By WALLACE IMMEN
You think renovating a home is expensive? By the time Carnival Cruise Lines finishes upgrading its fleet, the bill will come to a whopping $500 million.
Of course, they’re getting a lot in return. Every deck, seems to sport a new place to meet and eat or drink and more ways to get active or chill out.
Over the next week I’ll be on board Carnival Liberty, the first of 16 ships to get the “Fun Ship 2.0” enhancements, some of which were introduced on Carnival Dream and will be on the new Carnival Breeze. In the months to come, others will go into dry dock to get the new look too.
Liberty has always been an innovative ship. When it was launched in 2005 it was the first of Carnival’s ships to feature the stadium-sized LED theatre screens on the pool deck that have become signature features of other Carnival ships since. Now, it’s the first ship to include another media feature that’s bound to be repeated: the first-ever EA SPORTS Bar at sea. It’s built in collaboration with a video games maker with an array of multi-media screens that let you dial into anything going on around the world in sports in real time and also let you play games on X-Box 360s.
Other additions are restaurants and entertainment choices that were previously only available on Carnival’s biggest new ships:
- Guy’s Burger Joint, a new casual comfort food bar developed in partnership with Food Network road show host and cookbook author Guy Fieri, that features hand-crafted burgers cooked on a sizzlingly hot grill.
- RedFrog Rum Bar, a poolside version of the line’s RedFrog Pub that debuted on Carnival Magic and features Carnival’s own beer.
- BlueIguana Tequila Bar, featuring a Mexican-themed atmosphere and a menu of tequila-based frozen drinks and beers.
- BlueIguana Cantina, a casual eatery with the feel of a Mexican beachside eatery serving tacos and burritos.
- Alchemy Bar, a vintage-themed cocktail “pharmacy” that mixes up imaginative cocktails. The nightclubs have also been updated, with DJs trained by DJ IRIE, Carnival’s official DJ who created DJ IRIE’s Spin’iversity, the first DJ academy at sea.
Our cruise will start in Miami with days in Cozumel, Mexico, Belize, the Honduran island of Roatan and Grand Cayman in the Cayman Islands. And there’s plenty of time on board to check out the fun. I’m at liberty to say it’s going to be an exciting week. I hope you’ll join me.