Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Carnival Cruise Lines Spares No Expense On "Fun Ship 2.0" Features

Anticipation has been building for weeks, with booked passengers wondering what they will find aboard Carnival Liberty when she emerges from her scheduled drydock later this month. And now we know that she will be the first ship in the Carnival fleet to feature many of the new dining and bar venues announced yesterday at the unveiling of Fun Ship 2.0.

A program that promises to dramatically transform Carnival's memorable on-board vacation experience, the multi-year, $500-million Fun Ship 2.0 initiative will offer new dining choices, more exciting bars and lounges, and captivating entertainment options through innovative partnerships and new branded spaces. In the first phase alone, which extends through the end of 2015, Carnival will invest more than $500 million across its fleet.

As a centerpiece of Fun Ship 2.0, Carnival announced partnerships with entertainer George Lopez, who will become Carnival's creative director for comedy and enhance its fleetwide comedy clubs; Food Network star Guy Fieri, who will develop a burger venue called Guy's Burger Joint; leading video game manufacturer EA SPORTS to create the first-ever EA SPORTS Bar at sea; and Hasbro for new larger-than-life game shows featuring iconic games and brands. The company also worked with leading production talent to create a high-energy musical showcase and announced that celebrity song master DJ IRIE was named Official DJ of Carnival Cruise Lines. Plus, Carnival announced more of its unique branded spaces with the RedFrog Rum Bar, BlueIguana Tequila Bar, and three other fun themed bars and lounges, as well as a new complimentary BlueIguana Cantina casual dining option.

"Fun Ship 2.0 is the largest and most ambitious initiative that our company has ever undertaken and it will serve to significantly transform the Carnival vacation experience for our guests," said Gerry Cahill, president and CEO of Carnival Cruise Lines.

Fun Names and Brands You Know
Through its partnership with comedian and TV personality George Lopez, Carnival will bring even more laughs to The Punchliner Comedy Club Presented by George Lopez. As Carnival's "curator of comedy," Lopez will act as a consultant on the vetting and hiring of comedic talent in one of the line's most popular nighttime entertainment options. Pre-recorded voice and video messages from Lopez will welcome guests and club patrons, and a new Punchliner Comedy Brunch will keep diners laughing with live comedic entertainment in the line's main dining rooms. Over the next year, the revamped clubs will roll out fleetwide, creating laughter during multiple shows each voyage.

At Guy's Burger Joint, successful restaurateur, cookbook author, and television personality Guy Fieri teams up with Carnival to cook up the best burgers at sea, and best of all, they're free! Choices include fresh-off-the-grill burgers designed by Fieri, or build-your-own at a condiment bar. For lunch, a snack, or dinner, guests can drop by this laid-back poolside dining venue modeled after a road-side burger joint off an iconic coastal highway. And, yes, you can get fries with that.

Under license from Hasbro, Inc, Carnival will create Hasbro, The Game Show, a new series of larger-than-life productions and entertainment activities based on the popular Family Game Night television show from The Hub. Six main games are to be featured.

Cheers! For Fun New Grown-up Spaces
Kids have their clubs and Carnival's new themed bars and lounges offer adults new destinations in distinctive environments with signature drink menus. The bars will encourage guests to try interesting drink concoctions formulated by their expert mixologists.

Carnival has partnered with EA SPORTS, the leading sports videogame brand in the world, on an exciting new sports bar concept. Designed to be the ultimate hangout for sports fanatics, guests can play their favorite EA SPORTS videogames, watch live sports on a massive video wall comprised of 16 different 46-inch big-screen displays, and keep up with real-time sports scores 24/7 live on the ticker.In addition, patrons can enjoy a full drink menu and popular sports bar snacks.

No need to change from shorts and flip flops to enjoy Carnival's two new fun and relaxed poolside destinations. RedFrog Rum Bar (sure to become a Cruise Diva favorite) offers guests the quintessential Caribbean vacation vibe with a pool-side version of the popular Caribbean themed RedFrog Pub, which debuted on the Carnival Magic. It will specialize in Caribbean rum-based frozen drinks and beers, including Carnival's private label draft brew, ThirstyFrog Red. Just across the deck, BlueIguana Tequila Bar provides a laid-back Mexican-themed atmosphere specializing in tequila-based frozen drinks and Mexican beers. Live music will fill the area as performers will entertain patrons at both bars. Let's hear it for some Jimmy Buffett tunes!

To cure what ails you, Alchemy Bar is Carnival's vintage-themed cocktail "pharmacy," the go-to spot for guests who are seeking a unique experience with interesting drink flavors and ingredients and possibly some hair-of-the-dog. Carnival's expert mixologists will "prescribe" concoctions from different fun categories or guests can create their own custom cocktails. Meanwhile, The Library Bar is a new intimate cocktail lounge featuring bar service and automatic wine dispensers, ideal for guests seeking a more relaxed and quiet venue. Hint: bring your own books.

Carnival's New (Free!) Food
Carnival is expanding on its array of dining options with new venues that focus on free favorite foods that are highly popular among guests including burgers at Guy's Burger Joint and fresh Mexican cuisine at the new BlueIguana Cantina, a complimentary poolside dining destination offering freshly made burritos and tacos on homemade tortillas. Hungry passengers can watch the tortilla maker create fresh wheat and jalapeno tortillas, then enjoy three types of tacos with a variety of toppings, and three kinds of burritos with fantastic fillings, plus chips and salsa.

That's (More) Entertainment!
Carnival is taking shipboard entertainment to an entirely new level. Working with leaders and industry experts from George Lopez and Hasbro to DJ IRIE and top Broadway producers, Carnival will offer not only a larger variety of new high-caliber entertainment but also more interactive shows.

Playlist Productions is a dramatic retooling of the line's legendary revues that combine captivating live performances with high-tech LED staging and special effects that set a new standard in seagoing productions. These popular music-driven revues featuring a diversity of musical styles, genres, and eras are designed to appeal to a broad cross-section of guests. Playlist Performances will feature hit-packed, 30-minute shows created by leading producers, directors, and choreographers who have worked on critically acclaimed productions for Broadway, London's West End and some of the world's most popular musical acts.

Guests will groove to "Motor City" which celebrates the R and B Motown sound of the 1960s and '70s, and "Divas" (Wow! Could it have been named after Yours Truly?) which combines music, dance and fashion to feature tunes from iconic female entertainers. "Latin Nights" offers a fusion of Latin culture, rhythmic music, and hot choreography while "The Brits!" features tunes from the UK's most famous artists. The new shows will premiere on Carnival Breeze when it enters service next summer, followed by their introduction on other vessels.

Known for keeping Miami and Las Vegas crowds pumped and on their feet, award-winning DJ IRIE was also named the Official DJ of Carnival Cruise Lines. In this role, he will create and lead "DJ IRIE's Spin'iversity" to train and develop the musical skills and personalities of on-board DJ talent to boost the overall music experience for guests of all ages and enhance the night club atmosphere.

Let the fun begin...while we'll have a full schedule to share tomorrow, fourteen Carnival ships are scheduled to receive many of the Fun Ship 2.0 enhancements through 2015.

Carnival Liberty Image Courtesy of Carnival Cruise Lines


Faraz said...

Great summary Linda.

I think Carnival is updating their ships to what guests expect - fun vacation at a value price. Very smart to not charge extra for these amenities - it does differentiate them from other lines. Also, making the dining, entertainment options the same across all the ships is going to help their brand as well.

Linda Coffman, AKA Cruise Diva said...

Thank you Faraz.

I have the Implementation Schedule for the roll-out to the fleet now. It's linked from the homepage at CruiseDiva.com and I will have some follow up comments tomorrow as well.