The price tag of Carnival Cruise Line’s FunShip 2.0 initiative, the $500 million multi-year, fleet-wide, onboard programming revolution may have just gone up. Today the wiz kids at Carnival announced a $150 million makeover of Carnival Destiny in a 49-day dry dock that will add all the elements of FunShip 2.0 at once, creating an entirely new ship. The transformation will be so dramatic, so extensive, that Carnival is renaming the ship Carnival Sunshine, reflecting a totally different onboard product.
“This is our most ambitious ship conversion project to date and it will radically transform the Carnival Destiny into essentially an entirely new ship offering a variety of exciting dining and beverage choices, spectacular outdoor spaces and entertainment options, and on-board innovations not available anywhere else,” said Gerry Cahill, Carnival president and CEO.
As if all elements of FunShip 2.0 are not enough to transform Carnival Destiny, for years a popular, well laid-out workhorse of the Carnival fleet into something unique, the plan calls for a reconfigured layout of the ship.
Adding a partial deck and expanding two other decks within the forward section of the ship will bring “the opportunity to incorporate a number of new and exciting on-board spaces,” Carnival said in a statement.
Those new never-before-seen spaces will include a three-deck high adults-only Serenity retreat and a new addition to the Carnival family of steakhouses called Fahrenheit 555. Capitalizing on the wildly popular addition of a down-home “Comfort Food” section to menus in the main dining rooms (Their version of Macaroni and Cheese is amazing. Yes, really) The Comfort Kitchen will be a new addition to the Lido deck marketplace along with an overdue full-service version of the Mongolian Wok featuring made-by-request fresh ingredients, Asian style.
Also, in a “why didn’t anybody think of that before?” move, the line is adding The Havana Bar, a tropical-themed nightspot all the way aft in the Lido Marketplace with panoramic views of the ocean. We wonder if new Vegas bev guy/VP Edward Allen had anything to do with that one. Maybe so: plans also call for a new Sunshine Bar at the lobby level of the ship’s atrium where guests can enjoy a cocktail, dance and listen to live music and a new yet-to-be-named cigar bar concept with “plush, comfortable surroundings, along with fine cigars and a variety of brandies, cognacs and liqueurs, ideal for pre- or post-dinner drinks and conversation.”
We suggest “Healds” to name the venue after the lines iconic Senior Cruise Director who has enjoyed a fine cigar with many a Carnival passenger over the years.
Before any of that though, Carnival Destiny will go home to Italy’s Fincantieri, shipyard where she was built for her original launch in 1995, then the first passenger ship larger than the 1940-built RMS Queen Elizabeth. While home in Italy, 182 new cabins will be added before newly-named Carnival Sunshine embarks on a schedule of nine- and 12-day Mediterranean voyages from Barcelona and Venice from April to October 2013 then launch year-round seven-day Caribbean departures from New Orleans beginning November 2013.
When Carnival Destiny premieres after a grand, sweeping stroke of the FunShip 2.0 paintbrush, it will actually be the first ship in the fleet to have all elements in place.
“Breeze has all of the entertainment elements in place but won’t have EA Sports, etc. so Sunshine is the first ship with all Fun Ship 2.0 elements,” Carnival spokesperson Vance Gulliksen told us.
Here’s a look at some of Carnival Sunshine’s many features via the release issued by Carnival today:
Wide-Ranging On-Board Dining Choices
- Guy’s Burger Joint, a free-of-charge poolside venue developed in partnership with Food Network personality Guy Fieri serving hand-crafted burgers and fresh-cut fries in an atmosphere that celebrates the chef’s California roots and love of car culture
- BlueIguana Cantina, a complimentary poolside Mexican eatery where guests can enjoy authentic, freshly made burritos and tacos on homemade tortillas that can be personalized with a variety of salsas and toppings
- Fahrenheit 555, a classic American steakhouse offering mouth-watering steaks and gourmet appetizers, entrees and desserts, all enhanced by understated ambiance and impeccable service (venue will carry a surcharge consistent with other steakhouses in the Carnival fleet)
- Cucina del Capitano – or “The Captain’s Kitchen” – with Italian favorites and new Carnival classics served family-style in a fun and engaging atmosphere reminiscent of a cozy Italian home (during the day, the venue will serve as a free casual lunch-time pasta bar with a nominal charge for dinner)
- A stunning new full-service Asian restaurant inspired by the line’s popular Mongolian wok casual eateries that will feature an extensive menu of delicious favorites from the Far East, along with a striking Asian-themed décor (no charge for lunch with a nominal fee for dinner)
- An expansive casual poolside eatery, Lido Marketplace, offering a seemingly endless array of delectable favorites from around the world, from paninis and pizza to a deli offering piled-high sandwiches and just about everything in between
- A new casual dining option, “The Comfort Kitchen,” located within the Lido Marketplace and offering a tempting array of American-style “comfort food” entrees and side dishes.
- Completely renovated main dining rooms that will offer extensive menus and wine lists, with a tantalizing selection of salads, appetizers, entrees and desserts nightly, including Carnival’s legendary chocolate melting cake
- A newly designed coffee bar, serving a wide range of sweet and frothy concoctions such as cappuccinos, lattes, espressos and other caffeinated favorites, along with delicious pastries and other decadent confections
Innovative Bar and Beverage Concepts
- RedFrog Pub where guests can enjoy the Caribbean’s best rums and beers – along with Carnival’s own ThirstyFrog Red private label draft brew – and island-inspired pub fare while soaking up the distinct British-West-Indies-meets-Key-West ambiance
- RedFrog Rum Bar, a poolside adaptation of the RedFrog Pub offering the quintessential Caribbean vacation vibe with refreshing Caribbean rum-based frozen drinks and beers, including Carnival’s own ThirstyFrog Red
- BlueIguana Tequila Bar, a fun and festive outdoor watering hole offering a laid-back Mexican-themed atmosphere and tequila-based frozen drinks and beers, perfect for chillin’ by the pool
- EA SPORTS Bar, a sports and video game lovers’ paradise where guests can catch live sporting events, check out scores on the real-time 24/7 sports ticker, and play the latest EA SPORTS games on a 16-screen video wall
- Alchemy Bar, a vintage-themed cocktail “pharmacy” that’s the go-to spot for guests seeking a unique experience with mixologists who “prescribe” concoctions from different elixirs and ingredients or guests’ own custom-created cocktails.
- The Library Bar, a warm and cozy venue offering full bar service for those seeking a more intimate spot for before- or after-dinner drinks
- An exciting new lounge, Havana Bar, a tropical-inspired nightspot located aft within Lido Marketplace featuring a panoramic ocean view from its floor to ceiling windows and offering a unique and memorable venue for cocktails, live Latin music and dancing
- The new Sunshine Bar, an elegant lounge with sun-splashed interiors located at the lobby level of the ship’s towering atrium where guests can enjoy a cocktail, dance and listen to live music
- A new cigar bar concept, with plush, comfortable surroundings, along with fine cigars and a variety of brandies, cognacs and liqueurs, ideal for pre- or post-dinner drinks and conversation
Outdoor Fun and Relaxation
- Carnival’s first three-deck-high Serenity adults-only retreat, an oasis of tranquility offering plush chaise lounges and chairs, a whirlpool, a cascading waterfall, teak-planked decks, a pool, a complimentary dining area with freshly made salads that can be customized by guests, and, of course, magnificent sea views
- SportSquare, Carnival Sunshine’s new open-air recreation complex that includes such attractions as a ropes course, mini-golf course, a lighted half court for basketball and volleyball, jogging track, ping pong, pool, and foosball tables, and bar with a large flat-screen for those who want to check out the action on TV.
- WaterWorks, a “splash-tastic” top-deck attraction that’s sure to be a hit with guests of all ages with wet ‘n wild thrills such as the line’s iconic “Twister” water slide, a Splash Zone kids water play area, an all-new thrill slide and other fun feature.
- Carnival’s Seaside Theatre, a poolside 270-square-foot high-tech LED screen offering nightly “Dive In Movies,” along with a variety of concerts, sporting events and other programming, all of which are enjoyed in the fresh sea air
- Playlist Productions, which builds upon Carnival’s reputation for high quality entertainment by combining captivating live performances and spectacular staging and special effects to create enthralling music revues produced by the top directors and choreographers in the industry.
- Hasbro, The Game Show, where guests are part of the show through a series of larger-than-life productions and entertainment activities based on the company’s iconic and popular games and presented in the ship’s remodeled main show lounge.
- Piano Bar 88, a new twist on Carnival’s popular piano bar concept that will amp up the excitement with themed nights, an engaging new décor and opportunities for spontaneous sing-along fun.
- The Punchliner Comedy Club Presented by George Lopez, featuring a hilarious line-up of both established and up-and-coming talent evaluated and vetted by the popular TV personality who serves as Carnival’s “curator of comedy”.
- The Punchliner Comedy Brunch, for those who want a little merriment in the morning, serving up laughter along with delicious cuisine
Staterooms, Shopping and More
- All staterooms will be fully revamped and feature a new tropical décor that pays homage to the ship’s Caribbean itineraries with a combination of bright colors and soothing pastels, with 182 new staterooms to be added across a broad range of accommodations from interior to balconies, including 96 new spa staterooms
- Newly designed play areas catering to kids in three age groups, part of the line’s top-rated children’s programs – Camp Carnival (2-11), Circle “C” (12-14) and Club O2 (15-17), with enthusiastic counselors and fun supervised activities for each group, along with popular elements of Carnival’s new partnership with Hasbro.
- The FunHub, featuring dozens of flat-panel stations for keeping up with the latest Carnival Sunshine happenings, surfing the Web, and staying in touch with friends and family back home.
- Cloud 9 Spa – Designed as the ultimate refuge for rest and relaxation, this newly constructed facility will set a new standard in oceangoing wellness with a sophisticated menu of exotic therapies, an elaborate thermal suite with varying degrees of soothing warmth, private treatment rooms, and the latest exercise equipment.
- Cherry On Top, which celebrates the joys of simple indulgences with bins of bulk candy, fun fanciful gifts and novelties, custom apparel and more.
- Ocean Plaza, a stunning café and entertainment venue where guests can meet new friends, listen to music, enjoy drinks and light snacks, participate in a wide range of activities and people watch
Exciting European and Caribbean Itineraries
Carnival Sunshine will launch a series of Mediterranean cruises beginning with a 14-day voyage departing from Venice April 12 and arriving in Barcelona April 26, 2013. The ship will then operate a series of 18 nine- and 12-day Mediterranean cruises either round-trip from Barcelona or sailing between Barcelona and Venice. These departures will visit a wide variety of the Mediterranean’s most spectacular ports, including Marseilles, France; Monte Carlo, Monaco; Livorno (Pisa/Florence) and Civitavecchia (Rome), Italy; and Dubrovnik, Croatia.
Carnival Sunshine will then sail on a 16-day trans-Atlantic crossing departing Barcelona Nov. 1 and arriving New Orleans Nov. 17, 2013, positioning the vessel for its year-round deployment from the Big Easy.
Following a special six-day cruise from New Orleans Nov. 18-24, 2013, Carnival Sunshine will launch its year-round seven-day cruise schedule from that port Nov. 24, 2013. Three different week-long itineraries will be offered – an exotic western Caribbean route to Belize City, Belize; Mahogany Bay, Isla Roatan, and Cozumel, Mexico; a Bahamas/Florida schedule to Key West, Fla., and Freeport and Nassau, The Bahamas; and western Caribbean departures to Montego Bay, Jamaica; George Town, Grand Cayman; and Cozumel.
Carnival Sunshine will replace Carnival Conquest, which is currently based in New Orleans. Additional details on the Carnival Conquest deployment will be announced in the near future.”
- Carnival ships on the move, increasing capacity in San Juan, crossing the pond (chriscruises.net)
- Carnival Funship 2.0 makes Carnival Liberty a whole new ship (examiner.com)
- Carnival Funship 2.0 makes Carnival Liberty a whole new ship (chriscruises.net)
- Renewed, refreshed cruise ships court a new generation of traveler (chriscruises.net)
- Dueling songsters rock the deck on Carnival Liberty (chriscruises.net)