Building Excitement: Carnival Cruise Lines Goes All In
Cruise industry developments never fail to fascinate, and the Carnival Fun Ship 2.0 initiative – a set of fleet-wide improvements to upgrade the Carnival ships’ fun quotient – is no exception. One cruise season may see a boom in ship newbuilds while another may see the extensive remodeling of existing fleets, but Carnival Cruise Lines is currently investing in it all.
With $500 million earmarked for the Fun Ship 2.0 upgrades, the new Carnival Breeze online, the Carnival Destiny slated to transform into the fresh Carnival Sunshine, and a new 135,000 gross-ton vessel – the largest ever constructed for the cruise line – on order for delivery in 2016, Carnival Cruise Lines is extraordinarily dedicated to its passenger experience.
Carnival Fun Ship 2.0
It all started with the 2.0-updated Carnival Liberty last October and the recent launch of the new 2.0-ready Carnival Breeze, which just arrived in Miami in time for Thanksgiving and her year-round Caribbean itineraries sailing now. Since then, the Carnival Dream (as reported here), Carnival Conquest and Carnival Glory have also received the new 2.0 features which include the following as described by Carnival:
Guy’s Burger Joint, a complimentary poolside venue offering fresh-made burgers, hand-cut fries and innovative toppings and condiments created by Food Network personality and chef Guy Fieri (not available on Carnival Liberty nor Carnival Dream)
BlueIguana Cantina, a free-of-charge Mexican cantina with authentic tacos and burritos that can be personalized by diners at an extensive salsa and toppings bar
Alchemy Bar, a cocktail “pharmacy” where highly trained mixologists create custom cocktails using interesting flavors and ingredients (not available on Carnival Dream)
EA SPORTS Bar, an interactive sports bar where patrons can view live action, play popular EA SPORTS video games and keep up with the latest scores on the 24/7 sports ticker (not available on Carnival Dream)
RedFrog Rum Bar, a poolside Caribbean-themed watering hole offering a variety of the region’s top rums and beers, which are enjoyed in a laid back island-infused atmosphere
BlueIguana Tequila Bar, a friendly rival to the RedFrog Rum Bar, this lively and engaging poolside bar specializes in frozen cocktails and Mexican beers, in a fun and festive environment
The Punchliner Comedy Club & Punchliner Comedy Brunch Presented by George Lopez, who is taking Carnival’s popular comedy offerings to the next level with hilarious, side-splitting comedians and a humorous twist on the traditional mid-morning culinary feast
Cherry On Top, which celebrates the joys of simple indulgences with bins of bulk candy, fun fanciful gifts and novelties, custom apparel and more
Hasbro, The Game Show and Playlist Productions will also be added to Carnival Glory and Carnival Conquest over the next several weeks. Hasbro, The Game Show makes guests the stars of the show through larger-than-life adaptations of the company’s iconic board games, while Playlist Productions is a dramatic retooling of Carnival’s legendary revues that combines captivating live performances with high-tech LED staging and special effects that set a new standard in seagoing productions. (not available on Carnival Dream)
The Carnival Sunshine – the $155 million overhauled and renamed Carnival Destiny – will launch in April 2013 after a 49-day drydock with all the Fun Ship 2.0 features outlined above, plus a whole bunch more unique just to her. What’s particularly interesting is how this bonus set of attractions is coming to the smaller Carnival Destiny (101,000 gross-tons) – although once the world’s largest cruise ship when introduced in 1996 – rather than the Carnival Conquest and Glory (both 110,000 gross-tons). These unique features to be found onboard the ship-to-be Carnival Sunshine are described by Carnival as follows:
Havana Bar, which by day serves as a casual gathering spot for relaxing with friends and enjoying Cuban coffee and Cuban finger foods such as pastelitos and croquetas, while at night transforms into a Cuban-inspired courtyard with a cool Latin vibe where guests can listen to live music, enjoy classic Cuban cocktails, and dance the night away Located aft within Lido Marketplace, Havana Bar’s interiors pay homage to Cuba’s gloried past with palm trees, elegant archways, and vibrant tile work, along with floor to ceiling windows offering panoramic ocean vistas.
WaterWorks, an all-new water park (seen in the header image above) where the young – and the young at heart – can zip down five different slides and have a splash-tastic time with 40 different interactive water features, including a 300-gallon drenching bucket that will serve as the signature element of the SplashZone kids’ water play area. Here, guests can race to the finish on Carnival’s newest ride, Speedway Splash, with dual side-by-side 235-foot-long slides with racers’ times displayed on a scoreboard and special lighting effects that add to the adventure. When they’re not challenging each other to a race, fun-lovers can check out the enclosed 334-foot-long Twister slide – Carnival’s longest – featuring a crystal clear turn that extends out over the edge of the ship, offering dramatic views with each twist and turn.
A stunning full-service Asian restaurant that will feature delicious favorites from the Far East, enhanced by a serene décor of prayer rolls, wood-beamed ceilings and other design elements. The new restaurant will feature an open kitchen where guests can view highly skilled chefs artfully preparing a tantalizing menu that will offer a variety of Asian specialties, including soups, appetizers, noodle and rice dishes, as well as seafood and meat delicacies (lunch is complimentary; $12 charge for dinner).
Shake Spot, the ideal place to “chill” where guests can enjoy delicious hand-crafted milkshakes while taking a break from all the fun in the sun. In addition to a distinctive island-inspired décor, Shake Spot will offer classic milkshakes and floats, as well as tropical fruit shakes and “adult shakes and floats” made with Grand Marnier, Cointreau and other liqueurs, all available with a variety of fun toppings. There’s even an all-inclusive “Shake Lover’s Package” for those who simply can’t get enough of these unique and nostalgic treats on vacation.
Located adjacent to Shake Spot on Promenade Deck is JavaBlue Café, the place to connect, meet up and savor sweet and frothy cappuccinos, lattes, espressos and other caffeinated favorites, as well as coffees made with liqueurs, along with decadent confections such as extra-large cinnamon buns, giant cupcakes, and huge slices of red velvet cake meant to be shared within the venue’s island-infused atmosphere featuring comfortable seating and breathtaking views of the sea.
For those guests who crave delicious, hand-tossed, artisanal-style pizza anytime of the day or night, there’s Pizzeria del Capitano, an expansion of the line’s popular Cucina del Capitano family-style Italian restaurant. Here, guests can watch as chefs prepare five different kinds of authentic Italian-style, thin-crusted pies, from traditional Margherita and pepperoni to artisan-style quattro formaggio, mushroom, and prosciutto – all free of charge 24 hours a day and made in a traditional pizza oven which serves as the venue’s centerpiece. Whether it’s a casual lunch, a late-night snack or a delicious dinner alternative, Pizzeria del Capitano will definitely hit the spot.
Carnival Fun Ship 2.0 improvements will continue with the Carnival Splendor next and the remaining ships to follow through 2015. For more information about the Carnival Sunshine, head on over to Carnival’s dedicated webpage here. For all other Carnival Cruise Lines info, check out its main website here.
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HEADER IMAGE SOURCE: CARNIVAL CRUISE LINES