Following a $200 million dry dock that is already generating raves from guests sailing on its first cruises out of Norfolk, the transformed Carnival Sunrise was officially named today by godmother Kelly Arison – daughter of Carnival Corporation & plc Chairman Micky Arison and his wife Madeleine – in an elegant and memorable ceremony at the Manhattan Cruise Terminal in New York City.
As a Carnival godmother, Kelly Arison carries on a family tradition – her mother, Madeleine was godmother to the ship when it first entered service in 1999, and her grandmother Lin Arison served as godmother to Carnival Sunrise’s sister ship, Carnival Sunshine, in 2013.
“To be a part of Carnival Sunrise’s official naming is more than I could have ever imagined and an experience I’ll never forget,” said Kelly Arison. “The ship is absolutely beautiful, and I’m so honored to not only carry on my family’s legacy as godmother but to also use this opportunity to raise awareness for a well-deserving organization, the Ehlers-Danlos Society.”
In a unique twist, the naming of Carnival Sunrise was commemorated with Arison “uncorking” a custom-made, four-foot-high confetti-filled champagne bottle sculpture designed by world-renowned and Miami-based artist Romero Britto. The one-of-a-kind bottle features Britto’s signature vibrant colors, bold patterns and elements of cubism, pop art and graffiti, as well as Carnival-inspired designs. Smaller versions of the bottle will be sold onboard with proceeds benefiting the Ehlers-Danlos Society (EDS), an organization dedicated to serving those with joint hypermobility spectrum disorders, of which Arison is a strong advocate. Carnival also made a donation to the organization as part of the naming festivities.
Kathie Lee Gifford, who has had a longstanding 35-year relationship with Carnival, took a moment to address the crowd and extend her best wishes to Arison as godmother, a role that Gifford served for two Carnival ships, Celebration in 1987 and Ecstasy in 1991.
The event included a video featuring players from the Miami Heat, of which Micky Arison is a managing general partner. In the video, Dwyane Wade and Alonzo Mourning, as well as former Miami Heat player and Carnival’s Chief Fun Officer Shaquille O’Neal, congratulated Arison.
“The planning for this project began more than two years ago and involved 7,000 people who worked together to deliver this amazing transformation. We are so excited to welcome Carnival Sunrise to the Carnival Cruise Line fleet – she is already winning over our guests and providing so many new ways to Choose Fun,” said Christine Duffy, president of Carnival Cruise Line. “It has also been such a special and unique opportunity to have Madeleine Arison, who served as godmother at the original delivery of this vessel 20 years ago, pass the honor of serving as godmother to her daughter Kelly during our official naming ceremony today.”
As part of a fleetwide $2 billion ship enhancement program, Carnival Sunrise features all of Carnival’s popular branded food, beverage and entertainment innovations with new offerings such as Guy’s Burger Joint and Guy’s Pig & Anchor Bar-B-Que Smokehouse, in collaboration with Food Network star and longtime partner Guy Fieri; The Chef’s Table fine dining experience; cocktail pharmacy-themed Alchemy Bar; a new WaterWorks aqua park; SportSquare recreation area; and a Serenity adults-only retreat, among many others.
Carnival Sunrise will spend the summer in New York operating four- to 14-day voyages before repositioning to Fort Lauderdale, Fla., for a winter schedule of Caribbean and Bahamian cruises beginning in October. Carnival Sunrise then heads back to New York for another season of cruises beginning in spring 2020.