Shaq gives mom an assist on Carnival Radiance renaming

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Author and philanthropist Lucille O’Neal pours Champagne on a ship's bell as part of the naming ceremony for Carnival Cruise Line’s Carnival Radiance. In attendance were, at left, O'Neal's son, Carnival Chief Fun Officer Shaquille O’Neal, and Carnival president Christine Duffy, and Carnival Corp. CEO Arnold Donald, right.
Author and philanthropist Lucille O’Neal pours Champagne on a ship's bell as part of the naming ceremony for Carnival Cruise Line’s Carnival Radiance. In attendance were, at left, O'Neal's son, Carnival Chief Fun Officer Shaquille O’Neal, and Carnival president Christine Duffy, and Carnival Corp. CEO Arnold Donald, right. Photo Credit: Carnival Cruise Line

Author and philanthropist Lucille O'Neal named Carnival Cruise Line's Carnival Radiance Dec. 12 in a ceremony in Long Beach, Calif. 

The Radiance is the former Carnival Victory, which underwent a bow-to-stern makeover and was renamed. 

O'Neal's son, Carnival Chief Fun Officer Shaquille O'Neal, was a featured guest, and prior to the naming ceremony, kicked off the festivities with a mother-son ribbon-cutting to officially open Big Chicken, Shaquille O'Neal's second seagoing restaurant, which debuted on the Mardi Gras earlier this year and features dishes based on his family's recipes. As part of the ceremony, Lucille and Shaquille poured Champagne atop a traditional ship's bell, officially naming the vessel. 

"What a special evening it was to celebrate the debut of Carnival Radiance with my son by my side in what truly felt like a 'We Are Family' event," said Lucille. "It has been such a pleasure to be included in these exciting festivities, so I can only imagine how incredible it will be for guests to sail aboard this spectacular ship -- they're going to love it." 

Lucille established the Odessa Chambliss Center for Health Equity on the campus of Bethune-Cookman University and 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.

"Carnival Radiance features all of Carnival's fan favorites and more, so we are beyond excited to finally welcome her to the West Coast and to our fleet," said Christine Duffy, president of Carnival. "And having Shaq's mom, Lucille, an accomplished speaker who donates her time and talent to a wide range of charitable organizations as the ship's godmother has made it even more special."

Duffy presented Lucille with a $25,000 donation to the Odessa Chambliss Quality of Life Fund that honors the lifetime accomplishments of Lucille's mother who worked in the medical field as a nurse. The fund's primary mission is to provide financial contributions to help support students seeking careers in nursing and education.

The Radiance will be Carnival's third ship sailing year-round from Long Beach, joining the Carnival Panorama and the Carnival Miracle. The ship's itineraries include three-day voyages to Ensenada, Mexico, and four-day sailings calling at Ensenada and Catalina Island, Calif. 

In addition to Big Chicken, new spaces on the Radiance include Guy's Pig & Anchor Bar-B-Que Smokehouse created by Food Network star Guy Fieri; Heroes Tribute Bar saluting those that serve in the armed forces; Cucina del Capitano family-style Italian restaurant; Bonsai Sushi; and the Caribbean-inspired RedFrog Pub.

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