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Another Carnival cruise ship heads for the scrappers

It’s official: Carnival Cruise Line’s Carnival Ecstasy won’t be making a comeback with another cruise operator.

The still-loved, 31-year-old cruise ship, which sailed its final voyage for Carnival earlier this month, has filed a trip plan for Aliaga, Turkey, the site of a major ship scrapping operation that has become the final resting place for such notable vessels as Princess Cruises’ Pacific Princess — the original “Love Boat.”

On Monday, ship tracking sites showed Carnival Ecstasy crossing the Atlantic just southeast of Bermuda, on its way to the Mediterranean and Turkey.

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A spokesperson for Carnival on Monday confirmed to TPG that Carnival Ecstasy was on its way to Turkey for “recycling.”

Built in 1991, Carnival Ecstasy is the line’s oldest vessel and one of the last remaining ships in Carnival’s hugely successful, eight-ship Fantasy-class series that debuted in 1990 and was instrumental in the growth of the cruise industry.

At the time Carnival Ecstasy arrived, Carnival had just a small number of ships. The arrival of the vessel and its seven sisters between 1990 and 1998 catapulted the line into the big leagues of North American tourism.

Related: Why I’m sad Carnival is retiring its oldest ship

For many years, the Fantasy-class ships formed the core of the Carnival fleet. However, Carnival has rapidly phased them out to cut costs since the COVID-19 pandemic began in early 2020.

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Carnival retired four of the eight Fantasy-class ships soon after the COVID-19 pandemic began, and earlier this year it removed the fifth vessel in the series from its fleet — Carnival Sensation.

Carnival Ecstasy is the sixth of the original eight Fantasy-class ships to depart the Carnival fleet.

While still much beloved by Carnival fans, in part for their intimate size, the Fantasy-class ships notably lack a large number of balcony cabins — the cabin type that everyone wants these days. Most of the cabins on these ships are ocean-view cabins that only offer a window or a porthole, or windowless inside cabins.

Related: The ultimate guide to Carnival ships and itineraries

Carnival Ecstasy docked in New Orleans. PAUL J.RICHARDS/AFP/GETTY IMAGES

The Fantasy-class ships also have relatively fewer amenities and venues than the newer and bigger Carnival ships.

At 70,367 tons, Carnival Ecstasy was one of the biggest cruise ships in the world when it first began sailing. Its passenger capacity of 2,052 people, based on double occupancy, was a lot at the time. Now it doesn’t even come close to cracking the list of the 50 biggest cruise vessels, some of which can hold more than 5,000 people. Cruise ships have gotten bigger and bigger over time.

Carnival’s newest ship, the recently unveiled Mardi Gras, is more than twice as big as Carnival Ecstasy at 181,808 tons. It can carry 5,282 passengers at double occupancy (6,465 with every pulldown bunk and pullout sofa filled).

Related: The 8 classes of Carnival ships, explained

Carnival Ecstasy was one of the most productive ships in Carnival history, having sailed more than 2,300 voyages in 31 years from eight home ports — Miami, Port Canaveral and Jacksonville, Florida; Galveston, Texas; Long Beach, California; New Orleans; Charleston, South Carolina; and Mobile, Alabama.

The line has said it carried nearly 5.5 million passengers over its long career.

With the departure of Carnival Ecstasy, Carnival is left with just 23 vessels in its fleet. However, the line will soon take delivery of a 24th vessel, the 5,282-passenger Carnival Celebration. The ship is currently under construction at a shipyard in Italy.

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