The vessel, which on its debut in 1996 was the biggest and boldest cruise ship the industry had ever seen, has since been surpassed in size and in style, but a reported upcoming makeover may well return it to prominence. According to an online dispatch by Cruise Business Review (CBR) earlier this week, Carnival Cruise Lines will dry-dock Destiny in early 2013 for more than a month, during which the Lido Deck will be "completely refurbished," including the removal of the magrodome over the pool.
A Carnival spokeswoman was unable to confirm the report, saying in an e-mail that "we have several ships scheduled for dry-docks over the next couple of years but haven't unveiled details on any of them yet."
According to the CBR story, a number of major refurbishments are planned, though it placed no price tag on the project:
The Lido Deck will receive the most attention. The removal of the dome will make room for new restaurants and a relocated and revamped Camp Carnival.
The waterslide on Deck 10 will be moved from forward to aft and transformed into a WaterWorks, one of Carnival's signature water parks.
An opening in the middle of the two-deck-high Galaxy Forward Dining Room will be closed, and a specialty steakhouse and Italian restaurant will be built above it on Deck 4. The two newcomers will be for-fee venues, while Galaxy would remain Your Time dining.
All of the ship's 1,321 cabins will undergo facelifts, and the Spa Carnival will receive its own renewal.
When 101,353-ton, 2,642-passenger Carnival Destiny debuted 15 years ago, its extreme size (in the pre-Voyager of the Seas, pre-Oasis of the Seas era, that is) earned it an entry in the Guinness Book of World Records and a review in the Washington Post, which described it thusly: "Destiny wears its girth well, like a really big woman who learns to dress in a way that minimizes her size."
It was one of the early examples of cruising's transition from restrained tradition to resortlike ambience. Still, it was quickly surpassed -- at least in size -- by Princess' 109,000-ton, 2,620-passenger Grand Princess, which was launched a year later, and then by Royal Caribbean's 137,000-ton, 3,110-passenger Voyager of the Seas.
Carnival Destiny would be the first ship outside of Carnival's Fantasy class of vessels -- which underwent major upgrades as part of the line's Evolutions of Fun refurbishment program -- to get such a major upgrade. These changes, CBR publisher Teijo Niemela tells Cruise Critic, "will be an evolution on the 'Evolutions of fun.'"
--by Jodi Thompson, Cruise Critic contributor