Carnival Radiance christened by Dr. Lucille O'Neal after $200 million bow-to-stern makeover

Dec 14, 2021

The much-anticipated new and updated Carnival vessel was finally christened on December 12 in a naming ceremony in Long Beach, California by the ship’s godmother Dr. Lucille O’Neal. Spiced up with fun and family celebration, this heartfelt ceremony was opened with a video of the hardworking crew, preparing the vessel for guests, named “We Are Family.” The champagne pouring atop a traditional ship’s bell helped by Lucille and her son, Carnival Chief Fun Officer Shaquille O'Neal as featured guests of the event presented the symbolic official naming. The grand finale was enriched with the gospel rendition of “We Are Family” sang by The City of Refuge Sanctuary Choir from Gardenia, California. 

The renovation of Carnival Radiance, former Carnival Victory has gone through a huge transformation in Cadiz, Spain, costed  $200 million and now it is Carnival's third ship sailing year-round from Long Beach, joining Carnival Panorama and Carnival Miracle.

"Carnival Radiance features all of Carnival's fan favorites and more, so we are beyond excited to finally welcome her to the West Coast and to our fleet," said Christine Duffy, president of Carnival Cruise Line. "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 with a $25,000 donation to the Odessa Chambliss Quality of Life Fund that honors the lifetime accomplishments of Lucille's mother who worked in the medical field as a nurse. The fund is to help students interested in nursing and education. 

"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."

Before naming of the ship, the mother-son duo started the evening by cutting a ribbon to officially open the Big Chicken, a restaurant on the sea created by Shaquille, which debuted on Mardi Gras, featuring dishes based on his family's recipes.

The inaugural cruise is with departure from the Port of Long Beach, a four-day cruise, visiting Ensenada and Catalina Island. The other one in this itinerary based in the West Coast is a three-day voyage calling at Ensenada. She joins Carnival Panorama operating week-long Mexican Riviera cruises and Carnival Miracle sailing four- and five-day Mexico voyages

Guy's Pig & Anchor Bar-B-Que Smokehouse created by Food Network star and longtime 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 Red Frog Pub are all features worth a visit and experiencing. 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. The hull of the ship has been adorned with the cruise line’s additional blue, red and white colors, fashioned after its flagship, Mardi Gras.