It's one of the most dramatic refurbishments in contemporary cruising: Carnival Destiny will undergo a $155 million transformation culminating with a name change. After its release from a 50-plus-day dry-dock, from February to May 2013, Destiny will become Carnival Sunshine.
The 101,353-ton, 2,642-passenger Carnival Destiny entered service in 1996. When it launched, it was the largest passenger ship ever built.
The changes, many of which reflect the line's $500 million "Fun Ship 2.0" initiative, encompass nearly every nook and cranny of the vessel. There's going to be a reconfigured layout, the addition of a partial deck and the expansion of two other decks within the ship's forward section. These will make room for three categories of additions: venues that have been popular on the line's newer vessels, venues that are new to Carnival altogether and 182 new cabins. The upgrades include:
Food. Restaurant additions range from ultra-casual to more upscale. Guy's Burger Joint, a surcharge-free poolside venue developed in partnership with Food Network personality Guy Fieri, will serve burgers and fries. BlueIguana Cantina is a complimentary poolside Mexican eatery serving burritos and tacos on ship-made tortillas that can be personalized with a variety of salsas and toppings. The fee-extra Fahrenheit 555 will be a classic American steakhouse in the same vein as the signature 'carnivoriums' found on many other Carnival ships.
Shake Spot will serve milkshakes and floats, as well as tropical fruit shakes and "adult" made with Grand Marnier, Cointreau and other liqueurs. All are available with a variety of fun toppings. There's even an all-inclusive "Shake Lover's Package."
Other new-to-Destiny eateries include the Italian Cucina del Capitano, which debuted on Carnival Magic (during the day, the venue will serve as a free casual lunchtime pasta bar with a nominal charge for dinner); the 24-hour Pizzeria del Capitano, an expansion of Cucina del Capitano Italian restaurant that will serve five different thin-crust pies (fee-free); a full-service Asian restaurant (no charge for lunch, $12 per person for dinner) in the style of Carnival's Mongolian Wok, a more casual venue found in many of its buffets; and a new approach to the Lido Marketplace, with the addition of the fee-free Comfort Kitchen station for American comfort food. Also new: a newly designed, and vastly expanded, coffee bar.
The main dining rooms will also get an extensive overhaul from menu to décor, but don't worry: The decadent chocolate lava cake, Carnival's signature dessert, will stay on the menu.
Cabins. All cabins will be redecorated with a tropical décor that will reflect Carnival Sunshine's Caribbean itineraries. The line will also add 182 new cabins in a range of styles, from spa cabins to interiors to balconies. The new accommodations will increase the ship's double occupancy to 3,006.
Sun deck. On the pool deck, the marquee revamp is the addition of Carnival's first three-deck Serenity space, an adults-only retreat. The space, pictured left, will feature a cascading waterfall. Other highlights include SportSquare, a top-deck recreation complex that debuted on Magic; it'll offer a ropes course, mini-golf, a lighted half court for basketball and volleyball, jogging track, ping pong and pool and foosball tables. WaterWorks -- dubbed a "splash-tastic" attraction by Carnival -- will feature the line's iconic "Twister" water slides, a three-hundred gallon "drenching bucket," a Splash Zone kids' water play area and a new thrill slide.
Bars. A huge hit when it debuted on Carnival Magic, the RedFrog Pub (which serves Carnival's own ThirstyFrog Red private label draught brew) will make an appearance on Carnival Sunshine, as will the RedFrog Rum Bar, located poolside. The BlueIguana Tequila Bar, which debuted on Carnival Liberty, the first ship to earn a Fun Ship 2.0 overhaul, will be found here as well; expect tequila-based cocktails and beers. Then there's also the EA SPORTS Bar for video games and live sports events (including a real-time 24/7 sports ticker and a 16-screen video wall); the Alchemy Bar, a vintage-themed cocktail lounge; and the Cuban-inspired Havana Bar, a dual-purpose spot that will serve Cuban coffee and Cuban finger foods such as pastelitos and croquetas during the day, and cocktails and Latin music by night.
Kids stuff. Camp Carnival will feature newly-designed play areas catering to kids in three age groups, part of the line's top-rated children's programs -½ Camp Carnival (ages 2-11), Circle "C" (12-14) and Club O2 (15-17).
Itineraries. When Carnival Destiny -- whoops Carnival Sunshine -- emerges from its dry-dock in April 2013 at Italy's Fincantieri shipyard, it will sail a series of nine- and 12-day Mediterranean voyages from Barcelona and Venice until the following October. After an Atlantic crossing, the ship, now Miami-based, will head to its new homeport in New Orleans. This means that Carnival Conquest, which currently is based in the Big Easy, will get a new assignment (to be determined). Sunshine's ex-Nola cruises begin in November 2013.
Interestingly, the ship will offer three different seven-nighters from its New Orleans homeport. Offerings are 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.
|Expert reviews are provided by CruiseCritic.com, an award-winning cruise community. This objective information can help you choose just the right ship for your next cruise vacation.|