Carnival Cruise Line announced its largest refit project ever today with the $155 million makeover of the 15-year-old Carnival Destiny. The wide-ranging makeover will add all of Carnival's popular "Fun Ship 2.0" dining, bar and entertainment features as well as some innovations that will be unique to this ship. The redesign is so extensive that it will transform the Destiny into something entirely new. To convey the complete nature of this overhaul, the ship will be renamed the Carnival Sunshine.
In an interview this morning, Lania Rittenhouse, Vice President of Product Development for Carnival Cruise Lines, told BellaOnline that the Carnival Destiny makeover is "a new prototype for the future, offering exciting experiences for guests of all ages." Looking at the list of renovations and additions, it's apparent that once this refit process is completed, the Sunshine will be (well, almost) the newest ship in the Carnival fleet.
The unprecedented ship conversion will include a reconfigured layout, adding a partial deck and expanding two other decks. This will provide space for 182 new staterooms and some new onboard spaces. In addition, interior spaces will be redone as well.
Following a 49-day dry dock period commencing next February, the newly transformed Carnival Sunshine will embark on a series of nine- and twelve-day Mediterranean voyages from April to October 2013. In the fall, the Carnival Sunshine will take the place of the Carnival Conquest in New Orleans, offering seven-day cruises to the Caribbean, the Bahamas and Florida.
A Wide Array of Options and Experiences
It's staggering to see the list of all that the new Carnival Sunshine will offer its guests. There will definitely be something for everyone on this ship. All of the much-loved "Fun Ship 2.0" venues and entertainment will be on the Sunshine, including Guy Fieri's Guy's Burger Joint, Cucina del Capitano, the BlueIguana Cantina, RedFrog Pub, RedFrog Rum Bar, BlueIguana Tequila Bar, EA SPORTS Bar, Alchemy Bar, The Library Bar, Carnival's Seaside Theatre, The Punchliner Comedy Club Presented by George Lopez, and lots more.
In addition, there will a number of venues and enhancements that will be new to the Carnival fleet. Here's a quick look at some of the Carnival Sunshine's unique features:
* Lido Marketplace: The typical cruise ship notion of Lido buffet-style dining will be transformed on the Carnival Sunshine. Instead of the usual cavernous room with buffet lines, look for a series of more intimate dining venues serving themed specialties from around the world.
* A full-service Asian restaurant: This new eatery, building on the already popular Mongolian wok dining offerings on other Carnival ships, will feature an wide array of Far East favorites along with an Asian-themed decor. Similar to the Cucina del Capitano concept, the restaurant will be free of charge to guests at lunch and charge a nominal fee for dinner.
* "The Comfort Kitchen" Lido dining option: This casual area located within the Lido Marketplace will offer an array of American-style "comfort food" menu items.
* Havana Bar: This nightspot reminiscent of Old Havana will be located aft of the ship within the Lido Marketplace area and will feature a panoramic ocean view through floor to ceiling windows. The venue will offer cocktails, live Latin music, and plenty of space for dancing.
* Cigar Bar: This new location will offer a variety of fine cigars, brandies, cognacs and liqueurs, all served in plush, comfortable surroundings.
* Piano Bar 88: The Carnival Sunshine will feature a revved-up twist on Carnival's current piano bar concept, with themed nights, a new decor and more.
* A three-deck-high Serenity adults-only retreat: This dramatically expanded adults-only venue is a first for Carnival, expanding on the cruise line's popular Serenity concept and offering a relaxing outdoor oasis for adults. The area will feature a whirlpool, a cascading waterfall, teak-planked decks, a pool, a bar area, a complementary dining area with freshly made customized salads, sun and shady spots, and magnificent sea views. Best of all, this area is complimentary for guests.
* New WaterWorks: While the Carnival Sunshine will feature Carnival's signature water fun area similar to the Carnival Magic, guests will be able to enjoy a cool thrill slide and other elements that have not been announced yet. Lania Rittenhouse said to stay tuned for more details about the new features in this area, which certainly sounds exciting.
* Enhanced SportsSquare: The SportsSquare area found on the Magic has been a hit with guests of all ages. As a result, says Ms. Rittenhouse, a similar area with a ropes course, miniature golf course, lighted half-court and more, will be found on the Carnival Sunshine - but look for some new twists here as well.
* Even cooler Kids & Teens areas: According to Lania Rittenhouse, "Carnival executives spent a lot of time focusing on the kids and teens areas on the Sunshine." Younger guests can expect new aspects to be featured in these clubs, such as an outdoor cushy seating area in Club O2.
In our interview, Carnival's Vice President of Product Development suggested that there's more news to come with respect to the cruise line's fleet. According to Ms. Rittenhouse, guest feedback on the innovative Fun Ship 2.0 features found on the Carnival Magic and Carnival Liberty has been even better than expected. "We have an eye on the full fleet at the moment," said Ms. Rittenhouse, "and we want to roll out as many of these new experiences as we can across the fleet.
Frankly, we can't wait.