The totally transformed 3,006-passenger Carnival Sunshine – the largest Carnival Cruise Lines ship ever to be homeported in New Orleans -- will sail this afternoon on its inaugural voyage from the Big Easy, embarking on a six-day cruise to Cozumel and Grand Cayman.
Earlier this year, Carnival Sunshine underwent a $155 million, 75-day makeover that added a variety of innovations that are part of Carnival’s groundbreaking Fun Ship 2.0 enhancement initiative, along with several features unique to this vessel and 182 new staterooms.
Today’s voyage kicks off a winter schedule of Caribbean departures from New Orleans that will further bolster the line’s position as the port’s number one cruise operator, carrying 330,000 guests annually on two year-round ships.
According to a study commissioned by the Cruise Lines International Association, Carnival and other cruise lines operating in the state of Louisiana account for $399 million in direct spending, generating 7,548 jobs and $294 million in income for the state’s workers.
Carnival Sunshine will provide consumers sailing from New Orleans with an unprecedented array of on-board features, including a stunning three-level Serenity adults-only retreat, an outdoor recreation area with a ropes course offering breathtaking views to the sea 150 feet below, and a massive water park highlighted by a 334-foot-long corkscrew water slide that is the longest in the Carnival fleet.
Dining choices include the Fahrenheit 555 steakhouse, a new full-service Asian restaurant called Ji Ji Asian Kitchen, the BlueIguana Cantina Mexican-themed eatery, and Guy’s Burger Joint, developed in tandem with Food Network personality Guy Fieri. Exciting new bar concepts were also added such as the cocktail pharmacy-themed Alchemy Bar, the EA Sports Bar, the largest RedFrog Pub in the fleet, Latin-infused Havana Bar, and two new poolside watering holes, RedFrog Rum Bar and BlueIguana Tequila Bar. One-hundred-and-eighty-two cabins, including 95 new spa staterooms located adjacent to the totally renovated Cloud 9 Spa, were incorporated, as well.
Carnival Sunshine was officially named yesterday by godmother Lin Arison, a noted philanthropist and author, and wife of the late Ted Arison, founder of Carnival Cruise Lines. The invitation-only ceremony was attended by hundreds of travel agents, as well as local dignitaries and VIPs. During the ceremony, Carnival made a donation of $25,000 each to YoungArts and the New World Symphony, both of which are organizations founded by Ted and Lin Arison and dedicated to supporting young artists.
Following today’s six-day voyage, the ship will operate a series of seven-day cruises to popular Caribbean destinations through April. Three different week-long itineraries will be offered from New Orleans – an exotic western Caribbean route featuring Belize; Mahogany Bay (Isla Roatan), and Cozumel; a Bahamas/Florida schedule to Key West, Freeport and Nassau; and western Caribbean departures to Montego Bay; Grand Cayman; and Cozumel.