Shaquille O’Neal’s mom named Carnival cruise ship godmother

Nov 17, 2021

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Carnival Cruise Line has named Shaquille O’Neal’s mother, Dr. Lucille O’Neal, godmother of the newest vessel in its Sunshine Class.

Dr. O’Neal, who is an author, public speaker and philanthropist, dedicates much of her time to charitable organizations. In addition to her positions as a board member of the Orlando Ovarian Center Alliance and president of Mothers of Professional Basketball Players (which she also cofounded), Dr. O’Neal established the Odessa Chambliss Center for Health Equity on the campus of Bethune Cookman University, where she earned her bachelor’s degree. The university also awarded her an honorary doctorate degree.

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“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,” said Christine Duffy, president of Carnival Cruise Line, in a statement.

Shaq, who has served as Carnival’s “CFO” (chief fun officer) for several years, has a large presence throughout the fleet, particularly on the line’s newly built Mardi Gras, which boasts Big Chicken, a free onboard restaurant that offers some of the best chicken we’ve ever tasted.

Dr. O’Neal, who will be in attendance for Carnival Radiance’s naming ceremony on Dec. 13 in the port of Long Beach, in California, will also help Shaq cut the ribbon on the second at-sea Big Chicken outpost, which is found on board.

“When Shaquille was named chief fun officer … never in my wildest dreams did I think I would be named godmother of a cruise ship,” Dr. O’Neal said. “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.”

Like the other ships in its class, Carnival Radiance (formerly Carnival Victory) underwent an extensive dry dock refurbishment.

In addition to Big Chicken, the $200 million overhaul added several other popular Carnival staples, including Guy Fieri’s Guy’s Pig and Anchor Bar-B-Que Smokehouse; the Heroes Tribute Bar, dedicated to members of the military; family-style Italian restaurant Cucina del Capitano; Bonsai Sushi; and the RedFrog Pub.

Carnival Radiance will sail three-day cruises to Ensenada and four-day voyages to Ensenada and Catalina Island.

Featured photo courtesy of Carnival Cruise Line.

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