On the heels of being named the godmother of Carnival Cruise Lines earlier this year, rapper/actress/businesswoman Queen Latifah named Carnival’s newest ship, Carnival Horizon, at a naming ceremony in May that included an entertaining lip synch battle between Latifah and Philadelphia Eagles Super Bowl champion Jake Elliott.
Carnival was in the news back in January when NBA Hall of Famer and TNT commentator Shaquille O’Neal was named Carnival’s Chief Fun Officer.
The evening, which took place aboard the docked ship on the west side of Manhattan amid journalists, guests, and travel agents, also featured artwork from a group of young artists from St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. Their three-deck-high LED sculpture, Dreamscape, sits on display in the ship’s atrium.
Guests were treated to food and beverages from a number of the ship’s restaurants as well as an overnight stay in the ship’s cabins. On May 24, the ship’s summer schedule began with a four-day cruise to Bermuda.
“Carnival Horizon’s naming ceremony was one of our best yet, with Queen Latifah carrying out her duties as godmother then battling it out with Super Bowl champion Jake Elliott of my hometown Philadelphia Eagles in an entertaining Lip Sync Battle,” said Christine Duffy, president of Carnival Cruise Line. “We were also delighted to showcase the wonderfully talented children from St. Jude whose artwork on the Dreamscape will be forever associated with this spectacular ship,” she added.
During the ceremony, Duffy thanked Carnival Corporation CEO Arnold Donald, among other Carnival employees. “I want to thank our team of 1,200 amazing and dedicated crew members, and the 40,000 Carnival employees who have brought this ship to life,” she said.
“We even have the first-ever Victoria’s Secret retail store on the high seas,” Duffy touted.
She also noted that Carnival is a huge supporter of Operation Homefront, a military partnership that serves military families.
Latifah seemed equally approving of Carnival Horizon. “My time aboard Carnival Horizon was nothing short of incredible,” she said. “In addition to having the honor of serving as the ship’s godmother, meeting the amazing kids from St. Jude and their families and squaring off against Jake in an all-out Lip Sync Battle is certainly something I will always cherish.”
“This is an absolute thrill for our patients and their families to have their artwork featured as a permanent display on this magnificent ship,” said Richard Shadyac Jr., president and CEO of ALSAC, the fundraising and awareness organization for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. “The ongoing support of Carnival team members and their customers around the globe for our lifesaving mission plays a critical role in advancing research and treatment for pediatric cancer and other life-threatening diseases.”
Some of the ship’s highlights include the first-ever Dr. Seuss water park; a new teppanyaki venue; Smokehouse Brewhouse, a unique dining concept that combines real deal BBQ favorites created by Food Network star and longtime partner Guy Fieri, along with four craft beers brewed on board by brewmaster Colin Presby; SkyRide; an IMAX Theatre; a Havana section with its own Cuban-themed bar and pool; and Family Harbor with extra-roomy staterooms and the Family Harbor Lounge.