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CELEBRATE GOOD TIMES: Carnival christens new flagship in Miami

Carnival Cruise Line’s new flagship Carnival Celebration arrived at its PortMiami homeport and was christened by actress Cassidy Gifford on Sunday evening. The festivities were befitting of the ship’s name and underscored Carnival’s year-long celebration of “50 years of fun.”

An innovative Excel-class sister to the ground-breaking Mardi Gras, Carnival Celebration is launching year-round service from its hometown of Miami.

“Tonight’s naming ceremony of our new flagship Carnival Celebration is the perfect culmination of our 50th birthday as this spectacular ship honours our past and signifies the fun and growth ahead,” said Christine Duffy, president of Carnival Cruise Line, who noted the unique features of the ship, including a a top deck roller coaster.

Duffy spoke before an audience gathered for the ceremony in the ship’s three-deck-high atrium, Celebration Central. Carnival Celebration Godmother Cassidy Gifford christened the ship, with a traditional breaking of a champagne bottle, alongside Capt. Vincenzo Alcaras. Gifford was also joined by her mother, Kathie Lee Gifford, who served as godmother of Carnival Celebration’s namesake, M/S Celebration, which was similarly christened in 1987.

Along with an impromptu performance by Kathie Lee, who sang the memorable tune to the commercials that helped to popularize the Carnival brand in the 1980s, attendees were also treated to a preview of Carnival Celebration’s spectacular entertainment programming, including an aerialist performance and a concert by Kool & The Gang, who capped off the night with their dance classic, “Celebrate!” In addition, the event was broadcast online so Carnival fans could share in the festivities from anywhere.

Kathie Lee performing

Carnival Celebration’s first guests to board the ship from Miami departed Moday on a special six-day Thanksgiving cruise, with visits to Grand Turk; Amber Cove and Nassau. On Nov. 27, the ship will begin a rotation of week-long Eastern and Western Caribbean sailings that depart every Sunday and visit popular destinations, such as the Dominican Republic and St. Thomas, as well as Cozumel and Costa Maya, Mexico.

Ribbon cutting on Effy Jewelry Store

The ship

Carnival Celebration accommodates more than 5,200 guests and features more than 20 dining venues, and a dozen bars and lounges across six unique zones. The ship’s Miami-themed zone, 820 Biscayne, is named after Carnival’s first headquarters address and is designed as a tribute to Miami’s cultural vibe and its dining and beverage offerings.

The ship’s top deck features the award-winning all-electric roller coaster BOLT: Ultimate Sea Coaster, which has been operating on Mardi Gras since its debut in 2021. The top deck is also home to the resort-style Loft 19, which can be accessed directly from premium category Excel suites – one of 11 styles featured across 180 total suites on board. The ship boasts over 2,600 staterooms in all.

Carnival Celebration is also the second ship in the Carnival fleet, and the first to homeport in Miami, with a Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) propulsion system, which is part of Carnival Corporation’s pioneering green cruising platform.

At the Sunday ceremony, chef Emeril Lagasse cut a ceremonial ribbon on his second restaurant at sea, Emeril’s Bistro 1397 inside Carnival Celebration’s The Gateway zone, a first-of-its-kind concept in cruising that includes a new travel-inspired bar concept, Latitudes, that evokes a classic airport or train station with a modern take on a vintage “departures” board.

Terminal F PortMiami

Carnival’s newly redesigned and expanded Terminal F at PortMiami opened its doors in conjunction with Carnival Celebration’s arrival.

The terminal’s new clean and open design allows for exceptional efficiency and flexibility and maximizes technology so guests move through the embarkation process quickly and enjoy a more seamless boarding experience.

Digital media experiences are built into all three levels of the new terminal, including an immersive tunnel on level two that guests will pass through. The digital screens showcase images of the ship, destinations, underwater seascapes, and the nighttime sky.

Adding Carnival Celebration at Terminal F, now five of Carnival’s 24-ship fleet are homeported in Miami. Going forward, Carnival expects to embark more than 20,000 guests per week from PortMiami.

First published at Travel Industry Today

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