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Cahill: Carnival Sunshine adds options, consistency, revenue potential

Cahill - People today want new concepts, fresh ideas and many options
Carnival Destiny’s $155m transformation is another piece of the $500m Fun Ship 2.0 initiative to provide more exciting options that appeal to a wider range of consumers, while also making a more consistent fleet and boosting revenue potential, Gerry Cahill told Seatrade Insider.

‘We’ve never done anything of this size before,’ the Carnival Cruise Lines president and ceo said of the 49-day drydock set for early 2013 at Fincantieri—the specific yard to be advised in coming weeks.

‘When we’re done, every single space will have been redone. The flow and many public areas are completely new,’ he said. Because of the dramatic changes, it was decided to give the vessel a new name: Carnival Sunshine.

Following the ‘Evolutions of Fun’ initiative that updated the Fantasy-class ships of the 1990s, it’s now time for the Destiny series, that began with Carnival Destiny as cruising’s first post-Panamax ship in 1996, to come due for major overhauls.

But the refurbishments, and their scope, will vary. The 2005-built Carnival Liberty was the first to get a number of the Fun Ship 2.0 changes during its drydock at Grand Bahama Shipyard last year, while the 2003-built Carnival Glory and the 2002-built Carnival Conquest are scheduled for additions this year. All these are two-week drydocks.

Carnival Destiny is a far more extensive project, which gives the chance to introduce spaces and features beyond Fun Ship 2.0 while also raising the revenue potential of the vessel by adding 182 cabins, with 96 of those premium-commanding spa cabins. Lower berth count will go from 2,624 to 3,006.

And there will be various new revenue outlets in the form of bars (RedFrog Pub, RedFrog Rum Bar, BlueIguana Tequila Bar, Havana Bar, etc.), retail (Cherry on Top) and (dinner) cover-charge dining (Fahrenheit 555 steak house, Cucina del Capitano, a full-service Asian restaurant).

Among the hooks for a wider range of demographics are WaterWorks and SportsSquare for families and active types, the vastly enlarged Serenity deck space for adults without kids, The Library Bar for people seeking a quiet retreat and so forth.

Cahill described major construction for Carnival Sunshine.

A Deck 14 is being added. This spot, behind the forward mast, will form the top level of Carnival’s first triple-deck Serenity adults retreat. Decks 11 and 12 will be expanded, and a new water feature will be a focal point. Perhaps the major change, though, is Deck 9, where Guy’s Burger Joint, the RedFrog Rum Bar, BlueIguana Cantina and BlueIguana Tequila Bar are going up around the midships pool but, moreover, the casual Lido buffet aft of that will be reinvented into a marketplace.

‘It will be very different than any other Lido we have today,’ Cahill said. New eateries Cucina del Capitano, The Comfort Kitchen and a full-service Asian restaurant will go here, while the aft pool will be replaced with the new Havana Bar nightspot within the Lido Marketplace.

Giving more choices to take some pressure off the Lido crowds at midday while also turning the area into a nighttime destination are among the objectives of these changes.

There will be major modifications of Decks 4 and 5, the promenade and main public room decks. Deck 5, for example, will gain the EA Sports Bar, Cherry on Top and the Alchemy Bar. Carnival Sunshine will also have an Ocean Plaza café/entertainment venue.

Explaining the bold changes, Cahill said ‘Consumers today are very demanding. They want new concepts, fresh ideas and many options.’ He added that Carnival aims to develop spaces with ‘unique personalities.’ These changes began with Carnival Magic and will be accelerated with this year’s Carnival Breeze, the line’s 24th ship.

The Carnival Sunshine project is under Rubén Rodríguez, evp ship operations for the Carnival brand. Peter Fetten, svp corporate ship refit, is assisting with a drydock of this scale, Cahill said.

(Deck plans are at