MIAMI, Nov. 4, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- To celebrate the U.S. arrival of its newest, largest and most innovative ship, Carnival Cruise Line held an overnight gala event today in New York featuring a concert for Operation Homefront military families by the Country Music Association's Female Vocalist of the Year and seven-time GRAMMY award-winning country music super star Carrie Underwood.
The event also included the ship's official naming ceremony with Miss USA Deshauna Barber – the first woman serving in the U.S. military to hold the title -- presiding over the ceremonies as godmother and releasing the ceremonial bottle of champagne that smashed over the hull of the massive 133,500-ton ship. In addition to the concert, the festivities included overnight accommodations, meals, activities and entertainment for hundreds of military families.
The festivities represent the culmination of Honor.Family.Fun., Carnival's year-long celebration to support Operation Homefront and help the organization fulfill its mission of building strong, stable, and secure military families.
"Carnival Cruise Line carries more active and retired military personnel and I couldn't think of a better way to introduce this spectacular vessel than by honoring and celebrating the sacrifices of our Armed Forces personnel," said Christine Duffy, president of Carnival Cruise Line. "Deshauna is the ideal candidate to serve as Carnival Vista's godmother, embodying the spirit of commitment and sacrifice of those who protect our freedoms each and every day."
Underwood performed an hour-long set for hundreds of military personnel and their families, many of whom were given the chance of a lifetime to meet the artist during various meet and greet opportunities during stops along her Storyteller Tour, and were invited to attend the festivities aboard Carnival Vista.
"It was truly an honor to perform aboard Carnival Vista today and celebrate the incredible sacrifices of the brave men and women of the Armed Forces," said Underwood. "Throughout my partnership with Carnival Cruise Line we have recognized the efforts of our dedicated military personnel while raising funds for Operation Homefront. It is something I am very proud to be a part of."
The daughter of a retired Army master sergeant who was a member of the Special Forces, Barber joined the Army Reserve as a quartermaster officer in 2011. After earning her bachelors in business management from Virginia State University, Barber went on to complete her masters in computer information systems from the University of Maryland University College. She currently serves as logistics commander for the 988th Quartermaster Detachment Unit in Rockville, Md.
"I'm honored to serve as godmother of the brand new Carnival Vista and join a long line of strong, successful women who have fulfilled this time-honored role," said Barber. "In addition to serving as godmother, today was extra special as I had the opportunity to meet several Operation Homefront families and hear their stories. It is a day I'll never forget."
"We're thrilled Carnival Cruise Line has honored those that do so much for the freedoms we enjoy daily – our service members and their families – with a truly memorable day onboard their newest ship," said Brig. Gen. (ret.) John I. Pray Jr., president and CEO of Operation Homefront. "Like-minded partners, like Carnival and Carrie Underwood, clearly demonstrate, through their actions, their steadfast commitment to our men and women in uniform."
As the line's newest ship, Carnival Vista introduced a number of groundbreaking innovations including the first brewery on a North American-based cruise ship, the first IMAX Theatre at sea, the most elaborate water park in the fleet highlighted by the 455-foot-long Kaleid-o-slide, a groundbreaking bike-ride-in-the-sky aerial attraction called SkyRide, and the new Family Harbor with specially designed staterooms for families, a family concierge and more.
Carnival Vista will operate a pair of 11-day sailings from New York before launching year-round six- and eight-day Caribbean service from Miami beginning Nov. 27.
For additional information and reservations on Carnival Cruise Line, contact any travel agent, call 1-800-CARNIVAL or visit www.carnival.com. Carnival can also be found on:
Facebook Fan Page: www.facebook.com/carnival
Journalists also can visit Carnival's media site, www.carnival-news.com or follow the line's PR department on Twitter at www.twitter.com/CarnivalPR.
About Carnival Cruise Line
Carnival, a unit of Carnival Corporation & plc (NYSE/LSE: CCL; NYSE: CUK), is "The World's Most Popular Cruise Line®" with 25 ships operating three- to 16-day voyages to The Bahamas, Caribbean, Mexican Riviera, Alaska, Hawaii, Canada, New England, Bermuda, Europe, Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific Islands. The 133,500-ton Carnival Horizon is currently under construction and set to debut in 2018. Additionally, two new 180,000-ton ships are scheduled to enter service in 2020 and 2022.
About Operation Homefront
A national nonprofit, Operation Homefront builds strong, stable, and secure military families so that they can thrive in the communities they have worked so hard to protect. With more than 3,200 volunteers nationwide, Operation Homefront has provided assistance to tens of thousands of military families since its inception shortly after 9/11. Recognized for superior performance by leading independent charity oversight groups, 92 percent of Operation Homefront's expenditures go directly to programs that provide support to our military families. For more information, go to www.OperationHomefront.net.
About Carrie Underwood
Carrie Underwood emerged from the promise of her 2005 American Idol win to become a true multi-format, multi-media superstar, spanning achievements in music, television, and film. A seven-time GRAMMY® Award winner, she has amassed over 100 major honors, sold 58 million records worldwide, and recorded 24 #1 singles, 13 of which she co-wrote, with a catalog of songs that have been streamed more than 1.9 billion times worldwide. The first female artist to be twice named the Academy of Country Music's Entertainer of the Year, Underwood was recognized as Pollstar's top female country touring artist for her headlining tours in 2008, 2010, and 2012. Her first four studio albums, Some Hearts, Carnival Ride, Play On, and Blown Away – each certified multi-Platinum, and each an American Music Awards winner as Country Album of the Year – tallied an incredible 38 weeks at #1 on Billboard's Top Country Albums chart. In 2013, Underwood starred as Maria von Trapp in NBC's three-hour holiday blockbuster, the Emmy®-winning The Sound of Music Live!, whose airings attracted 44 million viewers. In December of 2014, the Grand Ole Opry member released her first hits collection, Greatest Hits: Decade #1. Billboard's best-selling hits album of 2015, the chart-topping package was certified Platinum in January of 2016, making Underwood the only country artist – and one of only six all-genre artists – to launch an album to Platinum success since the time of its release in December of 2014. Celebrating her first 10 years of music, the collection's 25 songs included two new #1 hits co-written by Underwood: the Platinum-certified, GRAMMY-winning "Something in the Water," as well as the Gold-certified "Little Toy Guns." This year, she began her fourth season as the voice of primetime television's #1 program, Sunday Night Football, and returned for a ninth consecutive year as co-host of the CMA Awards. Underwood's chart-topping, Gold-certified fifth studio album, Storyteller, has produced three #1 singles with "Smoke Break," "Heartbeat," and "Church Bells."
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SOURCE Carnival Cruise Line