Carnival cruise ship named for demolition amid Covid-19 crisis

(CNN) – A major cruise ship with just 23 years of service has gone to the scrap heap amid a coronavirus-driven slowdown for the shipping industry.

Following an announcement by cruise ship giant Carnival Corporation that it hopes to remove several ships from its fleet, it emerged that one of them could be the Costa Victoria, a 2,394-passenger ship that debuted in 1996.

While Carnival has yet to identify any of the ships scheduled for decommissioning, the fate of Costa Victoria was questioned when the mayor of the Italian city of Piombino, Francesco Ferrari, announced on Facebook that the ship had arrived there to prepare for demolition.

Ferrari said it welcomed the ship’s captain, Gianfranco La Fauci, to the city on Tuesday morning and celebrated the moment as a step forward in Piombino’s economic recovery.

Costa Victoria was halfway there when the Covid-19 pandemic hit earlier this year. The 827-foot ship arrived in Civitavecchia, Italy, on March 25, where the passengers were quarantined.

Earlier on the trip, a passenger had tested positive for coronavirus and got off the ship in Greece. Another passenger passed away from Covid-19 upon returning home from Italy to Australia.

‘Negative impacts’

Passengers in Costa Victoria waiting to disembark after the ship docked in the Italian port of Civitavecchia in March.

Passengers in Costa Victoria waiting to disembark after the ship docked in the Italian port of Civitavecchia in March.

ANDREAS SOLARO / AFP via Getty Images

“The company already has preliminary agreements for the disposal of six ships that are expected to leave the fleet in the next 90 days and is currently working to achieve additional agreements,” the statement said.

In the report, Carnival also discussed the economic impact of a series of canceled cruises.

“The pause in guest operations continues to have significant negative impacts on all aspects of the company’s business. The longer the pause in guest operations continues, the greater the impact on liquidity and financial position of the company”.

The statement said Carnival expected “a gradual re-entry of its ships, the elimination of its fleet capacity and delays in the delivery of new ships.”

When CNN Travel contacted us to confirm if Costa Victoria was one of the ships to be sold, Carnival Corporation spokesman Roger Frizzell said: “We have not yet announced the names or any details about the six ships on this moment”.

When cruise ships retire

Costa Victoria in the port of Civitavecchia on March 25, 2020.

Costa Victoria in the port of Civitavecchia on March 25, 2020.

ANDREAS SOLARO / AFP via Getty Images

This is not a good time for the cruise industry: cruises are canceled during the summer after the widespread disruption of Covid-19 departures.

Usually, if a big name brand like Carnival decides that a boat is no longer needed, they will likely sell it to a smaller company that will change the name of the boat. The ship could continue to sail for years to come.

But in the current climate, cruise companies are unlikely to invest in new vessels.

Take Cruise & Maritime Voyages (CMV), a British cruise company that operates several older ships originally built for other cruise lines.

The fleet includes MV Vasco da Gama, which made headlines in March when passengers were quarantined on Rottnest Island in Australia in the wake of the pandemic. Vasco da Gama, built in 1993, was formerly Statendam of Holland America and P&O Cruises Pacific Eden of Australia.

CMV has also operated the Marco Polo, since 1965, plus the MV Astoria, the oldest operating cruiser dating from 1948. Astoria was due to retire this year.

CMV also operates an old Carnival ship, MS Magellan, previously known as Carnival Holiday.

The UK Maritime and Coast Guard Agency (MCA) announced on Monday that it had hijacked five CMV ships, including Vasco da Gama, Astoria and Marco Polo, due to concerns about the welfare of the crew and late payment of wages.