While it is no surprise, Carnival Cruise Line has confirmed that Carnival Freedom will be receiving a new, iconic “whale tale” funnel during the ship’s upcoming dry dock in just a few weeks.
The funnel was damaged in a fire in May 2022, and while the funnel was functionally repaired at that time, the instantly recognizable wings that make Carnival ships so distinctive were lost.
Carnival Cruise Line brand ambassador John Heald has confirmed that the Conquest-class Carnival Freedom will receive a brand new, “whale tail” funnel during drydock in early October 2023. The ship’s original funnel caught fire in May 2022 while docked in Grand Turk, destroying the distinctive starboard wing of the structure.
Now, guests on sailings later this year will once again see the classic winged funnel on their ship. “She will get a new whale tail in a couple of months time during her dry dock,” Heald confirmed.
Carnival Freedom will be in dry dock from October 5 through October 22, 2023, in Cadiz, Spain. The dry dock is part of the ship’s regular maintenance schedule, which is why the funnel’s replacement has not happened sooner.
Other routine maintenance and upgrades will also be part of the dry dock, such as refinishing public areas, updating onboard technology, and other upgrades to keep the ship in peak condition.
All cruise ships regularly enter dry dock for maintenance and updates. Carnival Freedom‘s last dry dock was her emergency funnel repair in late May and early June 2022 after the fire, which was completed at the Grand Bahama Shipyard in Freeport, Bahamas.
Previously, the most recent dry dock had been in early 2019, when the ship received a moderate refurbishment with the redesigning of onboard retail spaces, the addition of the WaterWorks aqua park on Deck 10, and other updates.
Many cruisers don’t realize that the original funnel is still in place on Carnival Freedom, even after the fire. The classic “wings” are just exhaust vents and not strictly necessary for the ship’s safe and efficient operation, and they were removed after the fire.
The fire happened on May 26, 2022, while the ship was docked in Grand Turk as part of a 5-night Eastern Caribbean itinerary, and damage was limited to the starboard wing of the funnel.
While the photos and videos of the incident are shocking with black smoke and flames billowing from the funnel, the fire was contained within 20 minutes and fully extinguished shortly thereafter. There were no injuries reported in the incident, and no other damage to the vessel.
Due to the extensive damage and the need for emergency repairs, the ship was temporarily removed from service with three cruises cancelled. The sailing of the fire was also shortened and guests were transported back to Port Canaveral via Carnival Conquest, sister ship to Carnival Freedom.
During the emergency dry dock, the funnel’s “wings” were removed and the funnel certified for use without the added structures, giving the vessel more of a classic straight funnel appearance. Once repairs were complete, Carnival Freedom returned to service from June 11, 2022.
Carnival Freedom joined the Fun Ship fleet in 2007 as the last of the Conquest-class ships. The 110,000-gross ton vessel can welcome 2,980 guests when booked at double occupancy, and as many as 3,754 if all berths are filled and the ship is fully booked. At the time of the fire, just 2,504 guests were aboard, along with 972 international crew members.
The ship is currently homeported from Port Canaveral, offering 4- and 5-night sailings to the Bahamas and the Eastern Caribbean. After the two transatlantic sailings that will take her to and from Spain for her upcoming dry dock, Carnival Freedom will return to Port Canaveral to continue offering convenient getaways to destinations such as Grand Turk, Amber Cove, Bimini, Nassau, Half Moon Cay, and Princess Cay.
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