After 31 years and 2,300 cruises, Carnival Ecstasy arrived in Mobile, Alabama, this morning, October 15, concluding her final cruise with guests. Carnival Cruise Line announced in February that the vessel would be retired in October.
While many are sad to see the smaller size cruise ship go, she did have a final hurrah. During the last day at sea, Carnival Cruise Line brand ambassador John Heald organized an auction where a considerable amount of money was collected to benefit St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, a longtime beneficiary of charitable events onboard Carnival cruise ships.
Carnival Ecstasy Arrives in Mobile for the Last Time
Carnival Ecstasy is concluding her final voyage, and the last group of guests is disembarking the vessel this morning. So comes to an end the final cruise for the Fantasy-class cruise ship.
Carnival Ecstasy sailed for Carnival Cruise Line for 31 years, a fantastic achievement in this time of profits and bottom lines.
During her career, the cruise ship sailed on 2,300 cruises for Carnival, during which more than 5.5 million guests embarked and disembarked the ship. The Fantasy-class cruise ship has always been a hugely popular ship amongst Carnival Cruise Line guests.
Many of these fans sailed on the final cruise or said goodbye to her when she sailed from Mobile for the final time last week.
Carnival Cruise Line brand ambassador John Heald reflected on the atmosphere onboard amongst guests and crew in a post on his popular Facebook page:
“Good morning everyone from a ship full of very mixed emotions as of course, today is the last day she will ever carry guests and be full of the sounds of Fun. Everyone is taking this day in their own way, some more emotional than others.”
“I see some of the crew are sad (especially now as they are maskless) because this ship has been their home for many contracts. And the guests, well, some have told me how much they will miss the ship through floods of tears. Like me, many of these guests grew up on this class of ship and particularly on the Carnival Ecstasy and that is why so many have joined me for this cruise…to say goodbye.”
Carnival Ecstasy will make its way across the Atlantic Ocean and towards the Mediterranean in the coming days. She will be broken up as scrap metal in the shipbreaking yard in Aliaga, Turkey.
However, before that happens, and once all the guests have disembarked, the crew will start making preparations to strip the ship of anything valuable, such as consumables, towels, valuable hardware, etc.
Many of those valuable items made their way to a hugely successful auction that was organized onboard, the proceeds of which will be going to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.
Carnival Ecstasy Auction Brings in Huge Amount for St. Jude
If you love a ship and have sailed onboard many times, the chance to own something that once was an important part of that ship would be irresistible. And if those items go on auction with the proceeds going to one of the most cherished charities in the country, then the bidding will be crazy.
Carnival Cruise Line, John Heald, and the crew of Carnival Ecstasy organized an auction of ship-related items that are just too important to discard.
“When I decided to be on this voyage I asked the senior beards to please allow me to do this auction,” Heald said. “There are some things that belong in good homes of people who have a connection to the ship and to Carnival, and that’s why I am doing this.”
“Some very special memorabilia include the remains of the bottle used by Kathie Lee Gifford to christen the ship, one of the original wheels, plaques, a signed flag that has been flying on the bow up until this morning, and so much more.“
The remains of the bottle, which Kathie Lee-Gifford used, is the actual bottle used during the ship’s naming ceremony on May 11, 1991, in New York. Other items included hundreds of plaques of maiden calls and even framed deck plans of the Carnival Ecstasy.
By the end of the auction, bidding amounted to a massive $39,000, all of which will benefit St. Jude. This nonprofit hospital focuses on children’s diseases, particularly leukemia and other cancers.
Only two of the original eight Fantasy-class cruise ships remain. Carnival Elation is currently sailing out of Jacksonville, Florida, and Carnival Paradise is presently operating from Tampa, Florida.
Five Fantasy-class ships have already been scrapped, Carnival Fantasy, Carnival Sensation, Carnival Fascination, Carnival Imagination, and Carnival Inspiration.