Carnival investing $500 million in dining and entertainment upgrades throughout its fleet

This week Carnival Cruise Lines unveiled Fun Ship 2.0, a program that will dramatically enhance its on-board guest experience. In the first phase alone, which extends through 2015, Carnival will invest more than $500 million fleetwide.

At an event in New York City, Carnival announced partnerships with entertainer George Lopez, who will become Carnival’s creative director for comedy and enhance its fleetwide comedy clubs; Food Network star Guy Fieri, who will develop a burger venue called Guy’s Burger Joint; leading video game manufacturer EA SPORTS to create the first-ever EA SPORTS Bar at sea, and Hasbro for new larger-than-life game shows featuring iconic games and brands.

Guy Fieri


The company also worked with leading production talent to create a high-energy musical showcase and announced that celebrity song master DJ IRIE was named Official DJ of Carnival Cruise Lines. Carnival also announced more of its unique branded spaces with the Red Frog Rum Bar, Blue Iguana Tequila Bar and three other themed bars and lounges, as well as a new complimentary Blue Iguana Cantina casual dining option.

“Fun Ship 2.0 is the largest and most ambitious initiative that our company has ever undertaken and it will serve to significantly transform the Carnival vacation experience for our guests,” said Gerry Cahill, president and CEO of Carnival Cruise Lines. “Through breakthrough partnerships with some of today’s biggest talents and most popular entertainment brands, plus our very own new branded experiences and on-board destinations, Carnival fans and those new to our cruises are destined for an incredible vacation experience.”

The Carnival Liberty will be the first ship to feature many of the new dining and bar venues when it returns from a scheduled refurbishment later this month. Fourteen ships are scheduled to receive many of the Fun Ship 2.0 enhancements through 2015.

Big Names and Big Brands On Board

As Carnival’s “curator of comedy,” Lopez will act as a consultant on the vetting and hiring of comedic talent in one of the line’s most popular nighttime entertainment options, and advise on décor, lighting, music and more to enhance the overall comedy club experience. Pre-recorded voice and video messages from Lopez will welcome guests and club patrons, and a new Punchliner Comedy Brunch will entertain diners laughing with live comedic entertainment in the line’s main dining rooms. Over the next year, the revamped clubs will roll out fleetwide.

At Guy’s Burger Joint, Carnival and successful restaurateur, cookbook author and television star Guy Fieri will offer “the best” burgers at sea – free. Guests have a choice of fresh-off-the-grill burgers designed by Fieri, or they can make their own at a condiment bar by adding a variety of toppings. Burgers are complemented by hand-cut fries. For lunch, a snack or dinner, guests can drop by this laid-back poolside dining venue modeled after a road-side burger joint.

Under license from Hasbro, Inc., Carnival will create Hasbro, The Game Show, a new series of productions and entertainment activities based on the popular Family Game Night television show from The Hub.

Hasbro, The Game Show will put guests in the middle of their favorite Hasbro games. Six main games are to be featured: Sorry Sliders, which involves a giant shuffleboard court; Simon Flash, where two teams of four guests wear giant light-up color boxes and must shuffle themselves quickly to repeat a color sequence; Yahtzee Bowling, with a giant ball and larger-than-life-sized bowling pins; Operation, which is set up like a skee-ball board where contestants try to get the balls into different slots on the “patient’s” body, and Connect4 Basketball, which uses a basketball setup rather than the traditional checkers to play.

New Bars at Sea

Carnival has partnered with EA SPORTS, the leading sports video game brand in the world, on a new sports bar concept, where guests can play their favorite SPORTS video games, watch live sports on a massive video wall comprised of 16 different 46-inch big-screen displays, and keep up with real-time sports scores 24/7 live on the ticker.

Carnival’s two new poolside destinations are the Red Frog Rum Bar, a pool-side version of the Caribbean-themed Red Frog Pub, which debuted on the Carnival Magic. It will specialize in rum-based frozen drinks and beers, including Carnival’s private label draft brew, Thirsty Frog Red.

Across the deck will be Blue Iguana Tequila Bar, providing a relaxed Mexican-themed atmosphere and specializing in tequila-based frozen drinks and Mexican beers. Live music will entertain patrons at both bars, along with those at the pool.

Alchemy Bar is Carnival’s vintage-themed cocktail “pharmacy” where the ship’s mixologists will “prescribe” concoctions from different categories or guests can try their hand at creating their own custom cocktails.

The Library Bar is a new intimate cocktail lounge featuring bar service and automaticwine dispensers, designed for guests seeking a more relaxed and quiet venue.


Carnival’s New Cantina

Carnival is expanding on its wide array of dining options with new venues that focus on free favorite foods that are highly popular among guests , including burgers at Guy’s Burger Joint and fresh Mexican cuisine at the new Blue Iguana Cantina. This complimentary poolside dining destination offers guests freshly made burritos and tacos on homemade tortillas they can make their own with a variety of salsas and toppings.

That’s (More) Entertainment!

Playlist Productions is a retooling of the line’s revues that combine live performances with high-tech LED staging and special effects. These music-driven revues featuring a diversity of musical styles, genres and eras designed to appeal to a broad cross-section of guests.

Known for keeping Miami and Las Vegas crowds pumped and on their feet, award-winning DJ IRIE was also named the Official DJ of Carnival Cruise Lines. In this new role, he will create and lead “DJ IRIE’sSpin’iversity” to train and develop the musical skills and personalities of on-board DJ talent to boost the overall music experience for guests of all ages.

For additional information and reservations on Carnival’s “Fun Ship” cruises, call 1-800-327-9501 or visit

About Cynthia Boal Janssens

Cynthia Boal Janssens is the editor and chief blogger for She is a former national president of the Society of American Travel Writers (SATW). She has sailed on over 40 cruises all over the world.


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