MIAMI (CBSMiami) Doral-based Carnival Cruise Lines unveiled a half-billion-dollar plan for upgrading more than a dozen of the line’s ships, drawing upon the appeal of comedian George Lopez, Food Network star Guy Fieri, and Miami’s DJ Irie to revamp ships in what Carnival is calling Fun Ship 2.0.
The announcement, made in New York Monday, will put Lopez in charge of all of the club’s comedy clubs and make him responsible for vetting all of the comedians hired to work on the ships. The line’s “Punchliner” comedy clubs will be re-branded with Lopez’s name.
Fieri, known for a number of Food Network shows including “Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives”, will create a joint of his own aboard the Carnival ships, known as “Guy’s Burger Joint”. The casual restaurant will include burgers designed by Fieri as well as a burger where cruisers can dress their own, and unlike other ships where a growing number of specialty restaurants have appeared, Carnival said there will be no extra charge for guests.
Miami’s DJ Irie, known for raising the roof at Miami Heat games and other events, was named Official DJ of Carnival Cruise Lines. Carnival CEO Mickey Arison is also owner of the Miami Heat.
Carnival said it has partnered with video game designer EA Sports to create the first EA Sports bar at sea, and for kids and amilies, the line has partnered with toy and game maker Hasbro who will create what the line calls “larger than life” game shows based on the company’s family board games.
The announcements Monday are part of an overall plan to enhance entertainment and dining aboard the line’s ships. The first to see the makeover will be the Carnival Liberty, which is based in Miami and which is returning from refurbishment in dry-dock later this month.
14 of the line’s ships are expected to be upgraded by 2015, and the company said the first phase of improvements will exceed $500 million.
Carnival is the world’s largest cruise company, and in addition to operation Carnival Cruise Lines, it also operates Princess Cruises, Holland America, Cunard, Seabourne, and Costa.