Grand Celebration

Former names: Costa Celebration, Carnival Celebration, MS Celebration

Specifications of Grand Celebration

Year of build1987  /  Age: 34
BuilderSaab Kockums AB / Kockums Mekaniska Verkstads (Malmo, Sweden)
Ferry route / homeportsWest Palm Beach (Florida USA)
Building costUSD 130 million
Speed22 kn / 41 km/h / 25 mph
Length (LOA)223 m / 732 ft
Beam (width)28 m / 92 ft
Gross Tonnage47263 gt
Passengers1502 - 1896
Passengers-to-space ratio32
Decks with cabins5
Last Refurbishment2014, Alang-scrapped in 2021
Sister-shipsCarnival Jubilee (Henna), Carnival Holiday (CMV Magellan)
Former namesCosta Celebration, Carnival Celebration, MS Celebration
OwnerParadise Cruise Line Operator Ltd
OperatorBahamas Paradise Cruise Line

Grand Celebration Review

Review of Grand Celebration

MS Grand Celebration cruise ship was constructed in Malmo Sweden (by Saab Kockums AB) for CCL-Carnival Cruise Lines. The vessel was launched under the name "MS Celebration" (aka Carnival Celebration / link to the 2022-newbuild). Its previous operator was the Spanish company Ibero Cruises (Ibero Cruceros), subsidiary of Carnival Corporation.

History - construction and ownership

In December 2020, the vessel (IMO number 8314134) was re-flagged from Bahamas (MMSI 311000328, registered in Nassau, 2014-2020, shipowner Bahamas Paradise) to St Kitts and Nevis (MMSI 341102000). Previously it was Portugal-flagged and registered in Madeira (MMSI 255803270, 2008-2014, shipowner Carnival Corporation), Panama-flagged and registered in Panama City (2001-2008, shipowner Carnival Corporation) and Liberia-flagged and registered in Monrovia (1987-2000, shipowner Carnival Cruise Lines).

In mid-November 2020 was unofficially announced that the ship Grand Celebration has been sold for scrap metal (for an undisclosed sale price). The vessel left Freeport Bahamas on November 15, allegedly heading to India's Alang Shipbreaking Yard (world's largest), with estimated arrival on January 3.

Reportedly, a worker at Alang revealed that the ship will be beached (tides permitting) in January's first week. However, on Nov 17, the ship's AIS continued to report "FREEPORT OPL" as next destination. On November 16, Anchor Shipbroking Inc (Greece) released a weekly report with Grand Celebration listed there for demolition. The list also included Marella Dream. On November 22, the ship's AIS reported as next destination PORT LOUIS (Mauritius Island) where it arrived and docked on December 30, at 6 am. On January 2, 2021, the 34-years-old cruise liner arrived and anchored off Alang, and on January 14th was beached for scrapping.

A total of 41 itineraries (planned roundtrips from homeport West Palm Beach, Florida USA) were cancelled. The "2-Night From West Palm Beach to Nassau Cruise" itinerary was scheduled to be operated by Grand Celebration between March 3 and November 14, 2021.

MS Grand Celebration cruise ship (Bahamas Paradise Cruise Line)

The 1896-passenger cruise ship Grand Celebration was operated by IberoCruceros until November 2014, when it was transferred to Costa Cruises. However, on November 21, 2014 (the day before the vessel's scheduled departure on the Maiden Voyage for Costa) was announced that the ship had been purchased by an unnamed buyer. On December 23 was revealed the new shipowner - Bahamas Paradise Cruise Line Ltd.

The Holiday-class Grand Celebration had two sisterships - MS Holiday/CMV Magellan and Henna (Carnival Jubilee). Until 2008, the vessel was named "MS Celebration" and part of CCL-arnival Cruise Line's fleet. In 2008, it was briefly operated by the Spanish company IberoCruceros (Carnival Corporation-owned brand/now defunct).

Grand Celebration was drydock renovated in 2008 to serve the Spanish source market under Carnival's brand Ibero. The vessel was transferred to IberoCruceros but still remained under the control of Carnival Cruises (with 75% share).

For Bahamas Paradise, Grand Celebration started operations in 2015 (Maiden Voyage on February 3) replacing Bahamas Celebration (IMO 7904891, out of service since October 31, 2014, scrapped in 2015), which ran aground in Freeport Bahamas. Bahamas Celebration was homeported in Freeport since 2010.

In April 2018, Grand Classica (fka Costa neoClassica/now Margaritaville Paradise) joined MS Grand Celebration as the 2nd ship in the fleet of the Florida-based company Bahamas Paradise Cruise Line. Carnival Celebration's sisterships (Holiday-class CCL boats) were MS Jubilee (1986-built/2017-scrapped) and MS Holiday/CMV Magellan (1985-built/2021-scrapped).

As the only cruise ship company operating roundtrips out of Palm Beach, Bahamas Paradise provides its customers with expedited boarding (30-min embarkation/disembarkation) and valet parking (at the cruise terminal). Cruise passengers are also offered Bahamas "cruise and hotel" packages in Bahamian hotels. These deals offer 2-, 4-, and 6-night Bahamas hotel stays to be combined (booked together) with the Palm Beach roundtrip voyages.

MS Grand Celebration cruise ship (Bahamas Paradise Cruise Line)

MS Grand Celebration was operated under charter (leased) by the Bahamas-based company "Paradise Cruise Line Operator Ltd" (formerly "Bahamas Paradise Cruise Line"), that changed ownership on December 22, 2016. Among the new company's owners are Kevin Sheehan, former CEO and President of NCLH ("Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings"), who resigned NCL in January 2015. In August 2016, he became CEO and President of the Las Vegas-based Scientific Games Corporation (a leading developer of technology products and services for the worldwide gaming and lottery industries). The company's other owner (with 50% stake) is Oneil Khosa (the India-based Blue Ocean Cruises company's CEO and Managing Director). Until 2014, Blue Ocean operated short breaks (1-, 2- and 4-nights itineraries) leaving from Mumbai-Bombay and Mormugao-Goa.

In 2017, Bahamas Paradise had booked ~250,000 passengers, around half of whom were from South Florida. The liner was last drydock refurbished in 2017 (at Freeport's Grand Bahama Shipyard).


MS Grand Celebration itinerary program was based on 2-night / 3-day Bahamas cruises leaving roundtrip from Palm Beach (Riviera Beach) Florida USA. The regularly scheduled Florida to Bahamas cruises were initially to Freeport and later to Nassau. The vessel was the only one at the Riviera Beach port, and also the largest ever homeported there.

In the period October 2015 - September 2016, a total of 482,211 passengers booked Grand Celebration cruises. The peak month was July 2016, with a total of 54,036 passengers. The 2-night cruises to the Bahamas are the most booked (prices start from USD 130 pp).

Since Hurricane Matthew (September-October 2016) damaged Freeport, the cruise ship was diverted to Bimini Islands but resumed calling on Freeport on January 3, 2017.

Annually, Port Palm Beach received ~USD 4 million from the Grand Celebration ship in port fees and cruise parking fees. Port commissioners signed the agreement with the new shipowner (Bahamas Paradise Cruise Line) on December 15, 2016. With LOA length 223 m (733 ft), Grand Celebration was the max-sized vessel that Port Palm Beach can handle.

MS Grand Celebration cruise ship (Ibero Cruises)

Decks and Cabins

Grand Celebration staterooms (751 total) are accessed via plastic (hotel-style) punch cards. Room service is complimentary, soaps and towels are provided in the cabins' ensuite bathrooms. The ship doesn't offer family or connecting cabins but has 18 wheelchair-accessible cabins, 2 of which Suites. Only 12 passenger staterooms have balconies and these are in the Suite categories. Of these suites, 4 are with obstructed by lifeboats views.

The ship has a total of 8 elevators (passenger-accessible lifts) interconnecting all cabin decks (5 out of 12).

Shipboard dining options - Food and Drinks

The ship had a total of 5 restaurants.

Stellar Prime on Deck 8 is the main dining room, where passengers can choose between early (6:15 pm) or late (8:30 pm) dinner seating, and will be paired with other passengers. A violinist rotates between the Stellar Prime and Admiralty Club. Sommeliers are also available at both venues, but the wine list has a limited number of options for wine-by-the-glass. The restaurant is one level, with big round tables and some smaller 2-seat tables, all with white tablecloths.

Plunge Grill is a small, open-air buffet restaurant located close to the swimming pool area (La Piscina) on Lido Deck. It serves hot dogs, burgers, and fries at lunch and transforms into an omelet station for breakfast. The venue serves a late breakfast (10-11 am) and lunch items all afternoon.

Ocean View Buffet is the ship's main buffet restaurant with panoramic window seating and contemporary, furniture. This cafeteria-like restaurant has a centrally-located buffet station and doesn't have additional food stations.

Admiralty Club Restaurant is a steakhouse restaurant with a 5-course menu.

Latitude is an a la carte priced, counter-style cafe bar/patisserie located in the corner of Ocean View Buffet. The cafe serves specialty coffees with complimentary, fresh-made pastries and gelato ice-creams.

Shipboard entertainment options - Fun and Sport

The cruise ship had 7 musical venues, multiple lounges, 5 swimming pools and whirlpools, wellness center, 3 shops, 3 kids' areas. Legends Theater (850-seat show lounge) features a large stage and rotating cocktail chairs with tables for drinks. It spreads across 2 decks and has large porthole windows covered by curtains. The signature production shows change every 8 weeks, but include performances of American hits with many costume changes, plus variety acts that feature acrobats, comedians, magicians. In addition to the live performances, the theater lounge is also used for movies.

Wine tastings kick off in the afternoon, as do steel drum band performances and pool parties. Welcome aboard orientations, ship tours, martini tastings, and casino gaming lessons keep travelers occupied until the sun goes down.

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The vessel ("MS Celebration"/ aka "Carnival Celebration") was launched on August 9, 1986, delivered to CCL-Carnival Cruise Lines (shipowner) in February 1987 and started its Inaugural Cruise on March 14, 1987.

MS Celebration cruise ship (Carnival Celebration)

The vessel (hull/yard number 597) was launched/floated out from drydock on August 9, 1986, and delivered to CCL in February 1987. MS Celebration's Maiden Voyage departed on March 14th (1987).

In June 2008 the boat was renamed to "Grand Celebration" and transferred to IberoCruceros (Carnival Corporation-owned brand). In November 2014 it was transferred to Costa Cruises (as "Costa Celebration") after Carnival terminated the Ibero brand. However, on November 21 (departure scheduled as Maiden Voyage for Costa), Carnival announced the vessel's sale (to an undisclosed buyer). On November 22, Celebration was removed from Costa's website and all bookings canceled - with either full refunds or rebooking on other Costa ships. On December 23 was revealed the new shipowner - Bahamas Paradise Cruise Line (new company brand). The Inaugural Cruise for Bahamas Paradise started on February 3, 2015 (out of homeport Palm Beach FL).

In September 2017, the Grand Celebration, the ship was chartered by FEMA (USA's "Federal Emergency Management Agency") as a hotel ship for the US National Guard. The humanitarian mission started in St Thomas Island USVI on September 23, 2017. The charter period was through mid-December. The cruise ship re-entered service on December 23, 2017.

In 2017, FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) chartered the cruise ship for 90 days for a total of USD 25,75 million (daily charter rate USD 286,100). During the 90-day period (September through December) the vessel remained docked in Charlotte Amalie (St Thomas USVI) serving as a hotel ship for survivors following the hurricanes Irma and Maria (September 2017). The ship re-entered service for "Bahamas Paradise Cruise Line" in mid-December, continuing its 2-day Palm Beach to Bahamas cruise program. FEMA is a US Government agency (US Department of Homeland Security) created to coordinate the response to all types of disasters in the USA. FEMA overwhelms all other local and state authorities after the governor of a particular state officially request from the US president FEMA's response to the disaster.

MS Grand Celebration ship (Ibero Cruises)

Sadly (due to the Coronavirus crisis), in January 2021, the 34-year-old vessel was beached at Alang India and soon scrapped.

Next table shows the ship's last scheduled voyage (in 2021), with prices from USD 130-140 per person (with double occupancy).

"2-Night From West Palm Beach to Nassau Cruise"

Date / TimePort
14 Nov 17:30Departing from West Palm Beach, Florida
15 Nov 07:00 - 17:30Nassau, Bahamas, New Providence Island
16 Nov 07:00Arriving in West Palm Beach

The cruise ship's namesake (in the period 1987-2008) is Carnival Celebration (2022-newbuild).