PORT CANAVERAL, Fla. - Carnival's new Mardi Gras ship was officially christened on Saturday in Port Canaveral.
On hand for the special naming ceremony was Carnival's Chief Fun Officer: Shaquille O'Neal!
Shaq cut the ribbon for his new onboard restaurant, Big Chicken Shaq. The menu includes a variety of chicken dishes named for the NBA legend including the ‘Shaq Attack’ and the ‘Shaq Daddy' chicken sandwiches.
He also took time to sign teddy bears for some very special kids at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital.
The brand new ship has just about everything you can think of available to passengers, including a roller coaster.
The "BOLT" coaster will run along an 800-foot track at over 180 feet above the sea. The motorcycle-inspired vehicles are all-electric, featuring a speedometer to clock your ride.
Carnival Cruise Line
Riders have a choice of a fast ride up to 40 miles per hour or a slower ride to enjoy the views at the top of the ship.
In addition to the roller coaster, the vessel also features 19 decks and 20 dining options, including restaurants by Chef Emeril Lagasse and Shaquille O’Neal. The Mardi Gras can hold more than 5,000 passengers and is the first ship in North America to run on eco-friendly liquefied natural gas.
According to the cruise line, Saturday's ceremony for Mardi Gras is the first ship naming ceremony held in the U.S. since the cruise industry's restart.
Fox 35 News will bring you the story Saturday night on FOX 35 News at 10 p.m.