PORT EVERGLADES, Fla. -- After a $5 million refit in Europe last
December, the newly renamed Caronia arrived in the U.S. sporting
Cunard's traditional "livery," shared with the Queen Elizabeth 2.
As a symbol of its new British bearing, the line's former
Vistafjord had its hull repainted the traditional matte black of
the QE2, along with that ship's white for the Caronia's
superstructure and red for its funnel.
Cunard proudly showed off the reincarnated ship to travel agents
and media here. In transforming the Scandinavian-flavored
Vistafjord into a ship of "British essence," Cunard said, the
vessel was registered in the U.K. and now flies the British "Red
The new Caronia, the third Cunard liner to carry that name, also
received new British crew members, making it "a ship of British
character worthy of her distinguished new name," the line said.
The transformation is part of a marketing plan to give Cunard a
more pronounced British identity, with the QE2 and Caronia within
At the same time, Cunard's previous Royal Viking Sun was
assigned a more emphatic "Scandinavian character" last December and
turned over to Seabourn Cruise Line as the Seabourn Sun.
Explaining the rationale for rebranding the Vistafjord with a
British stamp, Larry Pimentel, president and chief executive
officer of Cunard Line, said, "As Vistafjord, she was unfamiliar to
many guests in America. Thus, we undertook the refit to better
identify the classic character of this grand liner and marry her
with the proud, 160-year heritage of Cunard."
Also reflecting a new British patina, the appearance and names
of some of the public rooms have been changed. The line pointed to
these alterations:The single-seating main dining room has been renamed the
Franconia Dining Room, after a notable past Cunard vessel.Dining in the Tivoli Restaurant, an alternative eatery serving
Italian cuisine, has been enhanced by the addition of outdoor
seating, shaded by awnings.On the Verandah Deck, the Ballroom has received a major
face-lift.A new Book Shop has been built beside the Library, featuring
floor-to-ceiling cherrywood shelves.A new shopping area, named Regency Shops, has been built on
Verandah Deck and offers the ambience of London's fashionable
shopping.The White Star Bar features nautical memorabilia of the
company's history.On the Main Deck, a new Computer Learning Centre offers classes
as well as business and e-mail communications.The former Club Viking nightclub has assumed a new personality
as the Piccadilly Club.Two split-level Grand Suites have been renamed the Carmania
Suite and the Saxonia Suite, reflecting two more names from
illustrious Cunard ships of the past, the cruise line said.
Cunard also stressed the Caronia's programs, including unusual
itineraries and "elevated on-board enrichment."
The ship's 12- to 21-day itineraries include Caribbean, South
America, Europe and Mediterranean cruises. In addition, the Caronia
will offer transatlantic liner service and revive Cunard's
historical voyages between Southampton, England, and Cape Town,