Carnival Continues 50th Anniversary Celebrations with New Flagship Christening in Miami

Carnival Celebration Godmother Cassidy Gifford (center), joined by Christine Duffy, president of Carnival Cruise Line (center-right) and Kathie Lee Gifford (center-left) for Carnival Celebration's naming ceremony.
Carnival Celebration Godmother Cassidy Gifford (center), joined by Christine Duffy, president of Carnival Cruise Line (center-right) and Kathie Lee Gifford (center-left) for Carnival Celebration's naming ceremony.

Carnival Cruise Line’s new flagship Carnival Celebration arrived at its PortMiami homeport and was christened by actress Cassidy Gifford on 20NOV, underscoring the cruise line's year-long celebration of its 50th anniversary. An Excel-class sister to the Mardi Gras, Carnival Celebration is launching year-round service from its hometown of Miami.

"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.

Cassidy Gifford, Godmother of Carnival Celebration, and Christine Duffy, President of Carnival Cruise Line, christen Carnival's new flagship.

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, in 1987.

Along with an impromptu performance by Kathie Lee, who sang the 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 entertainment programming, including an aerialist performance. A concert by Kool & The Gang capped off the night, which included their dance classic, “Celebrate!” In addition, the event was broadcast online so Carnival fans could share in the festivities from anywhere.

An impromptu performance from Kathie Lee Gifford (center).
An impromptu performance from Kathie Lee Gifford (center).

Carnival Celebration’s first guests to board the ship from Miami will depart 21NOV on a special six-day Thanksgiving cruise, with visits to Grand Turk, Amber Cove and Nassau. On 27NOV, the ship will begin a rotation of week-long Eastern and Western Caribbean sailings that depart every Sunday and visit destinations such as the Dominican Republic and St. Thomas, as well as Cozumel and Costa Maya, Mexico.

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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 all-electric roller coaster BOLT: Ultimate Sea Coaster, which has been available to guests 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 more than 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.

Emeril Lagassé Cuts Ribbon on Emeril’s Bistro 1397, Welcomes Guests into The Gateway

Emeril Lagassé Cuts Ribbon on Emeril’s Bistro 1397
Emeril Lagassé cuts ribbon on Emeril’s Bistro 1397

Also on 20NOV, chef Emeril Lagassé 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.

Lagassé’s latest location builds on menu items from his first restaurant at sea on board Mardi Gras and adds more international offerings to match The Gateway zone’s theming. Transporting guests to far-away destinations by offering cuisines which complement the visuals shown on 12 virtual “windows” surrounding the space, the zone also features a 100-foot LED ceiling, sound effects and theatrical lighting that combine to create a changing environment inside a two-deck-high promenade.

The Gateway also includes a new travel-inspired bar concept, Latitudes, which evokes a classic airport or train station with a modern take on a vintage “departures” board. Together, Latitudes and Emeril’s Bistro serve international flavors which change to correspond with the zone’s nightly themes and featured cultures.

Terminal F Ribbon Cutting Ushers in New Era for Carnival at PortMiami

Carnival executives and Miami representatives cut ribbon on Terminal F.
Carnival executives and Miami representatives cut ribbon on Terminal F.

Carnival’s newly redesigned and expanded Terminal F at PortMiami opened its doors in conjunction with Carnival Celebration’s arrival. The cruise line held a ribbon cutting ceremony to mark the facility's grand opening, where Duffy was joined by Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava, Miami-Dade County Commissioners and Carnival Corp. & plc CEO Josh Weinstein.

Ahead of the ribbon cutting, Duffy announced a USD $25,000 donation from Carnival to the Miami Veterans Affairs Healthcare System in honor of the Miami-Dade leadership. The donation will support medical and health services to more than 6,000 women veterans in Miami-Dade.

The terminal’s new open design allows for flexibility to accommodate Carnival’s newest class of ships. The terminal also utilizes technology to allow guests to move through the embarkation process quickly and enjoy a "more seamless" boarding experience. Now, the Carnival cruise experience starts even before boarding the ship. 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 Port Miami.

For more information, visit Carnival Cruise Line's web site.

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