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Carnival Cruise Lines Doubles The Fun

By Nancy Schretter, Editor

Families will now have even more to love on Carnival Cruise Lines. The company has announced a massive $500 million Fun Ship 2.0 upgrade program that will transform its cruise experience with a wide variety of new offerings. As part of this initiative, Carnival is partnering with major brands and high profile celebrities to provide cutting-edge entertainment, dining and more.

The multi-year program will bring about exciting changes fleet-wide and will create new experiences and spaces for families to explore. Much-loved big brands will be onboard to ratchet up the energy and activities. The bottom line for families: expect Carnival to be rolling out more fun than ever before.

According to President and CEO Gerry Cahill, "Fun Ship 2.0 is the largest and most ambitious initiative that our company has ever undertaken." That's a major statement for Carnival, a firm that has consistently innovated over the years.

Some of the most exciting news involves entertainment, always a high point for Carnival. Hasbro is one of the big brands coming onboard with Carnival. As part of their new partnership, Carnival will be creating "Hasbro, The Game Show" - a new series of production and entertainment activities sure to delight parents and kids alike. Based on the popular "Family Game Night," television show, the new Hasbro programs will put families smack in the middle of six of their favorite games, such as Operation, Yahtzee Bowling, Connect 4 Basketball, Sorry Sliders and Simon Flash.

As part of Carnival's partnership with comedian George Lopez, the popular television star will taking over the direction of The Punchliner Comedy Club, Carnival's signature entertainment space. As Carnival's "curator of comedy," Lopez will help hire comedy talent, advise on decor, and enhance the club's entertainment experience. The newly revamped clubs will begin rolling out across the Carnival fleet over the next year. In addition, guests will be able to enjoy a new Punchliner Comedy Brunch with live entertainment in the ships' main dining room.

The entertainment doesn't stop there. Carnival is working with DJ IRIE and top Broadway producers to provide a broader array of interactive shows, night club experiences and entertainment. Award-winning DJ IRIE will be training and developing the talents of all of Carnival's on-board DJ talent to heighten the club and music experience for guests of all ages. Playlist Productions will be producing new shows and music-driven revues such as "Motor City" celebrating the R&B Motown sound, "Divas" featuring songs from leading female entertainers, "Latin Nights," and "The Brits!"

Families will be thrilled with Carnival's new deal with Guy Fieri of the Food Network. Fieri and Carnival are cooking up Guy's Burger Joint, serving a wide variety of delicious grilled burgers designed by Fieri himself. The burger joint is modeled after coastal roadside joints and best of all - the burgers are all free as part of the Carnival cruise experience.

Another free included dining option will be the new BlueIguana Cantina, offering families fresh Mexican cuisine in the perfect location - poolside. This appealing dining venue will serve freshly made burritos and tacos on homemade tortillas created right in front of guests' eyes. Three types of tacos and burritos and loads of toppings and fillings will be available.

Carnival is known for its extensive fleet-wide programs for kids and teens, so it's no wonder that approximately 670,000 children sail with the line each year. Carnival provides daily fun-filled activities and events for children and teens from ages 2-17. Divided into three separate age groups - 2 to 5 years, 6 to 8 years and 9 to 11 years, Camp Carnival entertains kids from morning 'till evening with fun games, arts and crafts, parties, talent shows and more. There's even a Camp Carnival Night Owls program that will keep the kids entertained until late at night. In addition, there's Circle C for kids ages 12 to 14 and Club O2 for teens 15 to 17. Both of these groups have their own dedicated spaces on every Carnival ship.

While the younger kids are having fun, parents and young adult guests will be free to check out all of the new bars and venues coming to the high seas. Carnival is rolling out lots of new spaces and options including The RedFrog Rum Bar - a poolside Caribbean-themed hangout with a laid-back vibe. Across the deck will be The BlueIguana Tequilla Bar, specializing in tequila-based drinks and Mexican beers. Then there's the Alchemy Bar - Carnival's cocktail "pharmacy" serving handcrafted cocktails in a vintage setting. Resident mixologists will be happy to "prescribe" special potions ranging from Mood Enhancers to Energizing Elixers. For those seeking a little peace and quiet, new The Library Bar will be just the place to read a book while enjoying a glass of wine or a favorite cocktail.

Carnival has also partnered with EA SPORTS, the leading sports videogame brand, to produce a cool new sports bar on their ships. Parents and young adult guests can play their favorite EA SPORTS videogames, watch live sports on a huge video wall, and keep up with real-time sports via ticker while enjoying their favorite drinks and snacks. This one is sure to be a real crowd-pleaser.

The first phase of Fun Ship 2.0 will be launched when the Carnival Liberty comes out of drydock in late October with the new enhancements. In 2012, guests can experience the new options on the Carnival Breeze, Carnival Conquest and Carnival Glory. The fleet-wide rollout will continue through 2015. Make sure to check it out as part of your next cruise.

For more information, visit www.carnival.com or call 1-800-CARNIVAL.

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