Lucille O’Neal, an author, speaker and philanthropist — and mother of Carnival Cruise Line brand ambassador Shaquille O’Neal — has been named godmother of the Carnival Radiance, which is set to debut in December following a $200 million renovation.
Carnival changed the name of the Carnival Victory to the Radiance after the ship underwent a bow-to-stern makeover during a drydock in Cadiz, Spain. The Radiance will homeport in Long Beach, Calif.
Lucille O’Neal will preside over the ship’s naming ceremony in Long Beach prior to its inaugural cruise on Dec. 13.
During the festivities, Lucille and Shaq will cut the ribbon to open Big Chicken, Shaq’s restaurant that made its debut on Carnival’s Mardi Gras this past summer.
“When Shaquille was named chief fun officer a couple of years ago, never in my wildest dreams did I think I would be named godmother of a cruise ship,” Lucille said in a statement. “To think that my name will be forever associated with Carnival Radiance and that I’m joining other esteemed women who have served as a Carnival godmother is truly an honor.”
Lucille established the Odessa Chambliss Center for Health Equity on the campus of Bethune Cookman University in honor of her late mother, Odessa Chambliss. The center focuses on health disparities, social determinants of health and social justice.
She is on the board of the Orlando Ovarian Center Alliance and is a president and co-founder of the Mothers of Professional Basketball Players, which supports the communities where their children live, work and play.
“Lucille’s longstanding commitment to caring for others is a reflection of what we look for in a godmother, and as the mother of our amazing chief fun officer Shaquille O’Neal, we also know she’s got some fun in her DNA so she’s the perfect choice for godmother of this beautiful ship,” said Christine Duffy, president of Carnival Cruise Line.
In her autobiography, “Walk Like You Have Somewhere to Go,” Lucille wrote about the importance of education, resuming her studies after raising her children and graduating cum laude with a bachelor’s degree from Bethune Cookman and completing a graduate program from the University of Phoenix. She was also awarded an honorary doctorate from Bethune Cookman.
New public spaces on the Radiance
New spaces added to the Radiance during its makeover include Guy’s Pig & Anchor Bar-B-Que Smokehouse created by Food Network star Guy Fieri; the Heroes Tribute Bar, saluting those in the Armed Forces; Cucina del Capitano, a family-style Italian restaurant; Bonsai Sushi; and the Caribbean-inspired RedFrog Pub.
All of the ship’s public spaces have been transformed, Carnival said, including the water park, youth facilities, retail shops, Cloud 9 Spa and a new Liquid Lounge home to Carnival’s Playlist Productions shows.
Carnival Radiance’s Long Beach-based schedule includes three-day cruises to Ensenada and four-day sailings to Ensenada and Catalina Island. She joins the Carnival Panorama operating week-long Mexican Riviera cruises and the Carnival Miracle on four- and five-day Mexico cruises.
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