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Carnival Destiny set for $155m refit, renaming

Carnival Sunshine's three-deck Serenity area
Carnival Cruise Lines will undertake its most ambitious refit project when the 1996-built Carnival Destiny undergoes a $155m transformation next year that will incorporate all of the Fun Ship 2.0 dining, bar and entertainment elements plus changes unique to the vessel. After the 49-day drydock at Fincantieri is completed, the ship will be renamed Carnival Sunshine. The work is scheduled from February to April.

Seatrade Insider understands the project is the first in what will be a major, multi-ship initiative for Carnival which has been in the planning for some time, according to sources in Europe and close to the company.

This first refit will include a reconfigured layout, the addition of a partial deck and the expansion of two other decks within the forward section of the ship, providing the opportunity to incorporate a number of new spaces. The vessel will gain 182 accommodations, including 96 spa staterooms.

Following the drydock, Carnival Sunshine will embark on nine- and 12-day Mediterranean voyages from Barcelona and Venice from April to October 2013 then launch year-round seven-day Caribbean departures from New Orleans beginning November 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,’ according to Carnival president and ceo Gerry Cahill.

Carnival Sunshine will emerge with a classic American steak house, Fahrenheit 555, that will carry a surcharge consistent with other steak houses in the Carnival fleet. It will gain a full-service Asian restaurant, inspired by the line’s Mongolian wok casual eateries, but with an extensive menu (no charge for lunch with a nominal fee for dinner).

The ship will also have a Guy’s Burger Joint and Blue Iguana Cantina, both poolside and free of charge (like those on board Carnival Liberty), and Cucina del Capitano (Captain’s Kitchen), a family-style Italian spot that debuted on the new Carnival Magic last year (the casual lunch-time pasta bar is free; there’s a nominal charge for dinner).

Carnival Sunshine’s casual poolside eatery, Lido Marketplace, will add a new dining option, The Comfort Kitchen, with American-style ‘comfort food.’ A new lounge, Havana Bar, will be a tropical nightspot for cocktails, live Latin music and dancing, located aft within Lido Marketplace.

The two main dining rooms will be completely renovated, and the coffee bar will be newly designed. The ship will gain a RedFrog Pub and, poolside, a RedFrog Rum Bar and a BlueIguana Tequila Bar.

Other Fun Ship 2.0 elements will include an EA SPORTS Bar, a sports and video game lovers’ paradise with a 16-screen video wall, the vintage-themed cocktail ‘pharmacy’ Alchemy Bar and the quiet, cozy Library Bar.

The new Sunshine Bar will be an elegant lounge with sun-splashed interiors located at the lobby level of the atrium where passengers can have a cocktail, dance or listen to music. A new cigar bar concept is planned as well.

On the open decks, Carnival Sunshine will sport the line’s first three-deck-high version of its Serenity adults-only retreat, with an added complimentary dining area offering freshly made salads.

There will be a SportSquare recreation complex with a ropes course, mini-golf, a lighted half court for basketball and volleyball, jogging track, ping pong, pool and foosball tables, and a bar with a large flat-screen. Carnival Sunshine will have a WaterWorks area with slides and other water features and a poolside giant LED screen at the Seaside Theatre.

Still more elements will be Playlist Productions, combining live performances and special effects to create music revues produced by  top directors and choreographers, and Hasbro, The Game Show, to be presented in the remodeled main show lounge. Piano Bar 88, a new twist on Carnival’s popular piano bar, will add theme nights and new décor. The Punchliner Comedy Club Presented by George Lopez will be on board, too.

And The Punchliner Comedy Brunch is planned for those who want a little merriment in the morning.

All staterooms will be fully revamped with a new tropical décor that combines bright colors and pastels. The 182 new staterooms will span a range of categories, from interior to balconies, including the 96 new spa staterooms.

In addition, there will be newly designed Camp Carnival areas for three age groups, the FunHub with flat-panel stations for web surfing, the transformation of the spa into a Cloud 9 Spa, and the addition of Cherry On Top, a shop selling bulk candy, gifts and novelties.