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Carnival Fantasy, Charleston's former home-based cruise ship, reportedly on its final destination

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Carnival Fantasy (copy)

The Carnival Fantasy, the first cruise ship to call Charleston its full-time home, is reportedly headed for the junkyard. Mike Kittrell via Carnival/Provided

The first cruise ship to call Charleston its full-time home has reportedly been sold, and its next destination is the scrap heap.

Carnival Cruise Line's Fantasy cruise ship, now 30 years old, has filed a voyage plan for Izmir, Turkey, which is home to one of the world's largest vessel scrapyards, according to a report by Cruise Radio News.

The Fantasy was recently in Curacao offloading heavy equipment, according to the website.

The vessel reportedly had been listed for $100 million but its final sale price has not been disclosed.

Carnival would not confirm the Fantasy's fate, saying only it is removing some ships from its corporate fleet.

"What ships, if any, from the Carnival Cruise Line fleet that may be involved in this capacity reduction, have not been identified," spokesman Vance Gulliksen said. "We aren’t in a position to confirm, deny or comment on speculation or rumor."

The Fantasy began sailing from Union Pier in downtown Charleston in 2010 when Carnival announced it would offer year-round cruising from the Holy City. It was replaced in 2016 by the Ecstasy, which in turn, was replaced by the Sunshine in 2019.

Carnival has halted all North American cruises, including those from Charleston, until at least October because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Fantasy is the cruise line's oldest ship and the first of eight Fantasy Class vessels put into service starting in 1990. It most recently called Mobile, Ala., its home port.

The ships's relatively small passenger capacity of 2,056 people and limited availability of amenities such as cabins with balconies made the vessel obsolete compared to newer models.

Carnival Corp., the world's largest cruise company with nine brands and more than 100 pleasure ships, said it will sell or scrap 13 of its older vessels as it deals with the pandemic's financial fallout.

"We have aggressively shed assets while actively deferring new ship deliveries," CEO Arnold Donald said in a regulatory filing.

The Fantasy had been showing its age during its final years in service, and last year it received one of Carnival's lowest health inspection scores — a failing 77 out of 100 — from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. When it made its debut, however, the Fantasy was the largest ship in the Carnival fleet and represented a major improvement over the cruise line's previous offerings.

"It wasn’t too long ago that Carnival Fantasy was the belle of the ball in the cruise world — the first of a significant new class of Carnival Cruise Line ships," reporter Gene Sloan wrote for The Points Guy website. "Now it appears headed to the scrappers."

Reach David Wren at 843-937-5550 or on Twitter at @David_Wren_

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