We've already mentioned that Carnival ships are all about fun. Colourful, exuberant, family-friendly and exciting, the line is focused on giving its passengers a good time. In just a few weeks, the Carnival Spirit will join the ranks of "Fun Ships 2.0" to bring the next level of merriment to Australian cruisers after a $44 million makeover. With so many lines starting to bring out the big guns for the Australian market in recent years, Carnival has some stiff competition, but the Spirit 2.0 should appeal hugely to Aussies with more casual dining options and entertainment venues in addition to the great entertainment, food and activities already offered.
What's a Fun Ship 2.0?
Fun Ship 2.0 is a program designed to take things to the next level for all Carnival ships. The schedule of upgrades, costing US$500 million across the whole fleet, began in 2011 and is rolling out slowly to include all ships to some degree. It incorporates some of the great concepts introduced on the Carnival Magic which debuted in May 2011, along with some brand-new ideas to ensure that the fleet stays ahead of the game when it comes to fun, family and food.
What's included in the program?
Some aspects have been in place across the fleet since its debut in 2011, as they require no major drydock - the upgraded music program overseen by DJ Irie, the Punchliner Comedy Club partnership with George Lopez, new stage shows and more entertainment offerings which make Carnival such an amusing and enjoyable way to holiday.
The food available onboard also gets a Fun Ship 2.0 upgrade. Our favourite? Guy Fieri's burger joint. Carnival partnered with the popular Food Network star to bring delicious diner-style burgers and rustic fries to their casual dining line-up. The line also announced recently that the menu on the Spirit's incarnation will include some Aussie flavour in the form of a special "Boomerang Burger" featuring beetroot, tasty cheese, bacon, tomato and grilled onion to meet regional tastes.
The Blue Iguana Cantina is another popular eatery included in the program, a Mexican cantina near the pool serving made-to-order burritos and tacos with all the fixings. Both of these new casual dining options are included in the cruise fare - a refreshing change in an era when most new additions are specialty restaurants aimed at maximising revenue. The two laid-back eateries are perfect for families dining together.
There is one specialty restaurant being added to the Spirit during her August drydock - Bonsai Sushi. Already featured on the Carnival Legend, as well as only the newest fleet members sailing in the Northern Hemisphere, this is an Aussie favourite and the perfect night out for those who love Japanese cuisine. The À-la-carte menu is very reasonably priced and includes top-notch rolls, soups, salads, sashimi and even sake.
It wouldn't be much fun without some new bars and venues. The RedFrog Pub is part of the upgrade, already an Aussie favourite on the Carnival Legend with a tropical vibe for relaxed drinking and socializing. The Alchemy Bar is another great spot coming soon to the Spirit, offering some amazing mixed drinks at a vintage-themed cocktail "pharmacy". More fun ship upgrades include the interactive SkyBox sports bar and the BlueIguana Tequila Bar to complement the Cantina.
These aren't just some afterthought additions - the upgrades are well thought out and will add value to the Carnival experience. Spaces for family friendly dining, top-notch entertainment, and a range of venues to cater to all tastes are fabulous concepts for any cruise, and the casual feel of many Fun Ship 2.0 upgrades are perfect for the type of cruisers who favour Carnival. Cruising in Australia has never been more enjoyable!
Experience the new Spirit
The Carnival Spirit comes out of drydock in Singapore at the end of August and will cruise through Southeast Asia to arrive in Sydney on the 14th of September. From then on, she will resume a full schedule of South Pacific cruising from her homeport.
The Spirit is based Down Under year-round, so there are plenty of opportunities for Australian cruise lovers to try out the Fun Ship 2.0 experience. The range of Carnival Spirit cruises is varied and mixes classic itineraries with some new cruises to ensure there's something for any schedule or budget.
Eight, ten and twelve-night Pacific Islands itineraries are the mainstays of the Carnival Spirit's cruises, tried-and-tested favourites with tropical towns, secluded isles and picture-perfect beaches. In 2015 and 2016 she is also offering three-night Short Breaks, quick getaways to Moreton Island and Mooloolaba, Tasmania cruises, New Zealand cruises and a specialist eight-night itinerary to the Melbourne Cup.