(4:05 p.m. EST) -- The 101,353-ton, 2,642-passenger Carnival Destiny, the largest cruise ship ever built when it launched in 1996, departs today on an 18-night transatlantic voyage -- its last voyage as Destiny.
Leaving Miami for Venice, the ship will make two last stops in Spain and two in Italy before disembarking passengers in Venice and heading to dry dock in Trieste for an unprecedented overhaul.
The once Guinness World Record holding ship turns 17 this year, and like any teenager, it will undergo a very distinct transformation (along with a sassy name change).
All cabins onboard will be redecorated to reflect a tropical theme; the popular RedFrog Pub will make an appearance (in addition to a multitude of other themed bars, vintage to video game); Guy Fieri's buzzed-about Burger Joint will be one of many new dining options added; and to guarantee that no stone was left unturned, a revamped sun deck, complete with cascading waterfall, will grace the new marquee.
The overhaul will be so complete and the vessel so different that the line will change the name of the ship from Carnival Destiny to Carnival Sunshine. The 49-day, $155 million dry dock will culminate in a ship re-naming ceremony in late April. The ship will then spend several months in the Mediterranean before transiting to its new homeport of New Orleans.
The complete revamp of Carnival Destiny is not the first of its kind for Carnival Corp., owner of Carnival Cruise Lines. The company previously overhauled a ship in its Costa Cruises fleet to the tune of 90 million euros and changed the ship's name from Costa Romantica to Costa neoRomantica.
Stay tuned for more information as the Carnival Destiny/Sunshine dry dock begins in just a few weeks. Follow along on our Carnival Sunshine page.