It’s not a new propulsion system for cruise ships, but the energy that infusing celebrity star power with a cruise generates is undeniable. This week in New York, Carnival Cruise Lines announced the addition of three A-list celebrities as the centerpiece of an initiative aimed squarely at raising the onboard experience bar to levels never before seen.
Called Fun Ship 2.0, the $500 million enhancement program includes partnerships with popular celebrities and leading brands, as well as truly innovative bar, dining and entertainment concepts.
Funnyman George Lopez and celebrity chef Guy Fieri along with Miami Heat‘s DJ Erie are doing more than simply lending/selling their well-known name and star status to the Carnival brand. Each has worked with Carnival to create experiences that fit the brand and infuse their own unique style.
The Food Networks Guy Fieri is working with Carnival to offer a free shipboard dining venue called Guy’s Burger Joint, featuring the Food Network star’s amazing hand-crafted burgers and fresh-cut fries and special recipes created exclusively for Carnival.
After the press conference in New York this week, Fieri manned the outdoor grill most of the afternoon, making soon-to-be signature burgers and answering questions. When asked why he got involved with the project, straight-talking Fieri replied “…because these people at Carnival REALLY care about their customers. It really means a lot to them that the people who sail on their ships have a good time. I wanted to be a part of that.”
Fieri’s influence goes beyond the burger recipe too. Condiment stations will feature a suggested menu developed by the chef to show guests what condiments and toppings they can use to build a specialty burger. In addition to burgers, Guy’s Burger Joint will serve fresh, hand-cut French fries prepared on board. I sampled (OK make that “inhaled”) both in New York and agreed with most others that it was one of the best burgers ever.
A variety of innovative condiments from chipotle mayonnaise and a special barbecue sauce to garlic aioli and three hot sauces, will be available at self-serve condiment stations. For guests who like a little more spice, seasonings like garlic and herb, sea salt and hot chili also will be offered, along with a selection of toppings such as sautéed mushrooms, grilled onions, blue cheese crumbles and vine-ripened tomatoes.
Located adjacent to the ship’s main pool area, the décor of Guy’s Burger Joint reflects the chef’s passion for car culture and his California roots, much like his best-selling cookbook Guy Fieri Food. Life-size surfboards and car elements such as car bumpers, grilles and chrome pipes adorn the walls, while car hoods hang on the ceiling over the two condiment stations. Servers will wear old school mechanic uniforms with their own personalized nickname featured.
Carnival is also teaming up with comedian and TV personality George Lopez who will become the cruise line’s creative director for comedy as Carnival introduces the Punchliner Comedy Clubs Presented by George Lopez.
To become the cruise line’s “curator of comedy,” acting as a consultant on the vetting and hiring of comedic talent for the line’s existing fleetwide comedy clubs, Lopez will play an active role in the securing of top up-and-coming comedic talent, utilizing his vast resources within the North American comedy scene.
“Carnival’s ships offer a huge audience that truly appreciates comedic performances and the on-board clubs are fantastic,” said Lopez. “I intend to help build and nurture an understanding among up-and-coming comedic talent that these ships represent a phenomenal environment to work and gain experience.”
Through the partnership, Carnival ships will feature a Lopez comedy routine shown on in-cabin televisions fleetwide and pre-recorded introductions by Lopez at comedy club shows, as well as a new Punchliner Comedy Brunch that will be offered on sea days. Lopez will also partner with the line on a comedy-themed consumer contest in 2012.
“Carnival’s guests absolutely love comedy which is why we are already the cruise industry leader in fleetwide comedic programming and, in fact, we host more guests in our shipboard comedy clubs than any land-based comedy chain in the U.S.,” said Gerry Cahill, Carnival’s president and CEO. “By partnering with George Lopez, an exceptionally talented, respected and popular comedian, Carnival’s comedy offerings will be taken to an entirely new level.”
Carnival’s comedy clubs offer five 35-minute shows on multiple nights during each voyage, with at least two comedians performing each night. The two early-evening shows offer fun for the whole family while the later performances feature adult-oriented comedy.
Lopez is seriously into the concept too. In an interview with CruiseRadio‘s Doug Parker and Matt Basford, Lopez detailed his involvement saying “I will bring people from television and movies and that will make it better. You start to see people on the ship that you have seen in movies and that makes it fun, that’s a great surprise,” adding “I will be performing on the ships occasionally myself which I am excited about” Hear the entire interview on CruiseRadio.net.
DJ IRIE to create first-ever DJ academy at sea
DJ IRIE, song master to the stars and the official DJ of the Miami HEAT, will develop a first-of-its-kind DJ academy at sea that will train all Carnival DJs across the “Fun Ship” fleet. The DJ IRIE Spin’iversity will bring an exciting new vibe to the line’s legendary nightclubs, deck parties and beyond.
“Miami HEAT games are known for their high-energy and non-stop fun created by DJ IRIE and we want to tap into his unique skills and passion for music to create an unforgettable atmosphere on board,” said Mark Tamis, Carnival’s senior vice president of guest operations. “Music is the soundtrack of our lives and our goal is to create an emotional experience for our guests through the right mix of terrific music and a DJ with a unique personality who can energize a crowd.”
Whether spinning in clubs in Miami or Las Vegas, at a sporting event or hosting his popular South Florida radio show, the internationally known DJ IRIE has mastered the art of bringing a crowd to its feet and pumping up the energy and excitement.
Through his new DJ IRIE Spin’iversity, a comprehensive training program, IRIE will train Carnival’s DJs how to read a crowd and tailor song selections from every musical genre, appealing to guests of all ages. He will also instruct DJs on how to make maximum use of their own personality and energy to create their own persona and build popularity among guests to develop a fan following.
“I am honored that Carnival Cruise Lines chose me to be a part of Fun Ship 2.0 and I look forward to bringing the highest level of musical entertainment to the high seas,” said DJ IRIE.
An important point to note: None of this costs extra. A more important note: the Funship2 announcement by Carnival has generated huge interest online via the line’s Facebook page and dedicated Funship2 microsite.
Up next: Funship2: The Social Experience. We’ll take a look at the ongoing social commitment Carnival has made and how that is playing out online and in living rooms worldwide.
- Tonight’s Cruise Video: George Lopez on Carnival Funship2 (chriscruises.net)
- Carnival making drinking venues ship-shape (timesunion.com)
- Cruise ship aces health inspection for fifth time, an industry first (chriscruises.net)
- Changes Aboard Its Ships (seatravel.wordpress.com)