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.