Cruise editor Donna Tunney is onboard the Carnival Liberty, experiencing the upgrades added under Carnival's Fun Ship 2.0 project. Her first dispatch follows.
There’s a loud and lively cocktail-making contest going on poolside, and each of the contenders are passengers who, before mixing up an original concoction, must reveal to the crowd their personal preference for a red frog or a blue iguana.
The Red Frog Rum Bar and the Blue Iguana Tequila Bar, you see, face each other from opposite sides of the pool, and both were recently added to this ship as part of Carnival Cruise Lines’ Fun Ship 2.0 project.
There’s a playful rivalry going on between the two outdoor bars, and in this contest, the red frog is king. Not to worry. The blue iguana might win tomorrow.
Meanwhile, the contest appears to very successfully call attention to the new bars, if the numbers of guests walking around (in the mid-day sun, mind you) with shots of tequila and frozen rum drinks are any indication.
I’m guessing they’ll all be asleep in their chaise lounges in about an hour.
Fun Ship 2.0 enhancements touch many facets of onboard living for these Carnival passengers, and while the Carnival Liberty is the first to receive several of them, many other ships in the Carnival fleet will benefit, too. As ships enter drydock in the next few years, certain of these upgrades will be added.
Along with the rum and tequila bars, there are other drinking establishments making their debut here, including the Alchemy Bar. It was designed to look like an old-fashioned pharmacy, or apothecary, and it serves up martinis infused with, well, whatever you think might make you feel better. Herbs, for instance, are infused in some of the drinks. The theme at this indoor space is: Relief for what ails you.
And finally, the EA Sports Bar is geared to guests who don’t want to forgo watching their favorite team just because they’re on vacation. Sixteen big-screen TVs form the backdrop of this new space.
On the opposite wall, a 24/7 ticker-tape reveals the scores of various professional sports games that are under way or were recently completed. Our group popped in for a look-see and found several men, but no women, enjoying this pastime.
A couple of Fun Ship 2.0 dining spots also were introduced on the Carnival Liberty. Guy’s Burger Joint, created in a branding partnership with Food Network star Guy Fieri, is a bit hit. It’s serving up about 1,100 burgers a day.
And alongside the Blue Iguana Tequila Bar, the Blue Iguana Cantina is the new place to go for Mexican cuisine. It features burritos made to order and tacos, and the tortilla shells it serves are freshly baked on the ship.
Fun Ship 2.0 isn’t only about food and drink. In another branding partnership, this one with comedian George Lopez, the line’s Punchline Comedy Club performances are being re-energized. Lopez will, among other things, help the line source its comedy acts.
The results of Lopez’ participation will be seen in the coming months, as new comedians take the stage on ships across the Carnival fleet.
Several additional Fun Ship 2.0 projects will roll out on the Carnival Breeze, which enters service in June. The line said it is investing $500 million in phase one of Fun Ship 2.0.
Follow Donna Tunney on Twitter @dttravelweekly.