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Carnival Cruise Lines is the largest and most successful cruise line in the world, carrying more passengers than any other.

But “Today’s Carnival” is a vastly different company than the one started from humble beginnings nearly three decades ago.   Carnival was launched with a converted transatlantic ocean liner and a dream of entrepreneur Ted Arison, a pioneer in the modern-day cruise industry who set out to realize his vision of making a vacation experience once reserved for the very rich accessible to the average person.

The rest, as they say, is history.


-- Maiden voyage of Carnival’s first ship, the TSS Mardi Gras, which runs aground on sandbar outside the Port of Miami

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’s 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 as the world’s first totally smoke-free cruise ship

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 86,000-ton Carnival Spirit, the first new “Fun Ship” ever positioned in the Alaska and Hawaii markets

2002–-Debut of a second “Spirit-class” vessel, the Carnival Pride, which will operate the only seven-day cruise program from Port Canaveral, Fla. beginning Jan. 12, 2002.

A third “Spirit-class” ship, the 86,000-ton Carnival Legend, is scheduled for delivery in summer 2002.

The 110,000-ton Carnival Conquest – a larger, longer version of the “Destiny-class” is slated to debut in fall 2002

2003–-Second 110,000-ton “Conquest-class” ship, the Carnival Glory, is scheduled for delivery in summer 2003.

2004–-Carnival Miracle, the fourth in Carnival’s “Spirit-class,” is slated to enter service in spring 2004.

A third 110,000-ton “Conquest-class” ship, the Carnival Valor, is expected to debut in summer 2004, which would bring the total number of ships in the “Fun Ship” fleet to 21.


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