Carnival Radiance has been christened in a naming ceremony held in Long Beach, California, following her transformation from Carnival Victory in a $200 million refit and refurbishment.
The Godmother of Carnival Radiance, Dr. Lucille O’Neal and her son, Carnival Chief Fun Officer Shaquille O’Neal, hosted the naming ceremony, which kick starts her season on the West Coast.
Carnival Radiance underwent a $200 million bow-to-stern makeover and is Carnival’s third ship sailing year-round from Long Beach, joining Carnival Panorama and Carnival Miracle.
The naming ceremony began with a “We Are Family” video of Carnival Radiance crew members preparing the ship for guests, and was followed by a speech from Christine Duffy, President of Carnival Cruise Line.
“Carnival Radiance features all of Carnival’s fan favourites and more, so we are beyond excited to finally welcome her to the West Coast and to our fleet,” said Duffy.
“And having Shaq’s mom, Lucille, an accomplished speaker who donates her time and talent to a wide range of charitable organizations as the ship’s Godmother has made it even more special,” she added.
Duffy presented Lucille with a $25,000 donation to the Odessa Chambliss Quality of Life Fund that honours the lifetime accomplishments of Lucille’s mother who worked in the medical field as a nurse.
The fund’s primary mission is to provide financial contributions to help support students seeking a career in nursing and education.
As part of the ceremony, Lucille and Shaquille helped pour champagne atop a traditional ship’s bell, officially naming the ship.
“What a special evening it was to celebrate the debut of Carnival Radiance with my son by my side in what truly felt like a ‘We Are Family’ event,” said Lucille.
“It has been such a pleasure to be included in these exciting festivities, so I can only imagine how incredible it will be for guests to sail aboard this spectacular ship – they’re going to love it,” she added.
Prior to the naming ceremony, the evening kicked off with the mother-son duo cutting a ribbon to open Big Chicken, the second seagoing restaurant created by Shaquille, which debuted on Mardi Gras earlier this year.
Following the christening, Carnival Radiance departed from the Port of Long Beach on its inaugural four-day cruise. Her West Coast-based itineraries include three-day voyages to Ensenada and four-day sailings calling at Ensenada and Catalina Island.
Carnival Radiance joins Carnival Panorama operating week-long Mexican Riviera cruises and Carnival Miracle sailing four- and five-day Mexico voyages.
In addition to Big Chicken, new offerings added to Carnival Radiance include Guy’s Pig & Anchor Bar-B-Que Smokehouse created by Food Network star and long-time partner Guy Fieri; Heroes Tribute Bar saluting those that serve in the Armed Forces; Cucina del Capitano family-style Italian restaurant; Bonsai Sushi; and the Caribbean-inspired RedFrog Pub.
All of the ship’s public spaces have been transformed as well – including the water park, youth facilities, retail shops, Cloud 9 Spa and a new Liquid Lounge home to Carnival’s award-winning Playlist Productions shows.
As with other ships in the fleet, the ship has also been adorned with the line’s new red, white and blue hull livery fashioned after its flagship, Mardi Gras.