A multimillion-dollar makeover for Carnival Sunrise

Lisa McCabe and Petu Kummala tell Rebecca Gibson about Carnival Cruise Line’s latest Fun Ship 2.0 transformation project and an upcoming newbuild

A multimillion-dollar makeover for Carnival Sunrise
Guests on Carnival Sunrise can dine at The Chef’s Table hosted by the ship’s master executive chef

This article was first published in the 2019 issue of Cruise & Ferry Interiors. All information was correct at the time of printing, but may since have changed.

Restaurants, bars, an aqua park with multiple slides and an outdoor SportSquare with a suspended ropes course – these are just some of the many new attractions thrilling guests on Carnival Cruise Line’s totally transformed Carnival Sunrise. The brand added its signature Fun Ship 2.0 spaces during a 38-day, US$200 million dry dock to convert Carnival Triumph into Carnival Sunrise in Cadiz, Spain this spring. The project was part of Carnival’s ongoing US$2 billion fleet-wide ship enhancement programme. 

“We want to extend the life and longevity of our ships, but our primary motivation behind this large-scale refurbishment project is to offer our guests enhanced dining, beverage and entertainment experiences, regardless of which vessel they’re on or where they are sailing,” says Lisa McCabe, vice president of Revitalisation and Hotel Refurbishment at Carnival Cruise Line. “All the newly added venues on Carnival Sunrise will be very exciting for our guests.”

Successfully transforming Carnival Triumph into Carnival Sunrise was a lengthy and complex process.

“Our team had been planning this complicated conversion for several years, working closely with architects, engineers and our internal departments to understand their operational needs,” says McCabe. “Bringing this project to life took a complete team effort, with numerous Carnival departments collaborating together to ensure that everything was completed on time and on budget and, most importantly, that guests would enjoy their cruise experience once onboard.” 

Carnival also joined forces with multiple third-party designers, outfitters and suppliers to complete the project. “To support the incredible efforts of the ship’s crew, we partnered with more than 3,000 subcontractors who helped us with all facets of the project and make Carnival Sunrise a success,” comments McCabe.  

While Carnival wanted to update the ship’s décor and venues, its team was wary of following current interior design trends too closely. 

“We’re not designing boutique spaces that can easily be changed and updated at short intervals, so we can’t follow current design trends – and nor do we want to because this would mean we’d never be leading innovation in the cruise industry,” explains Petu Kummala, Carnival’s senior director of Interior Design and Architecture. “While we do closely monitor what’s going on in the hospitality industry and listen attentively to our guests, we must develop innovative concepts and features that will stand the test of time and exceed guests’ expectations for years to come.” 

Setting new standards is exactly what the Carnival team aims to do with its first 180,000gt XL-class ship, Mardi Gras, when she debuts in 2020. Currently under construction at Meyer Turku’s shipyard in Finland, Mardi Gras will be both Carnival’s largest-ever ship and North America’s first LNG-powered vessel.

Spanning 20 decks, the ship will accommodate 5,280 guests and  offer Carnival’s signature Fun 2.0 venues, a Serenity adults-only area, six new themed zones with their own dining and entertainment options, a top-deck retreat for suite guests, more than 20 stateroom categories, and the line’s first ergonomically designed Carnival Excel Suites. Other highlights will include the family-friendly Ultimate Playground, which will boast the largest Carnival WaterWorks aqua park and an expanded SportSquare featuring Bolt, the first at-sea rollercoaster. 

“Bolt will be the biggest ‘wow’ because guests will be able to ride an 800-foot-long track at speeds of up to 40 miles per hour,” says Kummala. “Meanwhile, the design feature that I’m most thrilled about is her stunning and transformative atrium, which will take the traditional atrium concept to new heights and create a sense wonder from the moment guests step onboard. The area will combine a day-to-night entertainment complex with spectacular three-deck-high floor-to-ceiling windows and a bar overlooking the starboard side of the ship. It will be the perfect venue for socialising and people watching amid sweeping ocean vistas. We have lots of fun things planned for the atrium and the rest of Mardi Gras.”

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Rebecca Gibson
By Rebecca Gibson
Friday, June 28, 2019