A message from Cruise Critic: During this unprecedented time throughout the world and across the cruise industry, it is important to note that article information might be impacted by cruise line hiatuses and port closures due to COVID-19. For the latest information, please visit our regularly updated article on what cruisers need to know about coronavirus.
In 2020, five cruise lines are putting ships under the knife, taking them from "just OK" to knockouts back at the top of their game. Refurbishments will add features that range from thrilling water parks and new dining concepts to suite-exclusive spaces and expanded spa facilities.
In no particular order, here are the ships getting significant refurbishments in 2020, and why you'll want to know all about them.
Work on Carnival Radiance has been halted due to the COVID-19 global pandemic. The re-launch of the ship has been delayed until at least November 2020.The vessel known as Carnival Victory goes into dry dock March 18, 2020, where it will undergo a 38-day, $200-million facelift that will see almost the entire ship reimagined. In fact, the changes will be so extreme, it will, for all intents and purposes, be an entirely new ship when it emerges. To mark that change, Carnival will rename the ship Carnival Radiance.Why You'll Care: Carnival Victory has only four dining venues and just one water slide as its only top deck attraction. When it emerges from dry dock, the ship, will boast 12 free and extra-fee dining options, and adrenaline-pumping outdoor features, including a ropes course and a WaterWorks water park with two 200-foot-plus-long water slides and a 75-gallon PowerDrencher tipping bucket.The ship will also get the fun and funky RedFrog Pub and a reimagined Piano Bar 88. All cabins will also be refitted with new beds and furniture.
Royal Caribbean has postponed the amplifications of both Allure of the Seas and Explorer of the Seas. New dates for the refurbs have not been announced.Royal Caribbean International enters the third year of its four-year, $900-million refurbishment journey with three more dry docks in 2020. Freedom of the Seas will be the first up, followed by Allure of the Seas and Explorer of the Seas, all in the first half of the year. Updates will include the continued rollout of water slides, a reimagined pool deck and a range of fun outdoor and indoor activities, as well as nightlife and dining options.Why You'll Care: All three ships will receive practically the same doozy of a refurbishment, with just a few key differences. Each $100-million-plus revitalization will include a new pool deck design -- complete with daybeds, hammocks and shaded casitas, a water park with two slides (Cyclone and Twister), a dedicated escape room and pop-up glow-in-the-dark laser tag experience. New lounges and bars will include The Lime and Coconut, and Playmakers Sports Bar & Arcade. Freedom of the Seas will also get an all-new Izumi Hibachi & Sushi eatery.Allure of the Seas will have the most extensive of the three refurbs, lasting 58 days and costing $165 million. In addition to all the same changes Freedom and Explorer will see, Allure will also get an Ultimate Abyss slide, the Music Hall, a third water slide, Portside BBQ, the Bionic Bar and the Spotlight Karaoke lounge.