(4:45 p.m. EDT) -- Is Carnival Destiny on tap for a date with destiny?
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