Dreamy Ship is Christened

Seems the world champion New York Yankees aren't the only major league sluggers. Yesterday, actress Marcia Gay Harden showed her stuff by wielding a Yankees bat signed by Alex Rodriguez. She delivered a massive "hit" into a massive mock-up of a Moet and Chandon champage bottle. That set off a chain reaction that christened the new $860 million Carnival Dream at Pier 88 in New York.

Of course, in typical Carnival fun fashion, the five-foot-tall bottle didn't spew champagne when broken during the ceremony in the ship's Encore Show Lounge. Instead, Harden's solid hit unleashed a spectacle of colorful confetti up and over the audience. Simultaneously,  a smaller champagne bottle holding the real bubbly was slammed into the ship's exterior - effectively christening the vessel yet keeping agents, media and VIP guests comfortably out of the rain and drizzle outside.

The bat will be auctioned off to benefit St. Jude's Children's Research Hospital, a charity Carnival now supports. The line carries 600,000 children a year as passengers and has committed to helping raise funds for the hospital's research.

Daughter of a naval officer, Harden, an Academy Award winning performer and Broadway star, seemed an appropriate choice for godmother of Carnival Dream. She told the audience about how her family sailed back from an overseas tour of duty when she was 9 years old, recalling "it was the
most fun I ever had." Yet, she also noted the contrast between that older vessel and the new 130,000-ton Carnival Dream.

The new ship, with a capacity of 3,646 double occupancy, is the largest and longest Carnival ship ever built. It features 19,000 square feet of children's facilities, a huge Carnival Waterpark with the longest water slide at sea; and the first two-level Serenity adults-only area.

The entire Carnival christening ceremony was a humorous and engaging event with comedic moments by John Heald, Carnival senior cruise director, and Gerry Cahill, the line's president and CEO. It also featured a poignant blessing of the ship by a Harlem minister.

Cahill said he believes the new ship is the best looking in the fleet and that "Dream" name is a perfect fit. "What we try to do is make people's dreams come true," he stressed.

Stay tuned here for more updates from the ship as Travel Agent is onboard the preview sailing this