Miss USA Deshauna Barber, Carrie Underwood and Carnival Cruise Lines Honor Military Families at Carnival Vista Christening
By Alison Blackman and John Dunham
For Carnival Vist Christening, a Focus on Supporting Military Families
Boarding the Carnival Vista in New York City for the official naming ceremony, guests got the message immediately (from the Cat In The Hat dressed patriotically in red, white and blue greeting them), that this event was focused on military families as well as naming the ship.
“Honor. Family. Fun,” is Carnival’s efforts to raise funds for Operation Homefront, a national nonprofit organization that builds strong, stable, and secure military families.
Carnival carries more active and retired military personnel than any other cruise line. Supporting their year-long effort to recognize these heros is seven-time GRAMMY-award winning country music superstar Carrie Underwood and Miss USA, Deshauna Barber, serving as official Godmother of the Carnival Vista.
Along with Ms. Underwood and Miss Barber, there were plenty of VIP guests were on board to witness the official naming of the ship, but it was clear that the real guests of honor were the current and former servicemen and women and their families. They were treated to a concert by Underwood, given a chance to check out the new ship, attend the official naming ceremony, and enjoy an overnight stay onboard the Vista.
It was a perfect way to introduce the Carnival Vista, and another way for Carnival to honor these military families and their sacrifices they make for our country.
Singer Carrie Underwood Entertains at Carnival Vista’s Naming Ceremony
In the morning, Underwood, the recently-awarded CMA female vocalist of the year, talked at a press conference about her commitment to Operation Homefront. “Throughout my partnership with Carnival Cruise Line we have recognized the efforts of our dedicated military personnel while raising funds for Operation Homefront,” said Underwood, “It is something I am very proud to be a part of.”
Afterward, during her special concert in the ships’ brand new theater Ms. Underwood stopped and said, with obvious delight: “I don’t usually perform in rooms like this. I can see all of your faces!”
As Underwood sang her popular songs during an hour-long set for hundreds of military personnel and their families, nearly every man, woman, and child standing informally around the stage was singing every word to every song.
The Carnival Vista Naming Ceremony
Later in the afternoon, the official naming ceremony of the Carnival Vista began with songs from the American Military Wives Chorus, and remarks by Brig. Gen. (ret.) John I. Pray Jr., President and CEO of Operation Homefront who said: “Like-minded partners, like Carnival and Carrie Underwood, clearly demonstrate, through their actions, their steadfast commitment to our men and women in uniform.”
Christine Duffy, president of Carnival Cruise Line who introduced Miss Barber said, “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.”
Barber is a Captain in the United States Army Reserves, and the first military member to hold the title of Miss USA. When she got up to speak, she did so with great emotion she talked about being the child in a military family. The daughter of a retired Army master sergeant who was a member of the Special Forces, she emphasized how precious time together is for military families because they are simply separated so much.
Finally, Ms. Barber poured the ceremonial champagne over the ships’ bell, aided by the ships’ Captain Luigi De Angelis, the ships’ whistle sounded, confetti filled the air, and the Carnival Vista’s journey had begun!
Carnival Vista Has The First Craft Brewery On A Cruise Ship in North America
After the festivities, Advice.sisters.com’s wine & spirits columnist John Dunham met with Brewmaster Colin Presby, who is responsible for creating the offerings at the Red Frog Pub & Brewery, the first operational craft brewery at sea.
While the Red Frog pub is a regular feature on many of Carnival’s ships, the brewery on the Vista is the first where beer is actually brewed on board (see our previous feature detailing the preview of Carnival’s Red Frog brewery and beers, and Guy Fieri’s authentic smoked BBQ).
Mr. Presby is currently producing three regular offerings as well as a couple of more experimental beers on board. So far, he has had no problems with the constantly moving and rolling 1,000 barrel production brewery and actually believes that it may be easier to brew on board because the ship makes its own water which helps to keep the flavors consistent.
We sampled the wheat beer which was light and citrusy which a good balance between sweet and bitter. The IPA was also elegant without the harsh hoppiness that often characterizes this style.
Presby is working with the ship’s chefs, bartenders and with food and beverage managers on other Carnival vessels to bring more of his beer to different audiences. For not, it is only available at the Vista’s brewpub, and on some taps in the Havana bar.
In addition to the new brewery’s offerings, the Carnival Vista is featuring Gifft wines, produced by former spokesperson Kathy Lee Gifford (see our feature on Gifft Wines), and has some excellent signature cocktails including a fantastic Chipotle Pineapple Martini featuring Tito’s Handmade Vodka.
Carnival Vista is on-Trend for Today’s Cruisers
The Carnival Vista is a show-stopping vessel perfectly aligned with what the needs of family cruising, with exciting opportunities for every age group.
Recreation On Board Carnival Vista
The Vista features a huge outdoor water park with exciting water slides. There is a unique Skyride consisting of two one-person “pods” which guests cycle on parallel tracks high atop the ship to get thrilling vies of the sea (or whatever is beneath them).
There is also an obstacle course on the same deck which will offer supervised thrills (as long as you’re not afraid of heights). The pool area features a wide screen atrium and a stage. Behind it, a huge food court with all sorts of choices. On the starboard side of this area is a promenade with several dining venues that open up for al fresco dining as well as inside.
Places Just For Kids and Just For Adults
Children are VIPs on Carnival. On the Vista, they’re treated to their own fabulous recreational venues appropriate to their own age groups including a young children’s play area,a teen lounge, video game area and a full sized skeeball (that’s just for starters).
For the adults who want tranquility away from the party atmosphere, there’s an adults-only area called Serenity” high atop the bow with two hot tubs, a bar and salad bar, and pod-like seating for two, plus lounge chairs and no blaring music.At night, that area takes on a new beat, as an adult club.
Carnival Vista Decor
The Vista is unusually sophisticated, especially considering some of the wild designs of some of the past ships in Carnival’s fleet. For example, Instead of the usual crystal chandelier as a focal point in the main atrium, there is a huge glass tube that looks like a funnel projecting digital images of sea life, or still pictures. This change as the day progresses.
The colors are bright and appropriate to warm weather cruising, but not garish.
While this is not a ship review, these things are worth mentioning:
The cabins are well designed. For example, a standard balcony cabin on deck 7 was the usual size and configuration, but the closet and drawer space was better designed and more spacious than on most of the modern cruise ships of its size and class.
In addition, the bar and wait staff is exceptionally well trained. As ships get larger, handling bigger groups efficiently is essential. It appears that Carnival understands this, and has implemented training to be sure that their teams are up to the task.
Your next vacation could be a click or a phone call away. For more information visit the Carnival Cruise website or call 800-76407419
About Carnival Cruise Line: Carnival, a unit of Carnival Corporation has 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. 92% of Operation Homefront’s expenditures go directly to programs that provide support to our military families. For more information, go to www.OperationHomefront.net