Carnival Vista, Carnival Cruise Line's newest and largest ship, was christened Friday, November 4, in New York City, at an event honoring the military which featured celebrities like Miss USA Deshauna Barber and singer Carrie Underwood.
Just before the late-afternoon christening ceremony, Carrie Underwood sang for more than an hour in an intimate concert that included military families as guests. After, Deshauna Barber - the 3,954-passenger ship's godmother and first-ever military member to win Miss USA - gave a heartfelt speech. She shared the advice from her recently departed mother to "cherish every day" and also talked of the strain that can come with being deployed. She stressed the importance of seeking out help if needed.
"There's no reason why you should feel as though you don't need resources or care or that you can't ask someone for help," she said.
Barber gave a nod to Carnival and Operation Homefront, a nonprofit that supports military families, for their initiatives to help support the armed forces. Carnival, Operation Homefront and Underwood teamed up to give 10 military families a private meeting with Underwood while she was on her Storyteller Tour. Those families were aboard Vista on Friday, as were about 700 other military members and family who lived in the local area.
Although there was a more serious undertone that focused on honoring military members, there was also lighthearted activity aboard the ship, which fit in with Carnival's "Honor. Family. Fun" theme.
Nearly 2,000 people – including current and former military members and their families, travel agents, media and Carnival executives - dined at restaurants such as a Guy Fieri-branded burger joint and Mexican eatery BlueIguana Cantina. Swanky cocktails were served at the pharmacy-themed Alchemy Bar, and and beer that was brewed on board was poured at Red Frog Pub and Brewery.
Guests lined up for activities such as the 800-foot-long SkyRide that hoisted users 150 feet above sea level. Patrons sat in individual carts and pedaled their way around a track that was designed as a suspended bike course.
Carnival calls Vista, which is its first new ship since 2012, the “most family-friendly ship.” Among other notable new features: A 455-foot-long water tube attraction and a three-deck high IMAX screen that is a 187-seat theater.
This marks Vista’s stateside debut. The 15-deck-high vessel first set sail in Europe in May.