Carnival Dream Godmother Marcia Gay Harden with Captain Carlo Queirolo

There was no pomp and ceremony for the launch of the 130,000-ton cruise ship Carnival Dream in New York today – it was fun all the way, from the moment cruise director John Heald reached the stage, to the climactic moment when godmother Marcia Gay Harden smashed a giant champagne bottle with a baseball bat.
Carnival boss Gerry Cahill even emerged from a blue tracksuit, masquerading as a member of the energetic dance troup Fun Force, which had bounded around the stage of the ship’s Encore Theatre.
He said the name Dream was perfect for a cruise line which aimed to make passengers’ dreams come true, and then rattled off a few facts to set the scene – biggest ship in the fleet, 19,000 square feet of space dedicated to children’s entertainment (the Carnival line carries 600,000 youngsters a year in its 22 ships).
After a blessing from a New York pastor, John Heald presented a series of pictures of him toting a giant champagne bottle around New York. Still photographs? Surely they’ve got video on this ship?
Then Oscar-winning actress Marcia, whose father was a US Navy captain, took a few practice swings with the New York Yankees’ bat autographed by baseball superstar A-Rod, and then knocked the top clean off the bottle.
Streamers and confetti erupted inside the theatre, while outside a real – and smaller – bottle broke against the ship’s hull.
The party has begun. Unfortunately, I have to disappear right now to do some serious cocktail drinking, and the celebrations will no doubt go on long into the night.
More from the ship tomorrow, hangover permitting.

Cruise director John Heald with Godmother Marcia Gay Harden