Where Cruise Ships Are Sent to Die


Hotels and corporations have bought most of the furniture from the ships, including tables, chairs and room fittings, Mr. Yurttas said, but antiques brokers have their sights set on the baroque lighting fixtures and wardrobes that weigh nearly 100 pounds.

“These are not regular ships; they are luxurious floating museums with many precious items inside,” he said with an excited smile as he sat in his store full of shiny bronze nautical antiques, including clocks, ornate light fixtures and maps. Other brokers in the area have collected articles like life jackets, lamps, sinks and art for people interested in purchasing cruise memorabilia.

“We have mainly seen local collectors and customers this year because of the pandemic, but normally tourists come here from all over the world to buy the items from the ships,” Mr. Yurttas said.

Photos and videos of the ships’ dismantling have been circulating on social media, and for cruise enthusiasts it has been hard to watch, even from a distance. At 30 years old, the Carnival Fantasy is the oldest vessel in the Carnival Cruise line fleet, and was popular among older people for its smaller scale and familiarity.

“I was heartbroken to see the ships sold off and scrapped like that,” said Maggie Hetherington, 74, a retired nurse from Norwich in southeast England who has taken several cruises on the Fantasy and its sister ship Inspiration. “They look like they’ve been attacked by a pack of wolves.”

Ms. Hetherington said she understood the economic considerations of the cruise companies but believes there will still be a demand for older ships once the pandemic is over.

“Not everyone is into the big new high-tech ships, as impressive as they may be,” she said. “The Fantasy’s décor may be a little dated, but there is something appealing about walking into a smaller ship, hanging your hat and knowing your way around,” she added. “There’s also the element of nostalgia.”