|Its all about ships
PROFILE AND REVIEW
Cruise line profile - Carnival Cruise Lines -Sunshine class - profile and review
Above: Carnival Sunshine.
Above: Carnival Destiny.
Above : Carnival Victory.
Below: A rendering of Carnival Radiance
courtesy of Carnival Cruise Line.
Left: Costa Fortuna.
Below: Costa Magica.
Right: Carnival Sunrise.
Below Carnival Victory.
The three ships that make up Carnival' Cruise Line's Sunshine
class (Carnival Sunshine, Carnival Sunrise and Carnival
Radiance) are the three ships that once made up that line's Destiny
class (Carnival Destiny, Carnival Triumph, and Carnival
Victory). In addition to the Carnival ships, two near-sisters sail
for Costa Cruises (Costa Fortuna and Costa Magica).
The Carnival ships have a unique history. In the late 1990s,
Carnival undertook to build a new type of cruise ship capable of
carrying more passengers and offering more features than any
existing ship. The result was Carnival Destiny, which in 1998,
not only was the largest cruise ship in the world but also the first
cruise ship to exceed 100,000 gross tons. She was followed
shortly thereafter by Carnival Triumph and Carnival Victory,
which had an additional deck making them even larger than the
lead ship in the class. In any event, the three ships proved highly
popular and became work horses of the Carnival fleet.
A problem that all major cruise lines face is that while cruise
ships are built to operate for more than 40 years, the public begins
to regard them as old after about 15 years and they become non-
competitive with the new ships coming out of the shipyards. The
traditional solution has been to sell them to lines operating in the
secondary market or to budget cruise lines. However, with the
Destiny class, Carnival decided to take a different approach - -
extensively refurbishing the ships. These refurbishments were not
a mere change of the carpet in the public areas but bow to stern
transformations that make it difficult to find any of the original
interior. In short, the ships would have the interiors of new cruise
ships. Since the change was so extensive, Carnival decided to
give each of the ships a new name.
The transformation of the Destiny ships into the Sunshine class
came at a turning point in Carnival's history. Carnival had
become the world's most popular cruise line with ships with
fantasy-land interiors and a party-time atmosphere. With its
Dream-class ships, Carnival was slowly moving away from that
approach to cruising towards a more up-market cruise experience
with more contemporary decors. As one Carnival executive
confided; “Our audience has grown up.” The transformation of
Carnival Destiny into Carnival Sunshine gave the line the
opportunity to test how the public would react to a ship totally
incorporating the new approach. Carnival Sunshine proved
highly popular and so Carnival decided to similarly transform
Carnival Triumph and Carnival Victory.
As a result of these transformations, the three Sunshine class ships
provide a state-of-the-art Carnival Cruise experience. Their interiors
and features are very similar to those of Carnival's Vista class ships.
They offer a relaxed, resort-style cruise experience in an atmosphere
similar to a contemporary hotel. At just over 100,000 gross tons, they
are large cruise ships but can be viewed as medium-size in
comparison to ships being built today. (Interestingly, Carnival
Sunshine is now slightly larger than her two sisters, which had been
slightly larger than Carnival Destiny prior to the transformations).
The transformed Carnival Sunshine entered service in 2013 and
Carnival Sunrise in 2019. Carnival Radiance underwent her
transformation in 2020 but her return to service was delayed due to the
halt in cruise operations stemming from the COVID 19 pandemic. At
double occupancy, Sunrise and Radiance can accommodate 2,984
passengers while Sunshine can host 3,002.
The two Costa ships are 102,287 gross tons. They
were the fourth and fifth ships built in the class. Costa
Fortuna, which entered service in 2004, has an interior
which was designed as a tribute to the ocean liners of the
past. The interior of Costa Magica (2005) was designed
by Joe Farcus and tries to capture the space between the
sky and the sea.
All of the ships in this class were built by Italy's
Fincntieri. They have diesel-electric power plants and are
propelled by two traditional propeller shafts. They have
cruising speeds between 20 and 21 knots, which is at or
slightly below average. The ships have three bow
thrusters and three stern thrusters, which enhance their
maneuverability in port.
Above left: Carnival Triumph.
Above right: The same ship as Carnival Sunrise.