Following a transformation involving over 7,000 people, Carnival Sunrise was officially named during a unique ceremony in New York City.
By the end of the day, the ultimate family heirloom had been passed on, a celebrity or two had been spotted and a one-of-a-kind christening had taken place.
From One Godmother To Another
Much about the day was unique, including the fact that the ship’s godmother is the daughter of the woman who originally held that title when the vessel sailed as the Carnival Triumph! Madeleine Arison, the wife of Carnival Corporation Chairman Micky Arison, held that honor on the ship before the transformation. And during Thursday’s naming ceremony, she handed that title over to their daughter, Kelly.
This kept a family tradition alive, given that Kelly’s grandmother, Lin Arison, held the same position on Sunrise’s sister ship, the Carnival Sunshine.
“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 the new godmother. “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.”
Before Kelly took to the stage to officially name the ship, Kathy Lee Gifford — longtime Carnival spokesperson and friend of the Arison family — entertained attendees with the story of how she beat out five other would-be reps for the position.
She mentioned that since no one in the industry was doing advertising campaigns at the time, the $10 million investment was considered a big risk… whereas such a campaign would now be considered a drop in the bucket.
Gifford knows a thing or two about the duties of godmother, having served in that position aboard both Carnival Celebration in 1987 and Carnival Ecstasy in 1991.
This naming was unique in that, rather than the usual ways in which a ship is christened, Carnival commissioned world-renowned Miami-based artist Romero Britto to design a towering, one-of-a-kind bottle featuring his signature vibrant colors and bold patterns. Following the official blessing, Kelly Arison and the captain clinked their champagne flutes and, after the crowd counted down from 5, streamers fell from the rafters, confetti filled the air and the large bottle let out a loud pop.
“Ladies and gentlemen,” said brand ambassador John Heald, “You are now officially on board the Carnival Sunrise!”
The Long Road To Sunrise
“The planning for this project began more than two years ago and involved 7,000 people who worked together to deliver this amazing transformation,” said Christine Duffy, president of Carnival Cruise Line. ”
Sunrise renovation was part of a $2 billion fleet-wide program which has seen improvements made to numerous ships. The next and final vessel to be impacted with be Carnival Victory which will undergo a transformation similar to the one Sunshine recently experienced.
Afterward, Victory will be reintroduced as the Carnival Radiance.
Carnival Sunrise will spend the summer in New York City, operating 4- to 14-day voyages before heading to Fort Lauderdale, Florida. There, her winter schedule will see her sailing to the Caribbean and the Bahamas, after which Sunrise will once again head to New York in the spring of 2020.