Holiday at Sea.
Photo courtesy Carnival Cruise Line
With all the media attention and anticipation surrounding the imminent arrival in Florida of  Oasis of the Seas, the figurative passing of another cruise ship has gone largely unnoticed: Carnival’s Holiday has left the fleet.

This month, Holiday will sail across the Atlantic and into the open arms of Iberocruceros, who will refit and rename her the Grand HolidayHoliday’s short runs from Mobile, Alabama will be temporarily replaced by Carnival Fantasy before Carnival Elation takes over in 2010. 

Holiday was built for Carnival in 1985 as the first of what would be three sister ships, and paved the way for Carnival’s extremely successful Fantasy-class vessels.  The Tropicale, officially Carnival’s first newbuild in 1981, was a one-off: she had no sister ships.  Holiday, however, was the first newbuild in a class of ships.  She is also the last of that class to serve in the Carnival fleet.

Why is this a big deal?  It’s important to remember when she was built: in 1985, many major cruise lines were still running hand-me-down ocean liners in the twilight of their careers; the idea of purpose-built cruise vessels simply hadn’t emerged in a big way yet.  Holland America had built the highly successful Noordam and Nieuw Amsterdam the year before, and Sovereign of the Seas, which would launch Royal Caribbean into the megaship race, was but a twinkle in their eye at this time. 

It also shows the degree that cruising has changed, and just how far ship design has come.

We wish Holiday all the best in her new incarnation as Grand Holiday 


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