Cruise ship refurbishments: What's being done and when

MIAMI -- Cruise lines can always be counted on for ongoing refurbishment projects, and keeping track of which ship was spruced up when is a daunting task. The following rundown, however, should help bring retailers up to speed -- at least for the moment:

CostaRiviera

 Royal Caribbean's Monarch of the SeaCosta's CostaRiviera underwent a $2 million refurbishment and upgrade. The most dramatic change is in the ship's lobby, with the area opened up vertically to create a two-deck atrium boasting new furnishings. The refurbishment also included all the CostaRiviera's public areas, including the beauty salon and duty free shops as well as the bathrooms in the cabins on the Amalfi, Portofino and Capri decks.

Monarch of the Seas

Royal Caribbean's Monarch of the Seas returned to service March 14 after spending more than two months in a shipyard for repairs. The ship sustained major damage when it collided with a reef off St. Maarten in December. Royal Caribbean took advantage of the vessel's time in drydock to fix areas damaged in the incident and to do an upgrade. All of the vessel's indoor areas and staterooms received new carpet, upholstery, wall coverings and window treatments, and outside areas were recarpeted, as well. A new facility for toddlers, called Aquanauts, was created on Deck 8. The ship's teen lounge received an upgraded audio and lighting system and an updated coffee house motif. The indoor and outdoor dining areas of the Windjammer Cafe were remodeled with mosaic tile and artwork.

Panorama

Classical Cruises completed a refurbishment of its 44-passenger Panorama. All 22 cabins on the yacht-like vessel received new bed linens, curtains, carpeting and artwork. An additional chest of drawers and storage cabinet was also added to each cabin, and all the vessel's cabins now feature 14-inch televisions and minibars. Refurbishments also were completed in the ship's public areas. Furniture, carpeting and artwork were upgraded to create a more comfortable and stylish environment.

Crystal Symphony

Crystal's Crystal Symphony is scheduled for dry-dock this month, with upgrades including a redesign of the Avenue Saloon. The intimate piano bar, a favorite meeting place, was already redesigned on sister ship Crystal Harmony. The room's new decor will include the use of mahogany and other warm woods. It will be appointed with chestnut leather couches, upholstery in rich reds and golds, custom-designed rugs and antique brass, bronze and gold accents. A new lounge, to be called Connoisseurs Club, will be an annex to the existing Avenue Saloon and will offer a smaller room with a private club atmosphere. The Connoisseurs Club will feature a sophisticated mix of large leather sofas; rich textures and regal-colored fabrics; mahogany bookcases, and a cigar humidor to reflect the connoisseur theme. Decorative touches are also being added to the casual Lido Cafe and Gardens, with new areas being created for private cocktail parties and small dinner gatherings. New cooking stations and buffet counters will augment the self-service dining section of the room.

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