Carnival Cruise Line is to drydock the ‘Carnival Victory’ in 2020 before renaming her ‘Carnival Radiance’.
This $200 mill refurbishment project represents the final phase of a $2 bill fleet enhancement programme, which was launched in 2011.
‘Carnival Victory’s’ refurbishment will add the line’s culinary, bar and entertainment innovations and complete an ‘any ship, any port, any itinerary’ level of service and offerings across its fleet of 26 ships.
Following a 38-day dry dock in Cadiz, Spain, ‘Carnival Radiance’ will enter service in 2020. Homeport and itinerary details will be announced in mid-November, Carnival said.
“We have been investing in our products, amenities and experience offerings at unprecedented levels, which are driving higher results in guest satisfaction, passenger yields and on board revenue,” said Christine Duffy, Carnival Cruise Line President.
“Our guests and travel agent partners can count on a high degree of consistency and quality vacation offerings across all our fleet and homeports regardless of what ship they’re sailing on.
“Ultimately, this effort is about driving demand by giving each and every guest a memorable vacation and offering a reason to come back to Carnival again and again. And it’s clearly working based on extremely positive feedback from the more than five million guests we carry each year,” she said.
As part of the fleet enhancement programme, popular features are almost consistent across the fleet through a combination of branded offerings, which provide guests with a consistent level of dining, entertainment and amenities, the company claimed.
Since the start of the programme, Carnival has completed refurbishments on more than 20 ships, taken delivery of three new ships and has three additional ships scheduled for delivery through 2022.
Since the fleet enhancement programme was launched, Carnival’s annual passenger count has grown from 4.1 mill to 5.2 mill guests; the number of children under 18 sailing annually has grown from 650,000 to 800,000; its employee base has grown from 34,000 to 40,000; its voyage operations have grown from 1,400 to 1,700 sailings per year; and its lower berth count has grown from 58,000 to 70,000.
“Our guest satisfaction ratings continue to trend upward reflecting our ability to exceed our guests’ expectations by delivering an excellent experience. And our strong product offerings and outstanding facilities allow our friendly and attentive crew members to focus on delivering first-class customer service, which they do in unmatched ways every day,” Duffy said.
As Carnival completes this capital investment phase and fleet expansion programme, it is focusing more intensely on providing a better on board technology experience for guests.
For example, the Carnival HubApp is now available across all 26 ships in the fleet and running ahead of projections with regard to customer adoption. Since its introduction in January, 2015, it has generated more than 4.5 mill downloads from Apple’s App Store and Google Play, earning a 4.6+ rating.
Recent data shows that nearly two thirds of all staterooms had at least one guest who downloaded the app, and more than half of all guests interacted with the HubApp at least once during the cruise.
More than 20% of on board specialty dining and tour excursion purchases are placed using the HubApp, contributing to the double digit lift in on board revenue since the HubApp was introduced.
This summer on its two new ‘Vista’ class vessels, 40% of guests purchased the HubApp’s on board chat feature and the HubApp is also driving internet revenue, with penetration now averaging more than 50% of all guests across the fleet.
The enhanced NextGen connectivity system has proven successful on ‘Carnival Horizon’ and ‘Carnival Vista’, enabling fast and reliable Wi-Fi at sea, Carnival claimed. Further deployment of this technology on ‘Carnival Radiance’ will provide even more guests the opportunity to enjoy superior connectivity while they access social media sites, news, email or even stream their content.
Carnival is now piloting a ‘pizza anywhere’ delivery capability on select vessels with the eventual goal of allowing guests to order food and drink options directly from the HubApp for delivery to their location on board. Along with the added HubApp benefits, Carnival is investing in an enhanced Wi-Fi infrastructure to bring more robust service across the Carnival fleet by 2021.
“We are excited by the exciting new choices added across our fleet, but more importantly by the positive reaction from our guests. When you combine all the great amenities and offerings on board with the best employees in the cruise industry, we have a recipe for success that will continue to fuel our growth,” Duffy concluded.