Carnival Cruise Line was pleased to welcome Tamara Jernigan, godmother of Carnival Pride, back to the high seas during a New Year’s cruise, 20 years after she originally christened the ship. While her recent cruise was not aboard her symbolic ship but was instead on sister ship Carnival Miracle, it is still a notable occasion for any godmother to set sail.
Godmother Returns Aboard Sister Ship
Being a cruise ship godmother is more than just one special night at a ship’s naming ceremony or waving a vessel off on its maiden voyage – it is a lifetime commitment, and godmothers are always welcomed back aboard their symbolic vessels and other related ships in the fleet.
Godmother Tamara Jernigan, an American astrophysicist and former NASA astronaut, returned to the high seas recently to ring in the new year on Carnival Miracle, sister ship to Carnival Pride, which she christened 20 years ago.
During the voyage, she was welcomed and celebrated by the crew, including being presented with a pair of photos: a current photo Carnival Pride, as well as a photo of Jernigan in front of the vessel 20 years ago with Chairman of Carnival Corporation Micky Arison and other Carnival leaders.
Jernigan also attended the ship’s military appreciation gathering, which is held on every Carnival cruise to recognize and honor the courage, commitment, and service of Armed Forces members and their families. Jernigan also attended a Question and Answer session with the cruise director, where guests interacted with her and asked questions.
Carnival Pride Christening
The Spirit-class Carnival Pride was first christened by Jernigan on January 7, 2002, in an afternoon dockside ceremony at Port Canaveral, before beginning a season of 7-night Eastern and Western Caribbean sailings from the Space Coast. At the time, Carnival Pride was the second of the Spirit-class vessels, and the ship became Carnival Cruise Line’s flagship when she first set sail.
Tamara Elizabeth “Tammy” Jernigan was selected as godmother for Carnival Pride because of her outstanding scientific achievements. Jernigan began working for NASA in 1981 and was selected as an astronaut candidate in 1985, officially entering the astronaut corps in 1986. Through her years of service, she completed five Space Shuttle program missions, logging more than 1,512 hours in space – more than any other female astronaut at that point in history.
Jernigan was the youngest female astronaut selected to participate in a manned space mission and served as part of the shuttle Discovery crew which performed the first docking to the International Space Station. Jernigan is also the recipient of the NASA Distinguished Service Medal and the NASA Outstanding Leadership Medal, and she retired from NASA in 2001.
Returning With Pride
This year’s 20-year anniversary voyage of the ship’s original christening is not the first time Jernigan has returned to a Carnival vessel. She sailed on her symbolic vessel, Carnival Pride, in the summer of 2008, enjoying a seven-day Mexican Riviera cruise.
As an honored guest at that time, she and her family were honored with a special tour of the ship’s bridge with then-master of the vessel, Captain Alessandro Galotto.