This Memorial Day, we’ll look at how Carnival Cruise Line has chosen to recognize our men and women in the service. Carnival has had a long history of honoring our Armed Services personnel. On each and every cruise they do, they host a Military Appreciation event to celebrate current and past members of the armed forces. Many of their cruises have a “Veteran’s Tea Time Meet and Greet” where past service members can get together. They also offer military cruise deals throughout the year.
Carnival took this appreciation to the next level when they launched the Carnival Panorama in 2019. While doing one of the final tours of the ship before going into service, Carnival President Christin Duffy saw the empty space that’s usually home to the Skybox Sports Bar and had an idea to transform it into a space honoring our heroes. That put the wheels in motion, and 39 days later, the Heroes Tribute Bar & Lounge was born. Such dramatic changes are rarely made to a ship that close to its launch date, and it was a surprise to everyone when Carnival broke the news.
The change in space from Skybox sports bar makes sense. On my last two sailings, the bar was almost completely empty unless there was a game on (which made it great to get a drink with no line). Now the bar can also serve as a meeting place and welcoming place to service members and their families. It can also remind everyone of the heroes who help us every day.
The venue still has plenty of TVs to watch sports, but it’s been done with a patriotic theme. The walls are adorned with photos and messages centering on three main themes: “Welcome Home,” “Thank You for Your Service,” and “America’s Heroes.” They have plans to display donated uniforms in the future as well. It’s a well-done concept. The mixing of contemporary and traditional decor makes it feel much more than just an upscale VFW. It a welcoming space for everyone.
Carnival also has created a souvenir glass, and for each one sold, they donate $1 to Operation Homefront. This organization provides military families with rent-free housing and helps wounded veterans and their loved ones back on their feet.
While it may seem like just a cute PR story, it makes sense why there is such a push for military honor on the line. Duffy’s father and uncles were all in the military, and her son is joining the Army as a JAG officer.
Currently, the Carnival Panorama and Carnival Mardi Gras are the only ships with the Heroes Tribute Bar, but there are plans to eventually convert all the sports bars in the cruise line to the new theme.