Posted on: March 7 2012Carnival to refit and, for the first time, rename a ship...
March 7, 2012
Jacquetta White, Times Picayune
The Carnival Destiny will be renamed the Carnival Sunshine and will replace the Carnival Conquest in New Orleans in November 2013 following a $155 million renovation, Carnival Cruise Lines announced Tuesday morning. The 2,642-passenger Carnival Destiny is now based in Miami and travels to the Caribbean and Bahamas.
Carnival Cruise Lines Rendering of the Carnival Sunshine, which will replace the Carnival Conquest at the Port of New Orleans in November 2013.
When it arrives in New Orleans as the Carnival Sunshine, it will be a larger ship, able to carry 3,006 passengers, slightly exceeding the 2,974-passenger capacity of the Carnival Conquest.
Carnival has not said what will become of the Conquest, which sails year-round from the Port of New Orleans. The Carnival Destiny will be replaced in Miami by the Carnival Victory, which had sailed from San Juan, Puerto Rico. The Florida city also is getting the newly constructed Carnival Breeze.
The Miami cruise company called the planned redesign and renaming of the Destiny its "most ambitious refit and transformation project ever."
The redesign calls for a reconfigured layout, the expansion of two decks and the addition of 182 cabins, among other things, during a 49-day dry dock that will take place from February through April 2013.
An executive from the company said Carnival decided to position the refurbished ship in New Orleans in part because the city is one of its most popular destinations and is within an easy drive or flight to major cities.
"New Orleans is a great port for us, so we really wanted to bring a ship with all these features to New Orleans, " said Ruben Rodriguez, Carnival's executive vice president of ship operations. "It's just a wonderful city for us. It's a friendly, welcoming port not only for our guests but for our crew."
The Carnival Destiny is the seventh-oldest ship in Carnival's 23-vessel fleet. Although the ship was already scheduled for routine maintenance and repair, Rodriguez said the addition of features like a cigar bar and a three-deck adults-only retreat falls far outside what the cruise line typically does during repair periods.
"It was its time, " Rodriguez said. "But we decided to make a much more significant investment this time to add a lot of features that have emerged as very popular."
This is the first time Carnival has decided to change a vessel's name along with renovating it, Rodriguez said.
"The reason that we did it is because the ship is completely transformed, " Rodriguez said. "There is a dramatic increase in the number of features. We thought it was appropriate to rename the ship."
Rodriguez said Carnival hopes the name change, added features and a new sailing path will attract both past Carnival customers and new ones.
After the redesign, the Sunshine will sail the Mediterranean Sea from Barcelona and Venice through October 2013 before landing in New Orleans for the launch of a year-round, seven-day Caribbean sailing schedule in November 2013.
The Carnival Sunshine will operate three different weeklong itineraries from the Crescent City. One will be a Bahamas-Florida route to Key West, Freeport and Nassau, and the Bahamas. The other two itineraries will be Caribbean routes: one to Belize City, Belize, and Mahogany Bay, Isla Roatan and Cozumel, Mexico; and another to Montego Bay, Jamaica; George Town, Grand Cayman; and Cozumel.