Wet weather in the Sunshine State did not put a damper on the festivities as Carnival Cruise Line officially welcomed its newest Excel-class ship, Carnival Celebration, which was christened in Miami, Florida.
The star-studded event included appearances and attendance by cruise line executives, shipyard executives from Meyer Turku, where Carnival Celebration was constructed, the ship’s godmother and god-grandmother, as well as key figures for different elements of the ship, including Emeril Lagasse, Romero Britto, Rudi Sodamin, and more.
Also aboard was a record number of back-to-back guests, 200 passengers who just completed the ship’s maiden voyage, a 14-night transatlantic sailing from Southampton, England.
In addition to the ship’s christening, the evening included special onboard dedications as well as the ribbon cutting for the cruise line’s new PortMiami terminal.
Carnival Celebration Christened
The long-awaited naming and christening for Carnival Celebration was properly celebrated on Sunday evening, just hours after Carnival’s new flagship first arrived at its new homeport in Miami for the very first time.
This naming ceremony of our new flagship Carnival Celebration is the perfect culmination of our 50th birthday as this spectacular ship honors our past and signifies the fun and growth ahead,” said Christine Duffy, president of Carnival Cruise Line.
“Carnival Celebration builds on the success of our incredible Mardi Gras and the many innovations we introduced with our Excel-class, including a top-deck roller coaster, and offers unique features all her own that give guests a truly incredible new cruise experience to have fun and make memories,” Duffy added.
The naming ceremony was hosted by Carnival Cruise Line brand ambassador John Heald in Celebration Central, the three-story midship space that will be used for production shows, game shows, and more.
The evening was filled with reverent maritime traditions, beginning with the singing of the national anthem and an official religious blessing for the safety of all who will sail on the new ship and who live in the communities she serves.
Via remote operation, Carnival Celebration‘s godmother, Cassidy Gifford, released the oversized champagne bottle that broke across the name on the ship’s bow, officially christening the new ship, while confetti scattered over the assembled guests.
A stunning aerialist performance and live music was part of the event, featuring the ship’s amazing performers and offering a taste of the spectacular entertainment guests will enjoy onboard. Duffy’s remarks included commentary on Carnival Cruise Line’s upcoming fleet additions.
Including Carnival Celebration, five new ships will join the Fun Ship fleet in the next 18 months: Carnival Luminosa which is already sailing in Australia, as well as Carnival Venezia, Carnival Firenze, and coming in 2023, Carnival Jubilee, the next sister ship in the Excel class.
Duffy also thanked many groups and individuals involved in Carnival Celebration, including “the backbone of it all – 1,800 Carnival Celebration team members.”
Of the crew complement for Carnival Celebration, 50 team members on the new ship also worked on the original Celebration, in service from 1987 to 2008. In fact, Carnival Celebration‘s captain, Vincenzo Alcaras, first served as a deckhand on the original Celebration.
After the formal naming, guests and dignitaries were treated to a special live concert from Kool & the Gang, performing “Celebration” – the perfect song for the new ship, and one often played on Carnival cruises.
Even More to Celebrate
In addition to naming the entire vessel, different onboard dedications and ribbon cuttings for special spaces were part of the evening event.
Emeril’s Bistro had an official ribbon cutting, as did the new Effy store onboard, where the specially curated “Return to Sea” collection is available with pieces chosen by Christine Duffy.
A dedication event was also held at The Godmother Staircase, which is located mid-ship on deck 7. The feature is dedicated to the ship’s godmother, with information for guests to learn more about her.
The naming ceremony was also preceded by a formal ribbon cutting at the new Terminal F, Carnival Cruise Line’s dedicated terminal at PortMiami.
Carnival Celebration will depart Miami on Monday, November 21, on her first Caribbean sailing, a 6-night Eastern Caribbean itinerary calling on Grand Turk, the Dominican Republic, and Nassau. The ship will homeport from Miami year-round, offering Eastern, Western, and Southern Caribbean itineraries.
The new 183,521 gross ton flagship is the second in the LNG-powered Excel class and sister to the Mardi Gras, which joined the fleet in 2021. Carnival Celebration has a guest capacity of 5,374 at double occupancy.