Dr. Lucille O'Neal, author, philanthropist and mother of Carnival Cruise Line's Chief Fun Officer Shaquille O'Neal, has been named godmother of the transformed Carnival Radiance, set to debut in December following a $200 million dry dock.
Dr. O'Neal will preside over the ship's naming ceremony taking place in Long Beach, California, prior to its inaugural cruise on Dec. 13.
During the festivities, Lucille and Shaquille will cut the ribbon to officially open Big Chicken, the second seagoing restaurant created by the former basketball great, featuring dishes based on his family's recipes.
Shaq's mom is an accomplished speaker who donates her time and talent to a wide range of charitable organizations, including serving on the board of the Orlando Ovarian Center Alliance, and president and co-founder of the Mothers of Professional Basketball Players.
She 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, and focuses on health disparities, social determinants of health, and social justice.
The author of an inspirational biography, "Walk Like You Have Somewhere to Go," Lucille O'Neal is a glowing example of the importance of education. She resumed her studies after raising her children to graduate cum laude with a bachelor's degree from BCU and the completion of 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.
New offerings added to Carnival Radiance during its bow-to-stern makeover include Guy's Pig & Anchor Bar-B-Que Smokehouse created by Food Network star and long-time partner Guy Fieri; the Heroes Tribute Bar saluting those that serve in the Armed Forces; Cucina del Capitano family-style Italian restaurant; Bonsai Sushi; and the Caribbean-inspired RedFrog Pub.
All of the ship's public spaces have been transformed, including the water park, youth facilities, retail shops, Cloud 9 Spa and a new Liquid Lounge home to Carnival's award-winning Playlist Productions shows.
Carnival Radiance's Long Beach-based schedule includes three-day voyages to Ensenada and four-day sailings calling at Ensenada and Catalina Island. She joins Carnival Panorama operating week-long Mexican Riviera cruises and Carnival Miracle sailing four- and five-day Mexico voyages.