Carnival Venezia Dedication and Ribbon Cutting

An inaugural sailing has been on my bucket list for as long as I can remember. To be the first person to experience a new ship sounds like an absolute dream to me! Despite being on my bucket list, many warned about the dangers of an inaugural sailing: the ship getting delayed by the shipyard, crew not being fully trained, or even the ship not being fully finished when you board. While those are all risks, true, the potential reward would turn out to be tremendous!

On May 29, 2023, my friend Jason and I left the comfort of our hotel to make our way to the Barcelona Cruise Port. We had already mapped out and walked the path the night before, so we knew where to go. You might say I was a little excited! When the taxi approached the terminal, there she was, the brand-new Carnival Venezia. I was going to be part of her history!

Little did I know pulling up to the ship that I was in for the surprise of a lifetime!

As we explored the terminal, I noticed a sound booth (what I thought was a DJ) and a gathering area. I chalked it up to there being live music and announcements as we got ready to board. But that’s not what it was at all. You see, unbeknownst to me, that space was where the ship dedication would soon take place. In maritime tradition, when a ship calls on a port for the first time, the port authority and cruise line exchange little gifts – a show of appreciation for each other. This is typically done on the ship, behind closed doors. As you’ll hear Christine Duffy, President of Carnival Cruise Lines say in the video below, we got to witness a little “inside baseball” that lucky day in Barcelona as the exchange was done for all of us to see.

But before the exchange, we got to hear from John Heald, Carnival Cruise Line’s Brand Ambassador. He turns the stage over to Christine. In addition to speaking, she joined us for the first several days of the sailing and I got to meet and interact with her several times! In addition to John and Christine, Captain Claudio Capusti, the inaugural Captain of the Carnival Venezia spoke and was the one to exchange gifts.

As is tradition, the final part of the morning was the official ribbon cutting – a symbolic gesture welcoming the first guests on board the Carnival Venezia. The youngest Diamond member of the sailing helped Christine and the Captain cut the ribbon and John then announced boarding would begin by zone numbers shortly.

The experience of driving up to a brand-new ship and then getting to see something very few people in this lifetime will ever get to see… Gosh, I’m a little emotional even typing this. For someone that dedicates so much time and passion to the cruise industry, this was truly something I will forever cherish.

The video below ends with me walking onto the Carnival Venezia for the first time. I think you’ll see it in my face and eyes as I spin the camera around in that truly unbelievable atrium just what I was feeling at that moment.

Thanks for letting me share my story with you! I shared many Shorts and videos from that inaugural sailing. The food, the ports, the travel, the ship, and more. But it’s this video that is truly one-of-a-kind. While other cruisers will get the chance to record food reviews of Il Viaggio and the like, there will never be another video like the above. There’s only one inaugural, and I’m so thankful (and blessed) that I had the opportunity to be a part.

Carnival Venezia, you will always hold a very special spot in my heart – and I can’t wait to see you again.

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