For nine years, starting in 1990, Carnival designed, produced and launched its immensely successful Fantasy-class ships, 2,052-passenger vessels measuring 70,367 tons; these include Carnival Fantasy
, Carnival Ecstasy
, Carnival Sensation
, Carnival Imagination
, Carnival Inspiration
, Carnival Elation
and Carnival Paradise
. Market changes, however, dictated new designs with more balconies and cushier staterooms. Carnival Destiny (now Carnival Sunshine), a 101,353-ton ship carrying 2,642 passengers, debuted in 1996; two sister ships followed -- Carnival Triumph
in 1999 and Carnival Victory
in 2000 -- both of which added 700 tons and 58 staterooms, bringing their capacities to 2,758 passengers each.
Carnival continued to add to its fleet through an aggressive new-build program, with Carnival Spirit
launching in 2001 and three new additions in 2002: Carnival Pride
, Carnival Legend
and Carnival Conquest
. In 2003, Carnival Glory
, the second in the Conquest class, debuted. Two more vessels emerge from Italy's Fincantieri shipyard in 2004: Carnival Miracle
in March 2004, part of the Spirit class, and Carnival Valor
, another Conquest-class vessel. A fourth Conquest-class ship, Carnival Liberty
, launched in 2005. Carnival Freedom
, the fifth and final in the Conquest class launched in 2007. Carnival Splendor
, slightly larger than Conquest-class vessels, debuted in July 2008.
In 2009, Carnival introduced its largest ship yet -- Carnival Dream
-- measuring 128,251 tons and carrying 3,646 passengers double occupancy. The ship is mainly an evolution of its predecessors, but does feature a few innovations, such as deluxe oceanview cabins for five with two bathrooms, a two-level adults-only Serenity area, and the longest water slide at sea. Sister ship Carnival Magic
, which carries 3,690 passengers, entered service in June 2011, and Carnival Breeze
debuted in June 2012.
The line's newest and largest ship, Carnival Vista -- the flagship for the line's new Vista Class -- sailed its maiden voyage in May 2016, kicking off a season of Europe itineraries. A second Vista-class ship is on order and slated for delivery in March 2018.
Since 2007, Carnival has been pumping big bucks into fleet upgrades. Over the past few years, it's committed $350 million to its eight Fantasy-class vessels, adding new deck spaces, water slides and kids' facilities as part of the "Evolutions of Fun" initiative. "Fun Ship 2.0," a $500 million program launched in 2011, covered much of the rest of the fleet. Numerous ships gained new themed bars, dining venues -- including Guy Fieri's Guy's Burger Joint -- and comedy clubs, among other additions. The program also included one of the most dramatic single-ship refurbishments in contemporary cruising: In 2013, Carnival Destiny underwent a $155 million transformation culminating in a name change. After its release from a 49-day dry-dock, Carnival Destiny became Carnival Sunshine.