Carnival Names First-Ever Ship Godfather for Carnival Venezia

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Carnival Cruise Line has announced that the new Carnival Venezia, currently making its way to New York on its inaugural sailing after joining the Carnival fleet, will not have a godmother, but will be the first of the line’s ships to have a ceremonial godfather.

Late night talk show host and comedian Jay Leno will have the honor, and will christen the ship in a naming ceremony on June 14, 2023.

Carnival Venezia Godfather Named

Carnival Venezia will be the first-ever Carnival cruise ship to have a godfather, rather than a godmother, Carnival Cruise Line has announced as the ship is less than two weeks from its formal christening.

“Carnival Venezia originally entered service for our Italian sister brand Costa Cruises and was christened in 2019, so she already has a godmother,” said Christine Duffy, president of Carnival Cruise Line.

Costa Venezia’s godmother is Gan Beiye, the matriarch of a Chinese family who are fans of Costa Cruises and had been sailing with the line for several years before Costa Venezia debuted. As the ship was designed for the Chinese cruise market and debuted in Shanghai, the relationship was a natural one.

Carnival Venezia Cruise Ship
Carnival Venezia Cruise Ship (Photo Courtesy: Carnival Cruise Line)

Now, as Costa Venezia prepares to debut in the Big Apple and bring “Carnival Fun, Italian Style” to cruise fans, it is only appropriate that the new ceremonial godparent be a New York native with Italian heritage.

“With Carnival Venezia joining the fleet and sailing from New York, we wanted to ensure a proper welcome for the ship and decided having a godfather would be both fun and appropriate,” said Duffy. “And when we thought of someone who would make a FUN godfather with Italian heritage, we knew Jay Leno would be the perfect godfather!”

Jay Leno and Carnival

Celebrated late night talk show host, comedian, and noted collector of vintage cars and motorbikes, Jay Leno is the ideal choice to welcome Carnival Venezia. He is a native of New Rochelle, New York, and the grandson of immigrants from Flumeri, Campania, Italy.

“I am truly honored to be named the godfather of Carnival Venezia. It was an offer I couldn’t refuse,” said Leno. “Carnival’s focus on FUN combined with the Italian theming of this ship is something that is truly unique. I’m also excited to have my very own cruise ship, although I think I’ll need a bigger garage!”

Jay Leno
Jay Leno (Photo Credit: Philip Pilosian / Shutterstock)

Leno is best known as host of the top-ranked late night talk show, The Tonight Show, from which he retired in 2014. He also produces and hosts the CNBC primetime series Jay Leno’s Garage, writes a regular column on car restoration and maintenance for Popular Mechanics, and is involved in multiple charitable causes.

Leno has also been involved with Carnival Cruise Line previously, having been part of the Carnival LIVE entertainment series.

The naming ceremony for Carnival Venezia will be Wednesday, June 14, 2023, in New York. Further details about the event have not yet been announced, but will include the traditional blessings for a new vessel to wish her and all who sail on her safety and fun.

The ship is currently in the midst of her first voyage, a 15-night transatlantic crossing from Barcelona to New York. Guests onboard the revitalized ship are enjoying port of call visits to Malaga, Spain; Gibraltar, UK; Lisbon and Ponta Delgada, Portugal; and Halifax, Nova Scotia.

It is a star-studded voyage indeed, not only with Jay Leno to join the ship in New York, but with Christine Duffy as well as Carnival’s Chief Culinary Officer, Emeril Lagasse, onboard for the beginning of the sailing.

New Vibes on a New Ship

Carnival Venezia has spent more than two months in wet and dry dock in Cadiz, Spain being refit into her new personality. While much of the ship’s Italian architecture has been preserved, new updates have incorporated Carnival Cruise Line’s unique and distinctive brand of fun aboard.

Costa Venezia Atrium
Photo Courtesy: Carnival Cruise Line

Now on the ship are popular Carnival venues such as Guy’s Burger Joint, Bonsai Sushi & Teppanyaki, the Fahrenheit 555 steakhouse, Camp Ocean, and more.

A new elevated Italian specialty restaurant, Il Viaggio, has also been added, offering regional specialties to bring authentic Italian fare to guests.

The ship’s exterior has also been updated to reflect her new cruise line, with new blue-and-gold livery to reflect Costa Cruises but with the patterning and graceful lines that match Carnival Cruise Line’s red-white-and-blue livery.

Carnival Venezia will remain homeported from New York sailing a variety of Bermuda, Bahamas, Canada, New England, and longer Caribbean itineraries through mid-December 2024, at which time she will be redeployed to Port Canaveral to offer Eastern, Western, and Southern Caribbean cruises as well as occasional Panama Canal sailings.

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