CARNIVAL WAS NOT THE BEGINNING . . . . THE BIG RED BOATS
I am adding this thread here in Carnival because the demographics that frequent Carnival is also the demographics that cruised the Big Red Boats in their day.
If anyone knows more than what is written below, please expound.
I did a little research and this is what I have been able to find out.
The Big Red Boats were not new when they hit the scene. They were originally designed to be two-class vessels so the layout on these ships were a bit odd. Near the end, because of financial problems, these ships had fallen into disrepair and were severely understaff.
The Big Red Boats were at one time in partnership with Disney. The BRB provided the cruise portion of the Land & Sea vacations that Disney pushed aggressively in the late 80's and 90's. In 1996 Disney severed their relationship with the BRBs because Disney felt it was more economical to build their own ship. After the lost of their main sponsor the BRB's (Premier Cruiseline) never recovered.
In September 2000, they ceased operations without any warning. They put everyone (crew and passengers) off of the ships at whatever port they were closest to. Most of the passengers were debarked in Nassau and were flown back to their point of embarkation. However, Premier Cruiselines left the crew were to fend for themselves without money (they didn't get paid), documentations, provisions or any assistance from Premier. Word has it that most of the crew were stuck living at the port in Nassau for over three days while the Bahamian government tried to make sense of this disaster. The crew were provided with blankets, cots, food, water, etc. but were not allowed to leave the port area. Eventually, the crew were flown to various points on the globe. Those that were flown to a U.S. port were treated to a free ticket home and a food voucher courtesy of the United States government. Those that were flown to ports other than the U.S. did not make out as well. What happened to them, I have not found out yet.
Basically, once Disney abandoned their partnership, this cruiseline was not prepared to operate as a solo entity. This was right about the time that Carnival, RCCL and Disney were grabbing all of the attention with their big, shiny, new ships. The Big Red Boats could not compete with these larger companies because BRB simply did not have the ability to match the amenities offered by the larger companies.
It is sad actually because, while I have never cruised on them, the Big Red Boats were the start of affordable cruising for the Middle Class.
Will do more research later.
(cruzin' solo by design)
Freedom ('09), Imagination ('08), Victory ('08), Destiny ('08), RCCL Navigator ('08), RCCL Majesty ('08), Glory ('07), Liberty ('07), Fantasy ('07), Destiny ('06), NCL PofAm ('05), Fascination ('04), Victory ('04), Fascination ('04), RCCL Voyager ('03), Fantasy ('99)
Premier Cruise Lines ran the Big Red Boats and they joined Carnival in using NYC as a port of embarkation. We did the BRB cruise with the Disney characters out of Florida to the Bahamas and my kids loved it. After Disney went their own way the BRB tried make do with Warner Bros characters aboard but that didn't cut it. They wound up stranding passengers and crew (with all luggage) also in Halifax , N.S. What an inglorious end to the line. But I maintain that Carnival was ahead of them. I remember Carnival pushing the "party atmosphere" in 1982 when we passed them aboard the Nordic Prince.
Freedom Of The Seas -07
Radiance Of The Seas-07
Adventure Of The Seas-05
Navigator Of The Seas-04
Soverign Of The Seas-02
Big Red Boat-93
No the Carnivale was Carnival's ship - not associated with Premier Cruise Lines. Premier had the Oceanic, Majestic, Royale and Atlantic. I sailed on each of them and I thought (at the time) that Premier was a great cruise line. Of course, their vessels were nothing compared to the mega-liners of today. But I do have great memories from each cruise. After Disney, Looney Tunes (Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, etc.) signed an agreement with Premier. At some point, I don't recall if this was pre or post-Disney, Premier was owned by Dial Corp. (yep, the soap manufacturers).
Carnival Cruise Lines started in 1972 with the "Mardi Gras". It was after Ted Arison broke off his relationship with Kurt Kloster of NCL. The Mardi Gras was the former "Empress of Canada". Ted Arison, initially, had no idea how to run a cruise line. Ted Arison was the father of the now CEO of Carnival Corporation, Mickey Arison.
Premier Cruise Lines, started in 1983. The Festivale was acquired from Carnival and renamed the Big Red Boat III.
Premier was born eleven years after Carnival came on the cruising scene.
There have been 73 cruise lines that have gone under since 1910 to 2005.
It's a tough business. Almost all cruise lines that have shut down have not done so, gracefully. Renaissance left passengers in port in 2001. American Hawaii Cruises never refunded over half of the money owed passengers who had paid, in full, for their cruises.
Premier's was one of the worst and the sinking of the Seabreeze as it was being towed back to be stripped was one of the most convenient sinking in maritime history. The insurance was far more than the salvage value of the ship.
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"There is a great difference between being well traveled and just having been to many places." ~Me
We sailed "Premier" many times, and as a matter of fact, the lovely Mrs. Jones (Vita) and I celebrated our honeymoon aboard "Big Red Boat". We sailed "SeaBreeze" just a month or so before they went "Keel Up", and had a wonderful cruise. I still have the "Premier" bathrobes they gave us, and all of that for a 7 day price of under $100 per person! Most of the entertainment was presented by the crew (it was great!), and there was a lot of seafood on the menu. Yes, she was small, and a bit rusty, and the cabin was laid out kind of strange, but considering everything, we had a great cruise aboard "SeaBreeze". I really hated the fact that they scuttled her.
Our family's first cruise was on the BRB in 1995! I answered one of those "You have won a free trip" letters. The trip was a day cruise to the Bahamas with a one night stay and then 2 nights in Orlando. Having 2 teenage boys, I estimated the cost of food, entertainment and transportation in the Bahamas and upgraded to the BRB cruise. So much for the free trip!
We had a great time but it was obvious the line was going downhill. Our waiter had many stories to tell us about the problems they were having. Being our first cruise, we had nothing to compare it with. It took 11 years but finally got DH to do another cruise. He was still looking for the BRB !
Glad we found Carnival! Going on our 2nd Carnival cruise in January and hope to make this a yearly vacation.