Transportation is not the prime purpose, as cruise ships operate mostly on routes that return passengers to their port of origin. The experience, the getaway from the everyday out in the ocean and the relaxing effect of being outdoors and having just the water nearby are the main reasons for people to go for this outstanding experience. But the main attraction stays the cruise itself. The experiences that travelers can make bring the real joy.

Carnival Destiny to Carnival Sunshine

The transformation of the Carnival Destiny into the Carnival Sunshine included the update of their older tonnage to match the amenities available on their latest ships. Economic elements were also updated. In most cases, a typical cruise refit focuses more on “soft” features – for example, restaurant concepts are updated and spa and fitness facilities receive attention. Bars and entertainment areas together with cabins are frequently upgraded as well. All this was done on what was to become the Carnival Sunshine. In addition to these soft enhancements, however, the ship underwent significant structural changes.

The gross tonnage exceeded the one of the first Queen Elizabeth

The Carnival Destiny was built in Italy and delivered in 1996; at 101,353 gross tons, it was by far the largest cruise liner in service at the time. It was also the first post-Panamax size vessel and also the first passenger ship whose gross tonnage exceeded that of the biggest ship of the liner era – the first Queen Elizabeth at 83,673 grt.

Major structural and layout changes

The ship spent 49 days at a Fincantieri yard in Italy before re-entering service in April 2013 on 9- and 12-night Mediterranean cruises. The refit incorporated the Fun Ship 2.0 features that distinguish Carnival’s newest ships. The numerous alterations included the addition of a large sun deck forward on deck 14. The ship also received a total of 168 additional cabins, some of which were built forward on deck 12, where they replaced an outdoor area with a Jacuzzi and mini golf.

Fitness and gym complex

Further cabins were added in a forward area of the deck below that was previously occupied by the fitness center. A pool was fitted in the outdoor area just aft of the cabins here. The cabins and suites on these two decks plus the ones forward on deck 10 were given the new designation Cloud 9 Spa. This features a large fitness area and gym complex that has been fitted forward on deck 10, which was previously occupied by cabins.

More comfort for an exclusive experience

Aft on deck 9, a sun deck and pool made way for an expanded lido buffet. Cabin decks 8, 7 and 6 were retained in their existing form in structural terms, although the cabins themselves were refurbished. On deck 5 aft, a secondary lounge and two other small public rooms were removed and replaced with cabins, some of which have balconies overlooking the stern. Amidships on this deck, the traffic flow was altered by replacing a passageway on the starboard side by an almost S-shaped corridor linking up to the atrium.

Smaller entertainment areas

Perhaps the biggest structural change embraced the forward section of decks 5, 4 and 3. Previously occupied by a large theater running through these three decks, the area on decks 5 and 4 were taken over by smaller entertainment areas that are just one deck in height. The area on deck 3 was given up for additional cabins.

Effectively a new ship

The transformation of the Carnival Destiny to the Carnival Sunshine effectively made it a new ship offering a new guest experience. In addition to the structural changes and new public areas, passenger accommodation was refurbished as well. A crisp white-and-blue based color scheme as adopted instead of the previous warm yellows and browns.

Restaurant and bar areas

New venues onboard include a food marketplace instead of a conventional lido buffet, a new steakhouse called Fahrenheit 555 and a casual restaurant concept dubbed The Comfort Kitchen. On the bars front, the Havana Bar in the marketplace are now in transition throughout the day. It serves Cuban sandwiches at lunchtime and then converts into a live Latin music venue after sundown, also serving late night snacks. The adults-only Serenity bar offers a range of made-to-order shakes and salads.

Fun ship 2.0

Partner Ship Design, the Hamburg-based interior designers, was in charge of the entire project. They were lead designers of the Carnival Breeze and designed many of the open deck spaces on the Carnival Magic before being chosen by Carnival for this project. The transformation of the Carnival Destiny to the Carnival Sunshine, a name that had been contemplated in-house for quite some time, is part of the program called Fun Ship 2.0, a comprehensive series of upgrades to the fleet carried out over a period of five years.

More passengers, better guest experience

When it emerged from the shipyard, the Carnival Sunshine was not only a newer ship, but a better one for guests and crew alike. “That from the beginning is about protecting, not about enhancing and improving the guest experience. So even though there will be some additional passengers, we look at the ways they use the ship, its spaces. Guest capacity is increasing by 14%. When we worked on the gym space, treadmills and ellipticals, they were increased by 58% over the current Destiny. We went through bar seats, square footage per kid, number of decks,” says Mark Tamis, Senior Vice President of Carnival Cruise Lines.

Interaction between the crew and the guests

A key element of the Fun Ship 2.0 initiative is creating greater interaction between guests and crew. “A huge part of my passion is for the guest experience, but also the crew experience – ultimately they are the ones who deliver the guest experience. We’ve seen that success on Carnival Liberty. Not only do the guests love the new experience, but the crews love working onboard too. Carnival Liberty was the first ship where we did Fun 2.0: Guy’s Burger Joint, new deck parties – not just creating a space where guests can get a drink, but a stage for them to have an emotional connection with the crew,” Tamis concludes. And you? After looking behind the scenes…have you become curious for a cruise trip? Go ahead, the next travel agency is just around the corner.

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