The new Carnival Horizon, which left Europe in May for New York and will move to Miami in September, may be the last Carnival Cruise Line ship to offer European voyages, at least for quite some time.

President Christine Duffy says Carnival has no plans to cruise in Europe again.

Carnival Horizon was built in Italy and sailed only a few European voyages before coming to the United States. The line’s next new ship, Carnival Panorama, will sail directly from the shipyard in Italy to Long Beach, California, via the Pacific Ocean, apparently without paying passengers. Preliminary plans for a Carnival ship expected to debut in 2020 do not include voyages in Europe (though, of course, other Carnival Corp. brands, such as Holland America and Princess, have multiple ships in Europe each summer).

Europe will miss Carnival, which is the most American of all the North American cruise lines — in design, food, atmosphere, and style. While other cruise lines have become more international by design, the 26 ships of Carnival Cruise Line never have attempted to be anything else. Burgers sloppy with American condiments are consumed on its pool decks by the thousands, in the general vicinity of the hairy chest contest. American songs dominate the piano bar. American jokes fill the comedy club.

Carnival has introduced Americans on a budget to the great European cities of Barcelona, Marseille, Florence, Rome, Naples, Dubrovnik, and Venice. While a vast majority of Carnival passengers sailing on Europe cruises have been North Americans, these voyages also have drawn Europeans and Asians, who no doubt were curious about the American experience.

The result was a fun mixture of cultures, with occasional clashes, mostly embarrassments or misunderstandings of eccentricities that seemed innocuous and humorous. I remember a European who was incredulous, and perhaps embarrassed, when the piano bar man didn’t know how to play his favorite Engelbert Humperdinck song. Dumbfounded, the burly passenger picked up the huge tip he had placed on the bar and left in a rush with his pretty girlfriend. The piano player, who lost a big tip, was the only person not amused.

On Carnival Horizon, a non-American asked me about a sign that hangs at the concession stand for the Carnival Multiplex of two theaters….


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Carnival won’t return to Europe any time soon
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