Carnival Sunshine: VP’s Exclusive Insights

The interview below took place on Tuesday with Carnival’s VP of Product Development, Lania Rittenhouse. Carnival Cruise Lines’s announcement to take Carnival Destiny, give it a $155-million dollar refurbishment, and change the name to Carnival Sunshine in April 2013 was the topic of discussion.

Lania Rittenhouse, VP of Product Development for Carnival Cruise Lines. (photo: CCL)

As vice president, of product development, Rittenhouse oversees the development of all guest-facing product features and services and oversees long-term planning for the line’s various ship refurbishment projects and the next generation of ships.

Host: The VP of Product Development is with us, Lania Rittenhouse, Lania, welcome back to Cruise Radio.

Lania: Thanks for the having me

Host: Lania, give us some of the highlights of this $155-million dollar renovation.

Lania: Wow, this is a very exciting undertaking for us. We are completely, like you said, doing one large makeover of the ship and turning the Carnival Sunshine into the ultimate experience for our guests.

We have worked on and tried to deliver some of the new and exciting Fun Ship 2.0 bars, restaurants, and entertainment that we recently rolled out on the Carnival Liberty. We will be folding some of those new properties on Carnival Sunshine, including Carnival Breeze.

With regards to dining options, we are going to see Guy’s Burger Joint, the BlueIguana Cantina with all our Mexican favorites, Cucina del Capitano, new branded steakhouse Fahrenheit 555, our terrific main dining rooms, and we’ll have another Asian-inspired eatery inside of our of Lido that’ll turn into a nighttime venue with full service and asian dishes for our guests.

Host: This is like Fun Ship 2.0 on steroids, you mentioned Guy Fieri of Guy’s Burger Joint, on top of adding names like Guy and George Lopez, can we expect any other big names to be announced?

Lania: We are also partnering with game show Hasboro but aside from our famous personalities like the Red Frog or Blue Iguana, those are the personalities at the moment.

Host: All these changes with Carnival Cruise Lines, I guess it all started last fall with Carnival Liberty and Fun Ship 2.0, what has the feedback been with the guests?

Lania: Way better than we ever imagined. We knew what we rolled out would really resonate with them but it’s just been terrific. We try to really pack in value for money and we try to launch these things without additional costs to guest and I think that has been an overwhelmingly homerun.

The product itself is just terrific. The burgers really are the best burgers at sea, the Mexican we have so much great feedback. People are just so excited to be there and have these new experiences so that’s why we have leveraged those and brought them onto Carnival Breeze and next Carnival Sunshine.

Host: So why did they change the name to Carnival Sunshine and ditch Carnival Destiny?

Lania: Our sun and fun is core to the Carnival brand and when we made the decision to really invest in this ship and really make her have all these new experiences and to keep her relevant and contemporary, it also transformed into the design directive.

We want it light, airy, very Caribbean inspired, blue skies, we wanted to bring the outdoors inside. So Sunshine came up as one of the names we were tossing around and became very relevant to what we thought of about the ship.

Host: She is the VP of Product Development for Carnival Cruise Lines, Lania Rittenhouse, so good to have you back with us.

Lania: Thanks for having me.

You can hear the audio of the interview on Episode 130 of Cruise Radio.

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