Carnival’s Newest Ship Brings Back the Celebration Name

Today, Carnival Cruise Lines announced the name of their newest ship, the Carnival Celebration. The sister ship to the upcoming Mardi Gras, the ship will arrive in November 2022 and sail our of Port Miami. It will have many of the Mardi Gras features including the BOLT, roller coaster at sea. There will be some features that will be specifically designed for the Celebration, and they will be announced at a later date along with the itineraries. Bookings for this ship will open up for sale in October.

Another Blast From the Past

Original Carnival Celebration
Original Carnival Celebration

Like the Mardi Gras, which was the name of the first Carnival ship, the Celebration is the name of a previous Carnival ship. The Celebration was part of the Holiday class of ships that were the backbone of Carnival’s cruises from 1995-1990 until the Fantasy Class ships were added to the fleet. The original Celebration sailed from 1987 to 2008 when it was sold to Iberocruceros for service as the Grand Celebration. Today, it still sails under the Bahamas Paradise Cruise Line.

Carnival Brand Ambassador John Heald has been asking people to guess the ship’s name over the past week. Most people thought Carnival would continue reusing old ship names like the Carnivale, Festivale, and Tropicale which were the second, third and fourth ships. Instead, Carnival went with Celebration, which is the 7th ship that Carnival launched. While they didn’t say why they went with that name, it makes sense giving that Carnival will be celebrating its 50th anniversary starting March 2022.

How far ships have come in 35 years

Original Carnival Celebration Theater

When the Celebration originally launched in 1987, it was one of the pillars of the Carnival Fleet and was considered top of the line. Coming in at 47,262 gross tons and 733 feet long, the ship held 1,496 passengers. At the time, it carried the most passengers in the Carnival fleet. It had one pool in the lido area with a twister water slide, 2 hot tubs, and a pool in aft Lido deck. The pools were much smaller than you see on today’s ships. The aft pool was only slightly bigger than a hot tub and the main pool was divided in half so people could exit the water slide. The ship was only 10 decks and there were very few balcony rooms. For dinner, you could choose between the Lido Buffet or the Main Dining Room, there were no specialty restaurants. The ship did feel like Carnival, with their traditional over-the-top decor, but it was much smaller and less action-packed.

Carnival Celebration Lido Deck (1987 vs 2022)

The new Celebration will be almost 4 times the size and hold nearly 4 times the passengers. It will have a roller coaster, multiple pools, water slides, a sports square, ropes course and many specialty restaurants. The ship will have way more balcony rooms and new room categories not on the original ship such as Family Harbor, Spa, and Havana rooms. It will represent the best of Carnival’s offerings. While no one has sailed on an Excel class ship yet, it’s safe to say it will bring fun to thousands of passengers.

Some Questions Remain

Since no one has been on an Excel class ship yet, some questions still remain. Will Carnival fix the theater / comedy lounge problems they had on the Vista class ships? Will the layout successfully accommodate the number of people they have added to the ship? Will people be willing to pay for all the new specialty restaurants?

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