Dr. Lucille O’Neal — author, philanthropist, and mother of Shaquille O’Neal, Carnival’s Chief Fun Officer and former NBA star — has been named godmother of Carnival Cruise Line’s newly-transformed ship Carnival Radiance.
Dr. O’Neal will preside over the ship’s naming ceremony in Long Beach, California prior to its first cruise since its $200 million dry dock on December 13.
During the celebrations, Lucille and Shaquille will cut the ribbon to officially open Big Chicken, the second restaurant at sea created by Shaq — the first at-sea Big Chicken debuted on Carnival’s brand-new ship Mardi Gras.
Lucille is an accomplished seeker who donates her time and talent to a wide range of charitable organizations, including serving on the board of the Orlando Ovarian Center Alliance. She is also president and co-founder of the Mothers of Professional Basketball Players.
O’Neal also established the Odessa Chambliss Center for Health Equity on the campus of Bethune Cookman University (BCU) in honor of her late mother, Odessa Chambliss. She focuses on health disparities, social determinants of health, and social justice.
The author of the biography “Walk Like You Have Somewhere to Go,” Lucille O’Neal is a shining example of the importance of education, resuming her studies after raising her children to graduate cum laude with a bachelor’s degree from BCU and completing a graduate program from the University of Phoenix. For these efforts, she was awarded an honorary doctorate from BCU.
“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!” said Lucille. “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’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.
Carnival Radiance was formerly called Carnival Victory. She was part of the Destiny-class, which also included Carnival Destiny and Carnival Triumph.
In 2013, Carnival Cruise Line debuted the completely renovated Carnival Sunshine, which was Carnival Destiny. Carnival Triumph‘s transformation into Carnival Sunrise followed in 2019.
Now, the three Destiny-class ships are known as the Sunshine-class.
New features added to Radiance during her massive makeover include the Heroes Tribute Bar in honor of those who serve in the Armed Forces, Guy’s Pig & Anchor Bar-B-Que Smokehouse, Bonsai Sushi, and the RedFrog Pub.
Transformed spaces include the water park, kids’ clubs, and Cloud 9 Spa.
The ship’s Long Beach schedule includes three-night voyages to Ensenada and four-night sailings to Ensenada and Catalina Island. There, she joins Carnival Panorama which operates seven-night Mexican Riviera cruises, and Carnival Miracle sailing four and five-night Mexico voyages.