- enters service as first new ship ever placed on the 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 Carnival Ecstasy

1993

Carnival introduces its third 70,367-ton SuperLiner, Carnival Sensation

1994

Debut of 70,367-ton Carnival Fascination

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 Carnival Imagination enters service

1996

Carnival launches sixth "Fantasy-class" vessel, the SuperLiner Carnival Inspiration 

Carnival launches sixth "Fantasy-class" vessel, the SuperLiner Carnival Inspiration.

Carnival debuts the world's largest cruise ship of its time, the 101,353-ton Carnival Destiny

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 and eighth "Fantasy-class" vessels

Carnival Cruise Lines introduces seventh "Fantasy-class" vessel, the Carnival Elation, the first new cruise ship deployed on the West Coast. The eighth and last in the "Fantasy-class" series, the Carnival Paradise, enters service.

1999

DEBUT OF THE 102,000-TON CARNIVAL TRIUMPH

Carnival's second "Destiny-class" vessel is launched.

2000's
2000

DEBUT OF THE 102,000-TON CARNIVAL VICTORY

A third "Destiny-class" vessel is launched.

2001

A NEW ‘SPIRIT’ CLASS IS LAUNCHED

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. Carnival Spirit relocates to Australia in 2013

2002

A second and third "Spirit-class" vessel, the Carnival Pride and Carnival Legend are launched 

A second "Spirit-class" vessel, the Carnival Pride is launched. A third "Spirit-class" ship, the 88,500- ton Carnival Legend, debuts in August.

Carnival Conquest, the largest fun ship ever constructed makes debut 

The 110,000-ton Carnival Conquest – at the time, the largest "Fun Ship" ever constructed - began year-round seven-day cruises Dec. 1.

2003

CARNIVAL GLORY ENTERS SERVICE

Second 110,000-ton "Conquest-class" ship is launched.

2004

Carnival Miracle is introduced

The fourth in Carnival's "Spirit-class" enters service.

2005

Debut of a fourth 110,000-ton "Conquest-class" vessel, Carnival Liberty

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 enters service.

2008

A NEW ‘SPLENDOR’ CLASS IS LAUNCHED

Carnival introduces a brand new class of vessel with the launch of the 113,300-ton Carnival Splendor.

2009

A NEW ‘DREAM’ CLASS IS LAUNCHED

Carnival introduces a brand new class of vessel with the launch of the 130,000-ton Carnival Dream, the largest “Fun Ship” ever constructed.

2010 and Beyond
2011

A SECOND “DREAM CLASS” VESSEL IS INTRODUCED

The 130,000-ton Carnival Magic enters service.

2012

A THIRD “DREAM CLASS” VESSEL IS INTRODUCED

Third "Dream-class" ship, the Carnival Breeze, debuted in spring 2012.

2016

The 135,000-ton Carnival Vista is scheduled to enter service in winter 2016

2018

A second as-yet-unnamed 135,000-ton ship is scheduled to enter service in spring 2018

Check back for how we continue to make history!