Following a music-filled christening ceremony at the Miami cruise port Sunday night, Carnival Celebration, the cruise line’s largest cruise ship, will set sail Monday on her maiden voyage from the shores of the United States.
The six-night Caribbean cruise will continue the inaugural celebrations with Thanksgiving festivities as holiday guests experience all of the ship’s attractions, from the line’s second roller coaster to an Emeril Lagasse restaurant.
TPG Cruise Editor Erica Silverstein is on board to document all the fun.
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Carnival Celebration wasn’t the only new Carnival property to debut on Sunday. The festivities began with a groundbreaking ceremony for Carnival’s redesigned, state-of-the-art Terminal F in PortMiami: The F stands for “fun,” said Christine Duffy, president of the line known for her “Fun Ships.”
The line’s third terminal at the port and the largest in South Florida, Terminal F, will be one of the first to be ready for grounding in 2023. Passengers will appreciate the Captain’s Lounge waiting area with seating for 500 people, an immersive tunnel on the second level, and fresh digital imagery throughout.
Related: The Ultimate Guide to Carnival Cruise Line
After the ribbon cutting, the guests boarded the ship for the naming ceremony. To celebrate what is also Carnival’s 50th birthday and the transition from the original 1987 ship’s Celebration name to that name, Carnival selected Cassidy Gifford as the ship’s godmother, taking over the role of her mother, Kathie Lee Gifford, the first Carnival spokesperson. and godmother of the first Fiesta. Cassidy is an actress who appears in film and television roles, including “God’s Not Dead” and “The Gallows.”
In a small gathering before the official christening, he talked about growing up on the Carnival ships, where he loved the slides and pools. She spoke about the memories she had of spending time with her brother and her dad while her mom worked, emphasizing the family focus of the Carnival vacation.
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He then joined Duffy and Carnival brand ambassador John Heald on stage to name the ship. She pulled a candle-shaped lever on a Romero Britto-designed birthday cake to trigger the traditional splash of champagne against the ship’s hull as confetti rained down from the ceiling. The evening concluded with a concert by Kool & The Gang, known for their hit song “Celebration.”
About the Carnival Celebration
The second ship in Carnival’s Excel class, the 15-deck tall Carnival Celebration is a 181,808-ton, 6,630-passenger, 1-year-old sister ship to Carnival’s Mardi Gras. (Third sister Carnival Jubilee debuts in 2023.)
The two identically sized ships are 35% larger than the next largest Carnival ship currently afloat, the 3-year-old Carnival Panorama; only 11 other cruise ships in the world are bigger than these twins. For comparison, Royal Caribbean’s Wonder of the Seas, the world’s largest cruise ship, can hold 7,084 passengers.
Related: The 8 Types of Carnival Cruises, Explained
Beyond the size, Carnival Celebration has many similarities to Mardi Gras. Most impressively, it has a roller coaster, called Bolt: Ultimate Sea Coaster, on its upper deck. Your vehicles will reach speeds of approximately 40 miles per hour as they spin around an 800-foot-long track.
Carnival Celebration, like its sibling, will have a giant water park on its upper deck. It will also feature more suite options than other Carnival ships. Restaurants like Rudi’s Seagrill, Chibang (which mixes Mexican and Chinese food) and Emeril’s Bistro 1397 (Emeril Lagasse’s Creole favorites) return at Celebration.
Additionally, the ship will be powered by liquefied natural gas like her sister ship, the only two ships in Carnival’s fleet to feature this technology.
But the new container won’t be a complete copy of Mardi Gras. It will have three new “zones” (themed sections of the ship): Celebration Central, The Gateway and 820 Biscayne.
Related: The 5 Best Destinations You Can Visit on a Carnival Ship
Celebration Central is the area around the central atrium, which features several bars that pay homage to the history of the cruise line. The Aquaria Bar is decorated with an ocean-themed glass mural that was originally found on Carnival Victory, and the Tropicale Bar is named after the Carnival ship that debuted the line’s famous red, white, and blue split funnel.
The Gateway is a two-story area themed around the joys of travel. Its 12 high-definition multimedia virtual windows will display scenes from around the world, tailored to the theme of the night. The food, drinks and entertainment in the area will match the theme, which could be Mexico Lindo or abroad in Europe. The new Latitudes bar will evoke a classic train station and will feature a special happy hour every night.
Finally, 820 Biscayne will be Carnival Celebration’s tribute to Miami. Its Bar 820 will serve martinis and other South Florida-inspired cocktails, as well as Cuban coffee. Like Miami, this area will have a variety of dining options, ranging from Deco Deli and Miami Slice (for pizza) to Italian Cucina del Capitano and Rudi’s Seagrill.
Return zones include Summer Landing, Lido, and The Ultimate Playground.
Related: Carnival’s Guide to Cabins and Suites
Carnival Celebration is scheduled to sail six to eight day voyages to the Bahamas and the Caribbean from where else? —Miami. Rates start at $449 per person, excluding taxes and fees.
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