Carnival ships revamping drinks venues

Last year I finally broke down and took my first "pleasure" cruise. I hated it.

From the time we set foot on the Norwegian Cruise Lines love boat it was one non-stop bazaar, with staffers of all sorts trying to sell you an array of goods and services. Before leaving the Port of New York, we decided to check out the cocktail lounges, since we were waiting to meet up with some friends and we had been promised at least six different bars by the NCL literature.

What we found, besides poorly stocked bars that couldn't come through on my first two drink orders taken directly from the menu, was that one bar had been divided into three parts and given three different names and decors. Six bars, my eye.

Now I read that a fleetwide overhaul plan for Carnival cruise ships unveiled this week includes plans for five new branded drinking venues to be installed on multiple Carnival ships over the next four years as part of more than $500 million in upgrades.

I hope for the sake of Carnival's customers, these bars -- three of the designs are shown below -- are indeed standalone venues.

Incidentally, among other Carnival changes are a deal for on-board burger joints created by TV personality Guy Fieri and hiring entertainer George Lopez as its creative director for comedy and the rebranding of its shipboard comedy clubs around the star.

Red Frog Rum Bar design.

A sports bar branded around video game manufacturer EA Sports. 

The Library Bar with automatic wine dispensers.

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