Marella Explorer 2 Exits Drydock with New Livery

Marella Explorer 2

The Marella Explorer 2 is fresh out of the drydock in Cadiz with her new Marella Cruises livery painted on the 1995-built ship’s hull.

The ship is the sixth vessel in Marella’s fleet and debuts this April for the TUI-owned British brand.

After starting her career as the Celebrity Century, the vessel moved to China for startup SkySea Cruises and is now under the Marella banner.

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Carnival Triumph getting a $200M redo and a new name

Carnival Triumph is to become the Carnival Sunrise.

Carnival Cruise Line will budget $200 million for an overhaul of the Carnival Triumph so sweeping that the ship will get a new name, the Carnival Sunrise.

It is only the second time that Carnival has renamed a ship of its own design. In 2013, it rechristened the former Carnival Destiny as the Carnival Sunshine. 

Carnival said the two ships will form the new Sunshine class. The $200 million sum is the largest ever spent by a cruise line in a ship renovation.

By the time the work begins next March, the Triumph will be 20 years old. It is perhaps best known for an engine-room fire in 2013 that left it disabled off the coast of Mexico without power for most hotel services. The ship had to be towed back to the United States, on a four-day odyssey that was memorialized as “the poop cruise” because toilets didn’t work for most of the trip.

In the two-month renovation, to be done at the Navantia shipyard in Cadiz, Spain, a laundry list of Fun Ship 2.0 features will be added to the ship, including seven restaurants, two bars, two lounges, three new pool deck attractions, a newly designed spa, two new children’s play areas and new retail spaces, including a candy store. 

Gus Antocha, Carnival’s chief operating officer, said the additions complement certain upgrades that had already been made to the Triumph, such as Guy’s Burger Joint.

Unique to the Sunrise will be what Antocha called “bridge wing suites,” encompassing two junior suites and two larger Captain’s Suites adjacent to the bridge, which will be redesigned with floor-to-ceiling windows. That means the ship’s capacity, listed as 2,758 passengers at double occupancy, will remain relatively unchanged.

“We’re adding a handful of different spaces,” Antocha said. When the Carnival Sunshine was created, an extra 182 cabins were added to the Carnival Destiny.

The first sailing of the Carnival Sunrise, following a renaming ceremony, will be from Norfolk, Va., where the ship will begin a series of five- to seven-day cruises on April 29, 2019. It will then move to New York for the summer for a series of four- to 14-day cruises, starting May 23. It will move to Fort Lauderdale for four- and five-day cruises in October.

Mariner of the Seas getting massive makeover

Mariner of the Seas

Royal Caribbean International plans a major improvement in its short-cruise product, starting with a massive makeover of the 14-year-old Mariner of the Seas.

Speaking to a conference of Cruise One/Dream Vacations and Cruises Inc. agents aboard the Harmony of the Seas, Royal Caribbean president Michael Bayley said the line will spend over $100 million on the ship.

Plans call for a six-week drydock in Cadiz, Spain, in March and April. Bayley said it is the most money Royal Caribbean has ever spent renovating a ship.

“I’m calling it a modernization, not a refurbishment,” Bayley said. “We’re going to be adding concepts and redoing concepts,” he said.

When the work is finished, the 3,114-passenger Mariner will sail three- and four-day cruises from Miami. The ship is currently sailing in Asia.

The move will coincide with the June 2018 opening of the newly constructed dock at Coco Cay, Royal Caribbean’s private island in the Bahamas, which will play a major role in the Mariner’s itineraries.

Bayley hinted there is more reinvestment yet to be disclosed. “It is attached to the Mariner and it is attached to the idea of boosting up the shore experience,” he said.

He said that the combined ship-shore package will be a “game changer” in the short-cruise market.

In May 2016, the Empress of the Seas started sailing short cruises after a $50 million renovation. That ship is now doing four-, five- and six-day cruises from Tampa on Caribbean itineraries that include Cuba.

The only other cruise line to spend more than $100 million in a single refurbishment was Carnival, which refitted the Carnival Destiny and renamed it the Carnival Sunshine in 2013 at a cost of $155 million.