Celebrating the Life of the Grand Celebration

The life of the Grand Celebration has come to an end as the ship is being scrapped in India, where she arrived in January.

The Grand Celebration most recently operated under Bahamas Paradise Cruise Lines but is, perhaps, better known as one of Carnival Cruise Line’s first newbuilds.

This 47,262-ton vessel paved the way for the company’s subsequent success.

Before being sold to the scrappers, the 1,800-guest ship also sailed for two other cruise lines.

Cruise Industry News has compiled a year-by-year account of the Grand Celebration’s life in cruising.

1984: Carnival orders newbuilds at a Swedish shipyard. The ships, which would become Jubilee and Celebration, had the same design as the Denmark-built Holiday.

1986: After several months in construction, the Celebration is floated out in Sweden.

Not only is the Celebration Carnival Cruise Line’s fourth newbuild, but it is also the third ship entirely designed by the hospitality architect Joe Farcus, who created the inventive décor that would later become a Carnival trademark. For the Celebration, Farcus created public areas featuring color and other ‘new’ materials in order to achieve a ‘contemporary expression’.

From the christening of the Carnival Celebration

1987: In March, the Celebration is named during a ceremony in Miami. Carnival’s brand ambassador, the singer and TV personality Kathie Lee Gifford serves as godmother. The new vessel completes Carnival’s 20-month, three-ship expansion, increasing the line’s annual capacity by one-quarter million passengers.

Some time later, the Celebration departs on its inaugural cruise to the Caribbean.

1989: In February, the vessel is involved in a collision with the Cuban freighter Capitan San Luis. While the Celebration sustained little damage, the freighter was sliced in half and ended up sinking. From the 45 crewmembers onboard the Cuban ship, 42 were rescued by the Carnival vessel.

Carnival Celebration

1995: The Celebration continues to sail in the Caribbean. The seven-night itinerary includes calls in San Juan, St. Thomas and St. Maarten.

2004: Celebration launches year-round service from the port of Jacksonville, which is a first for Carnival.

2007: Targeting the Spanish market, Carnival acquires IberoCruceros and announces the transfer of the Celebration to the new brand.

2008: After bidding farewell to Carnival in April, the vessel is renamed Grand Celebration and extensively renovated. The original Farcus-designed interiors are replaced with new contemporary-looking public areas.

2008-2009: The vessel is chartered by CVC Viagens for a season serving the local market in Brazil.

Grand Celebration

2010: One of Celebration’s sister ships joins IberoCruceros as the Grand Holiday, reuniting part of the Holiday Class.

2010-2011: After several winters sailing from Brazil, the Celebration launches a program of cruises from Argentina, introducing IberoCruceros to a new market.

2014: With IberoCruceros being shut down by Carnival Corporation, the Grand Celebration is slated to be transferred to Costa Crociere later in the year. As the Costa Celebration, it is expected to be based in Italy, sailing a new Holy Land itinerary.

2014: In November, the vessel appears on Costa’s livery after a shipyard stay in Marseille. However, days before its Costa debut, it is sold to another cruise line.

Grand Celebration

2015: Bought by Bahamas Paradise Cruise Line, the ship arrives in the Bahamas in January. After another minor refit, it starts sailing for the new cruise line in February, offering 2-night cruises from West Palm Beach to Freeport.

Docked as part of a FEMA charter

2017: The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) charters the Grand Celebration for a 90-day period for a charter rate of $25,750,000. The ship provided accommodations to survivors and first responders following a number of devastating hurricanes that hit the U.S. Virgin Islands.

2019: The Grand Celebration is employed on humanitarian efforts in the Bahamas. After the country is hit by a severe hurricane, the ship is used to bring water, food and other suppliers, as well as first responders and volunteers to the Grand Bahama Island.

2020: As the entire cruise industry pauses its operations, the Celebration is laid up in the Port of Palm Beach in March.

2020: Bahamas Paradise confirms government charter talks, but no deals are materialized, and the vessel ends up sold to an undisclosed buyer in November.

2021: After departing Freeport two months earlier, the Grand Celebration arrives in India in January. A few days later, the vessel is beached in Alang for scrapping.

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