Making Carnival Sunshine

| Monday, 08 Apr. 2013

Remaking Destiny into Sunshine could cost close to $200-million

"With 1000 crewmembers, 2000 contractors and incredible senior management from the Fincantieri ship yard workers. I can feel something truly special is about to happen here," says John Heald, senior cruise director and "brand ambassador" for Carnival Cruise Line on the just released fifth video about the Carnival Sunshine makeover. Just one month into the process, there are already five videos about the project online at the site below (you will see them pop up when the video finishes playing:

Are you watching the Carnival Sunshine makeover? Tell us here: Cruise Forum

This video highlights the thousands of crewmembers and workers on the project, which Carnival has living in another cruise ship docked just about 300 yards away from Carnival Sunshine (ironically, it appears to be a former Royal Caribbean ship). Since each day Sunshine is out of service means a great deal of money to Carnival, there is always some sort of construction happening every waking hour - 24 hours a day in many cases.

"This is not the kind of job where you go 9 to 5 and just walk away at the end of the day, everybody here lives, eats and breathes together, so we all have to be good friends, or it just wouldn't work out," says one of the Italian Fincantieri workers, "we are all literally in the same boat."

For those who do not already know, in this massive "most complex ship refurbishment ever" Carnival has taken its first post 100,000-ton ship, the Carnival Destiny built in 1996, and is remaking into a ship so radically different they decided to give it a new name, Carnival Sunshine. The makeover project will last until June, 2013. It was originally planned to end in April, but after the Triumph mishap the line decided to also add extra time working on the engine and power grid of the ship.

One of the many projects currently underway here is the complete renovation of the existing staterooms, plus the addition of 168 more. In this case, each new stateroom is actually being built off-site as an independent "box" ready to be slipped into place. This sort of construction makes it easier to build each stateroom to spec, and also allows greater quality control and in the end makes for a more solid and acoustically quiet stateroom, due to the "room in a room" approach. This is actually the way all new staterooms are built into any cruise ship.

As each stateroom is completed off the ship, it is wrapped in plastic and moved in one piece to the ship where a crane lifts it into place. Off course, it has all of the fixtures; closets, cabinets, plumbing, showers, sink, etc. already installed, but no furniture. There is a roll of carpet ready to be laid inside, which will be followed by moving in all the furniture.

Carnival Sunshine will have 168 brand new staterooms, mostly forward on the top decks 11, 12 and 14. The video shows that these top-deck staterooms are being built off-site as one huge piece two decks tall and several yards long, which will eventually be lifted by crane and welded to the top-forward part of the ship.

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, which will all be moved to new locations.

To further 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 be added to the aft sections, descending down from deck 14 through decks 12 and 11 (there is no deck 13). Decks 12 and 11 will both have dozens of brand new staterooms built forward of the new Serenity area - an ideal placement for cruisers with no children.

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 also become new staterooms. The entire Criterion Lounge, aft on deck five, and the former 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 like on the newer Funship 2.0 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.

Are you watching the Carnival Sunshine makeover? Tell us here: Cruise Forum

The cost of this transformation is likely to reach $200,000 and will also include refurbishing the rest of all the staterooms, changing the color scheme from yellow and brown to white and blue. Refurbishment is done in a similar methodology - everything each new stateroom needs is packed into a sealed crate which is then delivered to each stateroom. Inside the workers open the crate and take out the new components to replace the older ones.

Still up the air is the fate of Destiny's sister ships; Carnival Triumph and Victory. The recent Triumph system failure has already taken it out of service for awhile, but it is in Mobile Alabama. While it would have been ideal to have been able to complete the similar upgrades planned for Triumph at this time, having two ships out of service simultaneously is a problem, plus Triumph needs to be able to get back to Italy for the upgrade, to this same original Fincantieri shipyard where the vessels were built.

So Triumph will not be getting the similar upgrades that Destiny is getting to make it Carnival Sunshine. However, Carnival Sunshine is also getting the engine and electrical system upgrades that Triumph is currently receiving in Alabama.

Are you watching the Carnival Sunshine makeover? Tell us here: Cruise Forum

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