Victory to Radiance transformation part of $2bn Carnival fleet renewal

The 'new' Carnival Radiance will emerge in spring 2020 - itinerary details to be announced The 'new' Carnival Radiance will emerge in spring 2020 - itinerary details to be announced

Carnival Cruise Line is going to transform and rename a third Destiny-class ship when Carnival Victory becomes Carnival Radiance in 2020. This $200m refit represents the final phase of what Carnival tallies as a whopping $2bn fleet enhancement—the largest and most extensive in cruising—of more than 20 vessels since 2011.

'This investment in Carnival Radiance and our many other refurbishment projects reflects our continued commitment to providing our guests with fun, high quality vacation experiences across the Carnival fleet regardless of what ship they’re sailing on,' Carnival president Christine Duffy said.

Fleet consistency

“We have been investing in our products, amenities and experience offerings at unprecedented levels which are driving higher results in guest satisfaction, passenger yields and on-board revenue,' Duffy continued. 'Our guests and travel agent partners can count on a high degree of consistency and quality vacation offerings across all our fleet and homeports regardless of what ship they’re sailing on.'

Popular branded food, beverage and entertainment offerings will renew the 2000-built Carnival Victory into Carnival Radiance during a 38-day drydock in Cadiz, Spain, in spring 2020.

This chalks up the third conversion of a Destiny-class ship into what Carnival calls its Sunshine class, following the previously announced makeover of Carnival Triumph into Carnival Sunrise during a scheduled drydock in 2019, and Carnival Destiny into Carnival Sunshine in 2013.

New Carnival Radiance features

The 102,000gt Carnival Victory will be adding specialty restaurants and recently unveiled dining concepts such as Guy’s Pig & Anchor Smokehouse Bar-B-Que in partnership with Food Network star Guy Fieri that's featured on the Dream- and Vista-class ships. Other added dining options include Cucina del Capitano for family-style Italian dishes, Farenheit 555 steak house and the full-service Asian restaurant Bonsai Sushi.

The Lido Marketplace will gain a Seafood Shack, Pizzeria del Capitano for hand-tossed pies free of charge 24/7 and an expanded Swirls venue with free ice cream and frozen yogurt. Elsewhere, JavaBlue Café will provide an expanded version of the line’s popular coffee bars. The Chef's Table will be enclosed in glass in the forward dining room.

A new Limelight Lounge will become home to the Punchliner Comedy Club and convert afterward into a night club. A new multipurpose Liquid Lounge will host daytime and nighttime entertainment including Playlist Productions and 'Hasbro, The Game Show.' Piano Bar 88 will have new decor and themed nights, and a RedFrog Pub will feature the line's ThirstyFrog Red beer.

The ship will add a WaterWorks park with AquaTunnel and Twister slides and a kiddie splash zone, a SportsSquare ropes course, miniature golf course, the adults-only Serenity deck retreat and a Cloud 9 Spa.

Technology improvements fleetwide

Besides refurbishing the Fun Ships to provide more consistency, Carnival is intent on providing a better on-board technology experience.

The Carnival HubApp is now available across all 26 ships and running ahead of projections with regard to customer adoption. Since its introduction in January 2015, it has generated more than 4.5m downloads from Apple’s App Store and Google Play, earning a 4.6+ rating. Recent data shows nearly two-thirds of all staterooms had at least one person who downloaded the app, and more than half of all passengers interacted with the HubApp at least once during their cruise.

Double-digit spike in on-board revenue

More than 20% of specialty dining and shore excursion purchases are placed using the HubApp, contributing to the double-digit lift in on-board revenue since the HubApp was introduced. Over the summer on its two new Vista-class vessels, 40% of cruisers purchased the HubApp’s on-board chat feature and the HubApp is also driving Internet revenue, with penetration now averaging more than 50% of all passengers across the fleet.

The enhanced next-generation connectivity system has proven extremely successful on Carnival Horizon and Carnival Vista, enabling fast and reliable Wi-Fi at sea. Further deployment of this technology on Carnival Radiance will provide even more travelers with superior connectivity and even streaming.

Plus, 'pizza anywhere' delivery

Carnival is now piloting a 'pizza anywhere' delivery capability on select vessels with the eventual goal of enabling passengers to order food and beverages directly from the HubApp for delivery to their location on board. Along with the added HubApp benefits, Carnival is investing in an enhanced Wi-Fi infrastructure to bring more robust service across the Carnival fleet by 2021.

Since the fleet enhancement program was launched in 2011, Carnival has taken delivery of three new ships (and has three more scheduled for delivery through 2022). Annual passenger count has grown from 4.1m to 5.2m and lower berth count from 58,000 to 70,000. Also during that time, the number of children under 18 carried has risen from 650,000 to 800,000 annually, the employee base has grown from 34,000 to 40,000 and sailings have gone from 1,400 to 1,700 per year.

Radiance sales to open mid-November

Carnival Victory will undergo its docking from March 18 to April 26, 2020. Itineraries for the newly named Carnival Radiance will be announced in mid-November, when cruises open for sale.

Travelers who want to get a head start can register for a 'first to know' alert and special promotional offer.

Posted 16 October 2018

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Anne Kalosh

US editor of Seatrade Cruise Review and Seatrade Cruise News

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