After a $200 million transformation into a new and updated ship, Carnival Radiance has been christened by its godmother and is ready to set sail on its inaugural voyage from Long Beach, California. The ship is now the third Carnival Cruise Line vessel sailing year-round from the popular embarkation port.
Carnival Radiance Christened
In a celebration of all things fun and family, Carnival Cruise Line christened Carnival Radiance on December 12, 2021 during its official naming ceremony. The heartfelt ceremony began with a “We Are Family” video of crew members preparing the ship for guests for the first time since she entered drydock in March, 2020.
The ship’s godmother, Dr. Lucille O’Neal, and her son, Carnival Chief Fun Officer Shaquille O’Neal, were featured guests. As part of the ceremony, Lucille and Shaquille helped pour champagne atop a traditional ship’s bell, officially naming the ship.
The City of Refuge Sanctuary Choir from Gardena, California rocked the house with a gospel rendition of “We Are Family” as guests waved light sticks during an emotional grand finale.
Carnival Cruise Line President Christine 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 as a nurse.
The fund’s mission is to provide financial support to students seeking careers in nursing and education. Lucille herself is an author and a philanthropist involved in many charities, including serving on the Orlando Ovarian Center Alliance board.
“We are beyond excited to finally welcome [Carnival Radiance] 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.”
In addition to officially naming the ship, Shaquille and Lucille also cut a ribbon to officially open Big Chicken, the second seagoing restaurant created by Shaquille, which debuted on Mardi Gras. Recipes at the popular restaurant are based on their family recipes.
“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.”
Transforming From Victory to Radiance
Carnival Radiance was formerly known as Carnival Victory before its spectacular $200 million transformation. The renovation was initially planned to last just 38 days, but began only days before the industry-wide shutdown brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic. Since March 2020, the ship has been out of service and awaiting its moment to begin a new life.
The ship was transformed from bow to stern at the shipyard in Cadiz, Spain. In addition to Big Chicken, new updates include Guy’s Pig & Anchor Bar-B-Que Smokehouse, the Heroes Tribute Bar, the Cucina del Capitano family-style Italian restaurant, Bonsai Sushi, and the Caribbean-inspired RedFrog Pub. New guest suites were added as well.
All of the ship’s public spaces have been transformed, including the water park, SportSquare, youth facilities, retail shops, Cloud 9 Spa, and the main show lounge. The ship’s exterior has also been adorned with the line’s new red, white, and blue hull livery.
The now 101,509-gross ton Carnival Radiance has a guest capacity of 2,895 at double occupancy, with 1,108 international crew members to provide exceptional service. The ship now belongs to the Sunshine class along Carnival Sunshine and Carnival Sunrise; both were also transformed from the Carnival Destiny and Carnival Triumph, respectively.
Carnival Radiance will set sail on its inaugural voyage December 13, a 4-night sailing to Ensenada and Catalina. The ship will also offer 3-night itineraries that call on Ensenada. She joins Carnival Panorama operating week-long Mexican Riviera cruises and Carnival Miracle sailing four- and five-day Mexico voyages.