Carnival Liberty arrived at the Port of Miami Saturday to carry off about 3000 guests on a fun-filled week of sun and fun. Nothing new there, the ship has been doing that since 2005. Back then, the ship made history as the first to have Carnival’s Seaside Theater, a 12-foot high by 22-foot wide LED screen used to show movies, sporting events, concerts and other ship programming. The ship made history again yesterday as first in the fleet to get the Carnival Funship 2.0 package, a robust branding focus sure to be a hit with cruise passengers.
“The changes made to Carnival Liberty and upcoming on their other ships is game changing, ” said an excited Stewart Chiron, CEO CruiseGuy.com on board with Carnival Senior Cruise Director John Heald adding “Dining and entertainment options have been raised to new heights!”
Front and center in the Funship 2.0 package is the Food Networks Guy Fieri offering a free shipboard dining venue called Guy’s Burger Joint, featuring the celebrity chef’s amazing hand-crafted burgers and fresh-cut fries and special recipes created exclusively for Carnival.
After a press conference in New York earlier this month, Fieri manned an outdoor grill most of the afternoon, making the burgers appearing on Carnival Liberty right now and answering questions. When asked why he got involved with the Funship 2.0 project, straight-talking Fieri replied “…because these people at Carnival REALLY care about their customers. It really means a lot to them that the people who sail on their ships have a good time. I wanted to be a part of that.”
The well-received Burger Joint is, as anticipated, a big hit with cruisers who do not pay extra for the gourmet fare. A Burrito Bar (pictured) ala Chipotle Mexican Grill style was also added and looks to be a big hit as well.
“Guy Fieri’s Burger Joint is a smashing home run!” said Chiron. “The food was incredibly tasty! Burgers were super good and french fries were outstanding. The Burrito Bar had a cool tortilla maker and the Mexican menu options were plentiful. Old and new Carnival passengers couldn’t believe the tansformation.”
The multi-year $500 million Funship 2.0 initiative also involves some of Broadway’s biggest names in a reworking of entertainment options. Miami Heat songmaster DJ Erie was named official DJ of Carnival Cruise Lines and comedian George Lopez will become Carnival’s creative director for comedy to enhance the line’s Punchliner Comedy Clubs.
“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” said Gerry Cahill, president and CEO of Carnival Cruise Line.
It’s all aimed to build on Carnival’s keen sense of what their guests are all about. Continuing a clear, concise branding mantra, the line has rolled that knowledge into their online social efforts as well with some exciting new features to further engage fans of the line. On Carnival’s website is an invitation for visitors to get involved and “help us out in the labs”, an interactive area for visitors to be directly involved as never before.
But at the end of the day, the big news is that Carnival has added a whole bunch of extras at no additional charge to guests at a time when other lines are “nickel and diming guests” something CEO Cahill has consistently and successfully avoided.
“Carnival’s $500 million Fun Ship 2.0 needs to be upgraded to 3.0!” concluded Chiron. “Passengers were thrilled and shocked at the new additions. Many were shocked that there were no additional charges.”