The ceremony opened with a ‘We Are Family’ video of Carnival Radiance crew members preparing the ship for passengers.
The 2000-built Carnival Victory underwent a $200m bow-to-stern transformation at Navantia in Cádiz, Spain, and becomes Carnival’s third ship sailing year-round from Long Beach.
Lucille O’Neal poured Champagne atop a ship’s bell, officially naming Carnival Radiance. The City of Refuge Sanctuary Choir from Gardena, California, rocked the house with a gospel rendition of ‘We Are Family’ as the audience waved light sticks during the grand finale.
‘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,’ the godmother said. ‘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.’
New offerings added to Carnival Radiance include Shaq’s Big Chicken restaurant, Guy’s Pig & Anchor Bar-B-Que Smokehouse by Food Network star Guy Fieri, Heroes Tribute Bar saluting military service personnel, Cucina del Capitano family-style Italian restaurant, Bonsai Sushi and the Caribbean-inspired RedFrog Pub. Transformed spaces include the water park, youth facilities, shops, Cloud 9 Spa and a new Liquid Lounge, home to Playlist Productions shows. The ship also sports the line’s new red, white and blue livery.
‘Carnival Radiance features all of Carnival’s fan favorites and more …’ Carnival President Christine Duffy said. ‘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.’
Duffy presented Lucille O’Neal with a $25,000 donation to the Odessa Chambliss Quality of Life Fund that honors the lifetime accomplishments of Lucille’s mother, who worked as a nurse. The fund’s primary mission is to provide financial support to students seeking a career in nursing and education.
Before the naming, the evening kicked off with the mother-son duo cutting a ribbon to officially open Big Chicken, which debuted on Mardi Gras earlier this year, featuring dishes based on O’Neal’s family recipes.
Joins Carnival Panorama and Carnival Miracle
Carnival Radiance is to depart Monday on its inaugural four-day cruise. The ship’s itineraries include three-day voyages to Ensenada and four-day sailings to Ensenada and Catalina Island.
Radiance joins Carnival Panorama operating week-long Mexican Riviera cruises and Carnival Miracle sailing four- and five-day Mexico voyages.