Published 8:17 AM EDT Oct 16, 2018
Another Carnival cruise ship designed in the 1990s is about to be reborn.
The 2,758-passenger Carnival Victory in 2020 will undergo a makeover so big the line plans to rechristen the vessel with a new name: Carnival Radiance.
To be announced on Tuesday, the overhaul will take place over 38 days at a dry dock in Cadiz, Spain and cost $200 million – one of the priciest cruise ship makeovers on record. Ordered in 1997 and completed in 2000, Victory cost $410 million to build (about $601 million in today's dollars).
"It takes it to a whole new level," Carnival president Christine Duffy told USA TODAY in advance of the announcement. "It's really a soup-to-nuts refurbishment."
The makeover will include the addition of more than 100 cabins, the revamping of existing cabins and the addition of nearly a dozen food and drink outlets.
Also in the plans is the addition of a new deck-top recreation area with a suspended ropes course, basketball court and miniature golf course. The ship also will get a new water park area with two massive slides.
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Carnival has undertaken a ship overhaul on this scale only once before. In 2013, the line spent $155 million on a months-long, bow-to-stern makeover of its 1996-built Carnival Destiny. The ship also was renamed and now sails as Carnival Sunshine.
Carnival also has announced plans for a makeover of a similar scale for the 19-year-old Carnival Triumph. It'll take place in early 2019.
Duffy said the positive feedback the line has received since the Destiny-to-Sunshine transformation gave the company the confidence to move ahead with the Victory overhaul as well as the previously-announced Triumph makeover.
"Carnival Sunshine has been a big hit. Our guest satisfaction scores on Sunshine have been among the highest (in the fleet), she said.
Like Destiny before its transformation, Victory and Triumph lack the array of deck-top fun zones and interior dining and lounge concepts found on newer Carnival ships. The makeovers will result in the ships being more on par with other vessels across the Carnival fleet.
The end goal, Duffy said, was to be sure that there is consistency in the product that Carnival offers.
"It's important that people know that there are certain core experiences that they're going to get no matter what Carnival ship they take," Duffy said.
Carnival currently operates 26 vessels with several more on order.
New eateries planned for the soon-to-be-named Radiance include Cucina del Capitano, an Italian restaurant that already is on many Carnival ships, and Carnival's signature Fahrenheit 555 Steakhouse. The vessel also will get a Guy’s Pig & Anchor Bar-B-Que Smokehouse — a casual open-air eatery created in partnership with Food Network star Guy Fieri. It's a concept just debuting on Carnival ships.
In addition, the overhaul will bring a version of Carnival's Bonsai Sushi outlet and a new multi-course dining experience called The Chef's Table. A new poolside "lido marketplace" with pizza, ice cream and other quick bites also is planned, and there will be an expanded version of the line's coffee bar, JavaBlue Cafe.
The transformation will include the addition of an adults-only retreat called Serenity and an expanded spa. Retail spaces will be expanded and an arcade area added.
The dry dock work will begin March 18, 2020, at the Navantia shipyard in Cadiz and end in late April. Following a renaming ceremony, the newly christened Radiance will sail a new schedule of itineraries that will be announced in mid-November.