Earlier this year, Carnival Cruise Lines announced a $500 million Fun Ship 2.0 program to transform its cruise experience with an array of branded new offerings across the company's fleet of ships. As part of this initiative, Carnival partnered with major brands and high profile celebrities to deliver cutting edge dining, entertainment and more. The first phase of the program launched in late October when the Carnival Liberty came out of dry dock with the new Fun Ship 2.0 enhancements.
"Okay," you say, "cruise lines announce new stuff like this all the time."
You're right, but this one's the real deal. Here are five reasons why you should pay attention to this new initiative.
1. Bringing Back The Wow.
You're heard the popular saying, "everything old is new again." This time it's true. With the addition of some extraordinary and well-placed Fun Ship 2.0 enhancements, Carnival manages to revitalize its ships and make them feel like new. From hip new bars and cool eateries to deck parties and cute stores, Carnival has managed to transform a ship that's a few years old into something that's innovative, exciting, and fun. In fact, guest satisfaction ratings on the Liberty have soared since the Fun Ship 2.0 enhancements have been in place.
2. Focusing On the Experience.
Fun Ship 2.0 is a much bigger concept than dropping in a few bars and restaurants. It's all about crafting a tapestry of fantastic cruise experiences that are fun, memorable, and offer a great value. Fun Ship 2.0 enhancements are designed to create a cool atmosphere onboard with lots of style and flair. For example, on the Liberty's pool deck, Carnival has added two bars: the RedFrog Rum Bar and BlueIguana Tequila Bar. Rather than just being a place to have the usual drinks, these two branded bars are infused with their own personalities. The waiters know your name and love their brand - and there's a friendly rivalry between the two outlets. These brands and personalities are carried through to the ship's onboard nighttime deck parties - lively Caribbean one night and vibrant Mexican fiesta another. Bottom line: the ship's not just another venue. Fun Ship 2.0 creates vacation memories that linger long after your cruise is over.
3. Free Great Food.
What words describe delicious food on vacation? Travelers generally say it's fresh, handmade, and authentic - and doesn't break the bank. Sometimes those kinds of experiences can be tough to find on a cruise ship. Not so with Carnival's Fun Ship 2.0. The new enhancements on the Carnival Liberty have introduced tasty new treats and the best burgers on the high seas. Best of all, they're free! Carnival partnered with Guy Fieri, the popular TV chef and Food Network star, to launch Guy's Burger Joint on its ships. The classic roadside-meets-seaside diner features handcrafted juicy burgers, fresh-cut french fries and lots of special recipes. The five unique hamburgers have names like The Ringer, Chilius Maximus, Plain Jane and Pig Patty. There's also a huge toppings and fixings bar with sauteed mushrooms, onions, lettuce, tomatoes, bacon crisps, pickles, and wide variety of sauces. Passengers can eat as many of these mouthwatering hamburgers as they like with no charge (and no long lines) at all. Maybe that's why Guy's on the Carnival Liberty serves between 1100-1400 burgers per day. But wait ... there's more. Carnival also launched the BlueIguana Cantina, a complimentary Mexican restaurant serving fresh made-to-order burritos and tacos with all the fixings. The glass-enclosed onsite tortilla maker can turn out over 700 fresh tortillas per hour. Guests have their choice of beef, chicken or shrimp burritos accompanied by loads of additional fillings including cilantro-lime rice, black beans, roasted corn, guacamole, roasted corn, lettuce, tomato and so much more. Taco lovers can enjoy fish, chicken and pork tacos and fill them with more items from the large fixings bar. Freshly made, delicious, and free: it doesn't get much better than that.
4. Incredible Bars.
Cruise ship bars can be humdrum, churning out the same old boring drinks to masses of passengers. Not so on the Carnival Liberty. The goal of Fun Ship 2.0 is to create unique bar experiences with personalities of their own. Here, guests can try new things, have a great time with family and friends, and maybe even engage in a little healthy competition. Carnival has achieved their goal in this department - hands down. Guests love interactive fun, sports and competing against each other, so the new EA SPORTS Bar is a natural. The bar features four huge video screens for watching sports events, a ticker tape with live sports scores, and the latest video games. Looking for a prescription for fun? Head to the Alchemy Bar, an incredibly cool "cocktail pharmacy" serving specialty handcrafted cocktails, mood enhancers, and general relief for ... whatever. Guests can use the handy prescription pads to create their own custom concoctions as well. The RedFrog Rum Bar, conveniently located on the pool deck, serves up a wide array of Caribbean rum-based drinks and lots of Carnival's signature draught beer, ThirstyFrog Red. Right across the pool deck from the RedFrog Rum Bar sits the BlueIguana Tequila Bar, home of great frozen tequila drinks and cold Mexican beers. The rivalry between these two bars creates a fun vibe, so be prepared to decide, "Are you Red or Blue?"
5. Cool Spaces and Entertainment.
The Fun Ship 2.0 difference can be noticed immediately, starting with the music guests hear as they come aboard. The DJ IRIE-trained Carnival DJ is spinning up today's hot sounds, not the usual tired old songs. Count on that continuing across multiple venues throughout the cruise. Carnival has also introduced Cherry On Top, an onboard candy and sweets store that's just perfect for a little something extra. For adults needing some quiet time, head to Serenity. This adults-only upper deck area is loaded with comfy padded loungers and hammocks - just the spot for relaxation. The Punchliner Comedy Club features great entertainment nightly, both at family-friendly and separate late-night R-rated shows. Another memorable entertainment venue is the outdoor Seaside Theatre with its 12'x22' jumbo LED screen. Located right by the pool, it's a great place for watching movies, concerts and more.
In 2012, Carnival guests will be able to experience the new Fun Ship 2.0 options on the Carnival Breeze, Carnival Conquest and the Carnival Glory. The fleet-wide rollout will continue through 2015. Make sure to check it out as part of your next cruise. For more information, visit the Carnival website at http://www.carnival.com or contact your favorite travel agent.