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Wednesday, 01 January 2014 00:00

Refurbs and Enhancements: Everything Old is New Again

Written by  Lillian Africano

As the pace of new builds slows, there has been a steady growth in refurbishments and enhancements. Among the notable refurbs in 2013 was Disney Magic’s comprehensive makeover, which included replacing the Mickey Pool with a new water fun zone and water slide and total revamping of deck-top areas, restaurants and children’s clubs.


Regent Seven Seas Voyager’s new look includes new decor on exterior decks and in Penthouse Suites, renovated public spaces and free Wi-Fi for concierge-level and higher guests.

Hapag-Lloyd’s MS Europa emerged from drydock with 156 redesigned suites and renovations in the public areas, the atrium and pool area.

Crystal Serenity, which is enhanced almost every year, had a two-week $17 million facelift in November which included a reconfiguration of the Penthouse Suites, a new dance floor in Palm Court and a  re-design of the Lido Cafe, similar to that on Crystal Symphony.

Carnival’s fleet-wide enhancement culminated in 2013 with the re-launch of the Destiny as the almost-brand-new Sunshine. The dazzling $155 million transformation incorporates all of the “Fun Ship 2.0” dining and entertainment features, as well as new cabins, new dining venues and a huge water park. In 2014, the Legend and Freedom, Pride Victory, Elation, Valor are scheduled for “Fun Ship 2.0” enhancements.

Royal Caribbean is also committed to upgrading its entire fleet, and in 2013, the Legend of the Seas, Brilliance of the Seas, Vision of the Seas and Independence of the Seas all were revitalized. Reporting a significant bump in onboard spending, the cruise line attributed the increase to the revitalization program, which continues in 2014-15 with the Navigator of the Seas (February), Adventure of the Seas (April), Voyager of the Seas (May) and Explorer of the Seas (February 2015). All Voyager class ships will get 75 new staterooms and upgrades and amenities first seen on the Oasis class. New features include: the Chef’s Table experience, Park Cafe and Giovanni’s Table, a Concierge Lounge for suite passengers and top-tier Crown & Anchor members, a Diamond Lounge (for Diamond members), the Royal Babies & Tots Nursery, a poolside Jumbotron, all-ship Wi-Fi and digital signage. 

Navigator will have the FlowRider surf simulator as well as RCCL’s new virtual balconies; it will be the first of the line’s ships to have that innovation (Quantum of the Seas will have them when it debuts in 2014). The virtual balconies will be floor-to-ceiling 80-inch LED projection screens that offer digital real-time views of the ocean and destinations visible from the ship’s exterior. The views will be displayed in high-resolution color and will be available both at sea and in port.

Oceania Cruises will undertake the line’s largest ever refurbishment program in 2014, with the trio of R-Class ships, Regatta, Insignia, and Nautica to undergo a combined $50 million dollar transformation during 2014’s second quarter. All public rooms, suites, and staterooms will have new furnishings and decor, and recent amenities (Baristas coffee bar and Terrace grill) on the Marina and Riviera will be added to Insignia and Nautrica. Owner’s and Vista suites will have new bathrooms featuring oversize showers and marble and granite vanities. The Canyon Ranch Spa Club will have new steam and changing rooms and the Sports Deck will feature a new mini-golf course and new shuffleboard courts.

In 2013, NCL’s Pride of America had a $30 million renovation that added 32 new stateroom suites, four inside staterooms, two Deluxe Penthouse suites, two new Owner’s Suites and four solo cabins. Also new: flat-screen TVs in staterooms, the Cagney’s steakhouse and Brazilian Moderno Churrascaria, ship-wide Wi-Fi and upgraded
fitness center.

In 2014, the Norwegian Jewel (May) and Norwegian Gem (November) will have extensive redecoration of Penthouse Suites and Horizon and Observation lounges, as well as new furnishings and lighting in various public areas.

Costa Voyager, Costa neoRiviera (formerly Grand Mistral, owned by Iberocruceros) and Costa Classic recently entered drydock for planned maintenance and refurbishments of $13.5 million that include renovations to open-air decks and public areas.

In February 2014, Celebrity Century, the oldest ship in the line’s fleet, will get new staterooms and luxury suites.

Look for even more ship refurbs in 2015 and 2016.


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