Building new, ignoring the old

I see a lot of complaints regarding how some ships seem old and outdated. Interior wise. Systems fail, cabin odours, carpets being dirty, disinterested staff, etc. Do the cruise lines seem to be focusing on building new ships, rather than maintaining their current fleet? Are people staffing older ships hoping to get on the nice new ship ? Is it too easy to just sell off a used ship these days, even for scrap ?

10 Answers

Your observations are quite valid. We are reading more and more about system failures in the ship operations and the hotel side as well. Larger ships with a little less crew to passenger ratio equate to a higher margin with the bottom line. Large volume equal profits and that's the name of the game.

Generally the concern with older vessels is that, with the lack of proper servicing and updating something may happen that will be a bit worse than floating around the Gulf of Mexico with no cold beer.

I've sailed a Destiny Class and Fantasy Class and I will choose a Fantasy Class ship first if available. I hear or heard so much negatively about the older ships but we continue to also hear that the ships are getting to big.

Not all cruise lines are allowing their older ships to decay though. Some will sell them and some will ignore them and let them go. But there are cruise lines that will on a regular (like every 5 - 6 years) dry dock and refit a ship to keep even their older ones nice clean and in good running order. The cruise line that does this will in the long run see more profit. The expense of a month dry dock and retro fit will come back in time not lost to breakdowns which end up costing more to repair and not having to refund and or credit customers. It also improves the customer experience which these days is finaly starting to matter in many industries.


I suppose when a ship is nearing the end of its useful life to the cruise line, that company doesn't want to spend money for upgrades if it is planning on selling the ship or is even unsure of what they will do with the ship. Also sometimes it just costs too much money to upgrade an older ship..

I notice the same comments as well. Usually I attribute them to lack of due diligence in researching ship's background and only booking a cruise based solely on the itinerary. We always look at ship capacity, age, last refurb, etc., before deciding to book. It's a rookie mistake not to dig a bit deeper but hopefully their experience teaches them something valuable for next time.

As for what the cruise line's do with older ships... some are sold for scrap, some are repurposed by smaller regional cruise lines (often European and Asian markets). I'm not sure that these mega-ships can be repurposed for anything but the small to medium sized ships are definitely reusable.

Sometimes the ship just has passengers that are hard on her. We've been on cruises where fellow passengers leave spilled food, drinks on the stairs, in the elevators and in the corridors. It makes the ship look old and run down when it truth it isn't. I do agree that Carnival seems to be putting more effort into the new...but we are pleased to see the continuous cleaning during our last cruise, also repairs throughout the ship as needed. Happy things are improving!

I have noticed that a lot of the complaints about the ship decor is from newer cruisers that do not know what to expect from an older ship. A lot of people just assume that any ship will have all of the modern amenities that they see in a TV commercial for the latest and greatest ship of the day. It is like renting a car, they expect a Lexus when paying for a Corolla.

I have been on 3 of the old Carnival Fantasy class ships. I found them to be clean and in good shape. I like the lay out of them better then on the Glory. With the 2.0 upgrades I'm happy to cruise on one of the old ships. Yes they are the old style of Vegas tacky decor but they are clean, a lot of fun and at a good price point.

I completely agree JusMe. We researched the Imagination, Liberty and Ecstacy, knew they were older and only the Liberty had the 20 upgrades, but we cruised on each. We loved them and knew that the age showed in some places, but we were fine with it and had a fantastic time on each cruise. My husband and I agreed that there was more personal attention on the 2 smaller ships and the crew seemed even friendlier than on the other ships we've been on. The ships were kept super clean by the hard working crew.

I wouldn't hesitate to recommend the older Carnival ships.

Aside from being run-down, the style of decor is a highly personal matter. I cannot stomach gaudy decor but what constitutes gaudy varies according to personal definition. Other people (hubby included) could care less.

As far as decor goes, Celebrity's style tops my list. I find a similar approach at The Cosmopolitan resort and casino in Las Vegas. I guess contemporary, urban chic are good terms to describe it. That said, when this style becomes run-down I dislike it as much as the gaudy or garish. I think a ship that is well-maintained and doesn't look its actual age is best.

Cruise lines have no excuse for selling a lower quality experience in a poorly maintained ship. They harm themselves and their potential return customers by not maintaining the fleet. The least they can do is be forthcoming as to an older ship's condition so people know they are boarding an old ship that looks old and used versus an old ship that just underwent a total refurb within the last x months or years.

AuntiePinkie says beauty is in the eye of the beholder.... and I agree :)

I prefer (what I think to be) the more classic look -- Princess holds down the gaudy look and ups the refined. Where Princess does it with gold and brass, Celebrity goes with a more modern Stainless and aluminum.

Carnival fails at this look with neon paint and lights Big Smile.

But then again, I have never failed to enjoy a cruise on Carnival (or any other line)!


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