|All photos courtesy of Carnival Cruise Lines|
Today, Carnival made it official in a big way. Carnival Destiny will receive a $155 million makeover in a 49-day drydock next year, in what the line is describing as its most ambitious refit project ever.
The ship will receive all the Fun Ship 2.0 dining, bar and entertainment features. Plus, it will have a number of new venues and innovations new to the fleet. And 182 cabins will be added.
Given the substantive work to be done, the ship will get a reconfigured layout, a new partial deck and the expansion of two other decks within the ship's forward section.
And, Carnival will rename the ship as Carnival Sunshine.
Mediterranean and New Orleans Cruises
The drydock will take place between February and April 2013. The refit work will be done by Italian shipbuilder Fincantieri.
Following the makeover, Carnival Sunshine will embark on a schedule of nine- and 12-day Mediterranean voyages from Barcelona and Venice between April and October 2013.
In November, it will reposition to New Orleans to launch year-round seven-day Caribbean departures from New Orleans.
“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.
Wide-Ranging Onboard Dining Choices
Among the new dining venues to be added are two complimentary poolside eateries - Guy’s Burger Joint and BlueIguana Cantina, both wildly popular when they were added late last year on Carnival Liberty as part of the line's Fun Ship 2.0 program.
Guests on the Carnival Sunshine will also enjoy Fahrenheit 555, a classic American steakhouse; as an alternative dining venue, it will carry a surcharge that the lines says will be "consistent with other steakhouses in the Carnival fleet."
A new venue is 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. The venue will serve as a free casual lunch-time pasta bar with a nominal charge for dinner.
Inspired by the line's popular Mongolian wok casual eateries, Carnival Sunshine will receive a new full-service Asian restaurant. It will feature an extensive menu of delicious favorites from the Far East, along with Asian-themed décor. There will be no charge for lunch with a norminal fee for dinner.
Poolside, the Lido Marketplace will offer everything from paninis and pizza to a deli. Located within the marketplace will be a new casual dining option, "The Comfort Kitchen,” with what the line describes as American-style “comfort food” entrees and side dishes
The ship's completely renovated main dining rooms will offer extensive menus and wine lists. A newly designed coffee bar will serve pastries and cappuccinos, lattes and espressos.
The ship will also have a RedFrog Pub, a Fun Ship 2.0 venue where guests can enjoy pub fare, Caribbean rums and beers, and Carnival’s own ThirstyFrog Red private label draft brew.
The ship will also offer the poolside adaptation of that venue, the RedFrog Rum Bar, as well as the BlueIguana Tequila Bar, both Fun Ship 2.0 upgrades.
Two other Fun Ship 2.0 upgrade additions will be EA SPORTS Bar, a sports and video bar with a 16-screen video wall, and Alchemy Bar, a vintage-themed cocktail “pharmacy." The Library Bar will offer bar service in a more intimate setting for before- or after-dinner drinks.
A new tropical-inspired lounge, Havana Bar, will be aft within Lido Marketplace. It will feature panoramic ocean views via floor to ceiling windows. Expect 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
The Carnival Sunshine will boast the line's first three-deck-high Serenity adults-only retreat. It will have plush chaise lounges and chairs, a whirlpool, cascading waterfall, teak-planked decks, a pool, complimentary dining area with freshly made salads and sea views
SportSquare, Carnival Sunshine’s new open-air recreation complex will include 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, Carnival's splash attraction will feature the line’s iconic “Twister” water slide, a Splash Zone kids water play area, an all-new thrill slide and other fun features
Also to be added is the open-air Carnival’s Seaside Theatre, a poolside, 270-square-foot, high-tech LED screen offering nightly movies, concerts, sporting events and other programming.
Playlist Productions, which builds upon Carnival’s entertainment offerings will feature live music revues, while Hasbro, The Game Show puts guests in the midst of productions and entertainment activities based on the game company's iconic games; the game show will be presented in the ship's remodeled main show lounge
Piano Bar 88 will be a new twist on Carnival’s piano bar concept. Expect themed nights, new décor and sing-along fun.
The Punchliner Comedy Club Presented by George Lopez, another Fun Ship 2.0 upgrade, will also be added, and a Punchliner Comedy Brunch will be a morning venue for laughter and food.
More Interior Upgrades
All staterooms will be fully revamped and feature a new tropical décor that pays homage to the ship’s Caribbean itineraries. Look for a combination of bright colors and soothing pastels.
The 182 new staterooms to be added will comprise a range of accommodations from interior cabins to balcony staterooms, and also 96 new spa staterooms
Newly designed play areas will cater to kids in three age groups, as part of the line’s children’s programs – Camp Carnival (2-11), Circle “C” (12-14) and Club O2 (15-17). Elements of Hasbro games will be incorporated into the programming.
The ship's Internet cafe, called the FunHub will have dozens of flat-panel stations for guests to use in surfing the Web or sending photos home to friends and family.
The ship's new Cloud 9 Spa will offer spa treatments, an elaborate thermal suite, private treatment rooms, and the latest exercise equipment
A candy and gift store, Cherry On Top, also part of the Fun Ship 2.0 upgrades, will be added.
The Ocean Plaza café and entertainment venue is planned as a spot where guests can meet new friends, listen to music, enjoy drinks and light snacks, and participate in a activities.
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 Mediterranean 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 for its year-round deployment on Nov. 17, 2013.
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 starting on Nov. 24, 2013.
Three different week-long itineraries will be offered. An exotic western Caribbean route will call at Belize City, Belize; Mahogany Bay, Isla Roatan, and Cozumel, Mexico.
A Bahamas/Florida schedule will include calls at Key West, FL, and Freeport and Nassau, The Bahamas.
Western Caribbean itineraries will include Montego Bay, Jamaica; George Town, Grand Cayman; and Cozumel.
When it arrives in New Orleans in fall 2013, Carnival Sunshine will replace Carnival Conquest, which is currently based there.
Carnival did not announce its plans for Carnival Conquest, but indicated it would do so in the near future.
Stay tuned to www.travelagentcentral.com for an interview with Carnival executives about the new updates.