Sign Up for Our Monthly Cruise Newsletter
The star-studded naming ceremony in November for Carnival Cruise Line’s new 4,000-passenger Carnival Vista was a salute to military families with a daylong celebration at Manhattan’s cruise terminal.
Grammy Award-winning singer Carrie Underwood, fresh from receiving the award for female vocalist of the year from the Country Music Association, performed for well over an hour. Champagne arrived by helicopter, and a choir of wives from branches of the military sang inspiring favorites.
Christine Duffy, president of Carnival Cruise Line, was joined by Carnival Corp. & Plc brass including chairman Micky Arison (with his wife, Madeleine), CEO Arnold Donald and chief financial officer David Bernstein, as well as Stein Kruse, CEO of Holland America Group, and Kathie Lee Gifford, “Today” show host. (Gifford is also a former Carnival spokesperson and her wines are served on the line’s ships.)
Carnival’s partnership with Operation Homefront, which provides U.S. military families with financial assistance and care for wounded warriors, was underlined by John Pray Jr., the nonprofit organization’s president and CEO.
Deshauna Barber, the first woman serving in the U.S. military to win the title of Miss USA, gave a heartfelt speech as the newly named godmother of Vista, telling the 700 members of military families in attendance that there is no stigma attached to post-traumatic stress disorder, an issue affecting military veterans that she says is close to her heart.
In addition to welcoming a new ship to the fleet, cruise lines often use inauguration celebrations as opportunities to express corporate philosophies and to publicly honor individuals.
Speaking on behalf of the cruise industry, Duffy told the military families invited onboard through Operation Homefront, “Because of you, we have the freedom to travel.”
Duffy notes that Carnival carries more active and retired military personnel than any other cruise line.