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Carnival Sunshine Meets ROI Thresholds

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The Carnival Sunshine will emerge from the $155 million rebuild of the 1996-built, 101,000-ton Carnival Destiny – with many new F&B and entertainment venues, in addition to 182 new staterooms. As for the payback, Ruben Rodriguez, executive vice president of fleet services, and Jim Berra, senior vice president of marketing, noted that the renewal of the ship and the addition of new features and services generate ROI on several levels – but mainly by creating higher customer satisfaction, allowing Carnival to charge higher ticket prices and encouraging more onboard spending.

They described the rebuild as consisting of 20 to 30 different projects each of which is considered on the basis of its ROI. Machinery will also be upgraded during the rebuild, including HVAC, with more energy efficient equipment.

According to Rodriguez, the expansion will mainly come from the addition of a deck forward, Deck 13, and extending the two decks below. Some space will also be taken from the existing three-level theater, which will “lose” its top level. Other entertainment venues will be added, however.

The extra deck will house a new and larger Cloud 9 spa, gym area and 96 new spa staterooms. On top of which will be an expanded three-deck high adults-only Serenity area.

As for the ship’s infrastructure, Rodriguez noted that the subsequent ships in the class, including the Victory and the Triumph, were built with the additional deck. He added that escape routes were configured for the larger passenger number. For the Sunshine, the elevators will also be extended both fore and aft.  New staterooms are also being added aft on decks 5 and 3.

The Lido area is being expanded aft and will house two alternative dining venues – the Italian Cucina del Capitano and a new full-service Asian restaurant, serving free lunch and charging nominal fees for dinner.

At the very aft will be Havana Bar, a tropical-inspired night spot offering entertainment and ocean views through floor to ceiling windows.

Berra said that the design of the Sunshine will be “light, airy, very Caribbean and tropical.” He called it “comfortable contemporary.” The lead design firm is PartnerShip Design.

The Sunshine will also incorporate many of the new features found on the Breeze, including the Ocean Plaza atrium and the RedFrog Pub, featuring the line’s branded draft beer (and rums). Staterooms will also be redone to reflect the design of the staterooms on the Breeze.

With double-occupancy passenger capacity increasing from about 2,600 to 3,000, Rodriguez noted that the ship will be outfitted with larger lifeboats, and that during the drydocking, all systems will be upgraded, including fire detection and suppression systems, in addition to bridge and navigation systems.

Rodriguez also said that while the lower berth ratio is increasing by 14 percent, other spaces and services are being increased by a larger factor, such as 59 percent for cardiovascular equipment in the gym, 30 percent for bar seating, and 19 percent in dining venues.

More crew will be joining the ship, mostly for positions in the new dining and bar venues, meaning additional crew cabins as well.

The challenge, according to Rodriguez is the logistics of accomplishing the rebuild on time. He said that the planning had started a year ago with another year before the ship goes into drydock. Carnival has a full-time dedicated rebuild team.

The Destiny goes into a yet-to-be-determined Fincantieri yard from next February to April, followed by a summer season in the Mediterranean, before being deployed year-round on three different seven-day itineraries from New Orleans.