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On May 23, the weather in New York City leaped up 20 degrees to meet the arrival of the 3,960-passenger Carnival Horizon, Carnival Cruise Line’s 26th ship, creating a perfect day for its naming.
The naming for Horizon, dubbed “Vista’s sista” by Carnival president Christine Duffy, centered on Carnival’s partnership with St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. There were deeply emotional moments with the 10 past and current patients from St. Jude who were onboard with their families and some of their art. (The artwork of 33 children from St. Jude is displayed in the three-deck-high Dreamscape in Horizon’s atrium.)Carnival has generated more than $16 million for St. Jude during its eight-year partnership with the hospital, and the line donated another $100,000 during the christening ceremony. It looks as though Carnival may exceed its goal of raising $18 million by 2020 for St. Jude.
During the event, Duffy announced that “Choose Fun” bumper stickers will be widely distributed with the new brand campaign, and that when anyone who posts on social media how they #ChooseFun (using that hashtag), Carnival will make a donation to St. Jude.Richard Shadyac Jr., president and CEO of the American Lebanese Syrian Associated Charities (ALSAC), the fundraising and awareness organization for St. Jude, pointed out that the 56-year-old St. Jude facility founded by Danny Thomas is a place that children and their families can turn to when local childhood cancer centers do not have enough resources. Shadyac also noted that in 1962, there was only a 4 percent recovery rate for children with leukemia. Now, the survival rate for the cancer — which dominates the organization’s efforts — is 94 percent, and St. Jude is passionately working to eradicate childhood cancer altogether.
Shadyac praised Carnival for helping enable the vital research necessary for pediatric disease at St. Jude, as well as for providing fun activities for patients during the event, such as dance sessions and interaction with Dr. Seuss characters. “They get to just be kids for a while,” he said.Shadyac also pointed out that the donations from people and organizations like Carnival have allowed the hospital to keep its promise that no family ever receives a bill from St. Jude for treatment, travel, accommodations or food.The godmother of Horizon, Queen Latifah — a Grammy, Golden Globe and Screen Actors Guild Award-winner and an Academy Award nominee — is also a strong supporter of St. Jude. She gave the christening speech and poured a magnum of champagne over Horizon’s bell during the naming ceremony. Later, she performed for a packed and enthusiastic crowd in Horizon’s Liquid Lounge in a lip-sync battle against Jake Elliott, a football placekicker for the Philadelphia Eagles and a Super Bowl winner. (The lip-sync battle, modeled after the television series, is being introduced throughout Carnival’s fleet.)Latifah won the lip-sync contest with classic hit “It’s Raining Men” by The Weather Girls, and Elliott, in an enormous blonde wig, was surprisingly good with Whitesnake’s “Here I Go Again.” Both were backed by dancers from Horizon’s Playlist Productions. The two also joined Duffy and Arnold Donald, CEO of Carnival Corporation and Plc, who displayed impressive moves while dancing and lip syncing to The Black Eyed Peas' “I Got a Feeling.”Following the naming celebration, Horizon departed to launch its four-day Bermuda cruises; these, along with eight-day Caribbean cruises out of New York, make up the season through September. The ship will then homeport in Miami for year-round six- and eight-day Caribbean sailings.
The DetailsCarnival Cruise Line www.carnival.com