Carnival Sunshine Redefines Destiny

| 07.30.12

The Carnival Destiny makeover into Carnival Sunshine incorporates elements of "FunShip 2.0."

Carnival Cruise Line is currently upgrading most of its fleet with new onboard activities and décor. One of the ships receiving the most elaborate facelift is the iconic Carnival Destiny, introduced in 1996 as the first cruise ship to break the 100,000-ton barrier - at the time the largest cruise ship in the world (although that title only lasted a few months). When Destiny first arrived she was a very popular ship with an especially eclectic interior design by Joe Farcus, but over the years many people have to come to regard the ship as outdated.

Personally, I am not one of those people. I think she is one of the most classic Farcus-design Carnival ships ever built; and one that should never be changed purely for sentimental reasons. She was the first of what would become a completely new paradigm of post 100,000-ton mega-ships for Carnival, and her interior features the first Carnival piano bar with microphones at every table and an uber-cool jazz bar where the tables and chairs are shaped like trumpets, trombones and saxophones. It also had the first dance nightclub with banks of video screens spread floor to ceiling and wall to wall.

However, Carnival will be performing a major $155-million upgrade to Destiny in early 2013 that the company considers to be so drastic that it merits renaming the ship to Carnival Sunshine. The upgrade will take place over 49 days in early 2013 at the Fincantieri shipyard in Italy, the same shipyard as she was built.

Of course, the main reason for this comprehensive upgrade is economic. Carnival is now in the process of upgrading all of its ships with elements of a new onboard program designed to improve the cruise line's bottom line, as well as enhance the consumer experience. The name of this fleet-wide upgrade initiative is "FunShip 2.0," and it includes new dining and drinking venues as well as entertainment offerings like "family game night" that the company claims will make the Carnival cruise experience more interactive and memorable.

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168 Additional Staterooms

This $155-million transformation will also include refurbishing all of the staterooms, changing the color scheme from yellow and brown to white and blue. Of course, adding more cabins to the ship will also make the ship more profitable, and all together Sunshine will have 168 new cabins added during the upgrade, making a total of 3006 lower berths. All together, the ship will likely be able to accommodate about 4000 passengers per cruise.

Where will all of the new cabins go? In some cases they are being added to open space on the ship, mostly forward on the top decks 11, 12 and 14. But many new cabins will also be placed on deck 10 in the space now partially occupied by the Salon, the sauna and steam rooms and the fitness center (which will be made smaller). 35 new staterooms will be built in the space now occupied by the miniature golf course and the current location of the Camp Carnival youth centers; including the Circle C and Club 02.

The current three-deck tall Palladium Theater on decks three, four and five will be replaced with a two deck-tall theater with the stage moved up to deck four. The space on deck three below the theater will become new staterooms. The entire Criterion Lounge, aft on deck five, and the aforementioned Downbeat Jazz Bar and the Piano Bar will all be taken out and replaced with staterooms. The nearby space currently occupied with the Disco will be taken out and replaced with an "Alchemy Bar" and a coffee bar as on newer Carnival ships. The new cabins to be placed aft of this bar on deck five will be very close to dance floor of the Alchemy Bar, while the new staterooms on deck three will be forward of the much quieter shore excursion and guest services counters - however, they will be directly below the main showroom theater.

To restore some of the lost outdoor space a massive, new, three-story tall adults-only Serenity Area with a new pool and hot tub will descend down from deck 14 through decks 12 and 11 (there is no deck 13). Decks 12 and 11 will both have dozens of new staterooms built forward of the new Serenity area - an ideal placement for cruisers with no children.

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New Eateries

The Sun and Sea Lido Restaurant area will transform from the old-school duplicative buffet lines to a new style "Food Marketplace" with several stations to get different varieties of food. To accommodate more people they will take out the aft sun deck and pool on deck nine and fill the space in with restaurant seating.

Having dedicated food stations makes food processing and service to the guests far more efficient. There will be a new "Fahrenheit 555" steakhouse added ($35 cover charge) and a new restaurant called the Comfort Kitchen serving family style casual food.

The Design Team

The same lead designers on the brand new Carnival Breeze project will be in charge of the Carnival Sunshine project, Partner Ship Design of Hamburg, Germany.

Still up the air is the fate of Destiny's sister ships; Carnival Triumph and Valor. In my opinion, Destiny was the most attractive of these three ships and Valor, with its neon-green "Turkish Eye" design theme, should have received the first makeover.

What do yo think of Carnival Destiny becoming Carnival Sunshine? Tell us in our Forums.

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