It’s not easy being an older cruise ship these days. In the ever present world of new ship launches with names like Allure, Silhouette, Favolosa, Reflection, an old ship, well, doesn’t come across as that appealing. In 1996, Carnival Destiny began life as the world’s largest passenger ship and thus began the launch of all the mega ships to follow. Now at 16-years of age Destiny is deemed middle-aged, but she’s not quite past her prime as Carnival is about to invest $155 million in a new European shipyard makeover and give her a ‘perky’ new moniker.

Meet the Carnival Sunshine, not to be confused with Royal Caribbean’s new class of ships, “Project Sunshine”. Carnival Sunshine will get the full Carnival Funship 2.0 treatment and a lot more. The redesign calls for a reconfigured layout, the expansion of two decks and the addition of 182 cabins, among other things, during a 49-day dry dock to take place from February through April 2013. “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,” Carnival President and CEO Gerry Cahill said in statement.

destiny2

So what’s new:
• Fahrenheit 555, a classic American steakhouse offering mouth-watering steaks and gourmet appetizers, entrees and desserts, all enhanced by understated ambiance and impeccable service (venue will carry a surcharge consistent with other steakhouses in the Carnival fleet)
• A stunning new full-service Asian restaurant inspired by the line’s popular Mongolian wok casual eateries that will feature an extensive menu of delicious favorites from the Far East, along with a striking Asian-themed décor (no charge for lunch with a nominal fee for dinner)
• A new casual dining option, “The Comfort Kitchen,” located within the Lido Marketplace and offering a tempting array of American-style “comfort food” entrees and side dishes
• 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
• An exciting new lounge, Havana Bar, a tropical-inspired nightspot located aft within Lido Marketplace featuring a panoramic ocean view from its floor to ceiling windows and offering a unique and memorable venue for cocktails, live Latin music and dancing
• Carnival’s first three-deck-high Serenity adults-only retreat, an oasis of tranquility offering plush chaise lounges and chairs, a whirlpool, a cascading waterfall, teak-planked decks, a pool, a complimentary dining area with freshly made salads that can be customized by guests, and, of course, magnificent sea views

Of course Sunshine will offer all the other popular Fun Ship 2.0 upgrades including: Guy’s Burger Joint, RedFrog Pub, WaterWorks, SportsSquare, Cloud 9 Spa, Punchliner Comedy Club, to name a few. Additionally, the staterooms are to be revamped with a new tropical décor in keeping with Caribbean itineraries, and 96 of the new staterooms will be spa cabins.

Following the redesign the Sunshine will sail the Mediterranean Sea from Barcelona and Venice through October 2013 before landing in New Orleans for the launch of a year-round seven-day Caribbean sailing schedule in November 2013. The Carnival Sunshine will operate three different week-long itineraries from New Orleans: a Bahamas/Florida route to Key West, and Freeport and Nassau, Bahamas and two Caribbean routes, one to Belize City, Belize, Mahogany Bay, Isla Roatan and Cozumel, Mexico and another to Montego Bay, Jamaica; George Town, Grand Cayman and Cozumel.

By Anita Dunham-Potter (editor@www.expertcruiser.com)

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