Carnival Cruise Lines has confirmed that it is repositioning the 2,044-passenger Fantasy to Port Canaveral starting October 10, 1993. But contrary to expectations, the Carnivale and Mardis Gras will remain in Port Canaveral.
Carnival also said that its joint venture with Club Med has been postponed, thus giving it one more ship for the American market than it may have counted on in 1993.
In a prepared statement, Mickey Arisen, President, said that "due to the current difficult economic situation in Europe, Carnival and Club Med have mutually agreed to postpone the previously announced joint venture. As a result, the target start-up has been moved from the spring of 1993 to the spring of 1994 assuming a final agreement is reached."
Sources close to Carnival commented in stead that the cruise line discovered that Club Med did not have the marketing resources it expected to employ in Europe. They also said they expected Carnival to look for new markets to deploy the two older ships. Thus, the door may have been left open for another company to be the first to launch American-style cruises for Europeans in European waters.
Beginning in September of 1993, the Carnivale and Mardis Gras will sail three- and four-day cruises with Friday and Monday departures, while the Fantasy will depart Thursdays and Sundays.
Thus, Port Canaveral will see a 49 percent increase in its three- and four-day capacity starting in the fall of 1993 and Carnival will more than double its capacity in that market.
Unless there is a remarkable pick-up in cruise demand, the three- and four-day market out of Port Canaveral should brace itself for "war." Carnival seems determined to take over the market and the Walt Disney contract which Premier Cruise Lines now enjoys, while that company is vulnerable having recently lost most of its seniuor executives and is undergoing some major strategic changes.
The Ecstasy, presently sailing alternating seven-day eastern and western Caribbean cruises, will take over the Fantasy's three- and four-day cruises from Miami, starting November 8, 1993.
The new Sensation, currently under construction, will take over the Ecstasy's seven-day itineraries from Miami.