Carnival Jubilee Officially Christened by Gwen Stefani (Plus, See Photos of the New Ship)

Carnival Jubilee — the cruise line’s newest ship — was delivered to its new homeport in Galveston just before Christmas. Since then, the ship has already taken tens of thousands of passengers crisscrossing the Gulf of Mexico.

But Jubilee has done all that without an official naming ceremony and a godmother… until now.

Jubilee docked in Galveston
Carnival Jubilee arrived in Galveston in December and has already been sailing 7-day cruises to Mexico. Now, the ship is officially christened.

On Saturday afternoon, Carnival Jubilee hosted its naming ceremony while docked in Galveston, officially welcoming the ship to the Carnival fleet. The event in Jubilee’s theater attracted all sorts of VIPs, from former Carnival Corporation CEO Arnold Donald to current CEO Josh Weinstein, Carnival President Christine Duffy, Carnival’s Chief Culinary Officer Emeril Lagasse, and numerous public officials.

But the star of the ceremony was the ship’s godmother — music icon Gwen Stefani.

Stefani, who first made a name as the lead singer of No Doubt, has since become one of the biggest names in music. This includes being a multi-platinum solo artist, winner of multiple awards including MTV Video Music Awards, Billboard Awards, and a three-time Grammy winner. More recently, she’s been widely known as one of the coaches on The Voice.

The ceremony onboard the ship included recognition of the relationship between the Port of Galveston and Carnival, which was the first line to homeport in the Texas city and has grown its presence in Texas tremendously in recent years.

There was also an announcement by Christine Duffy that Carnival’s famous partnership with St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital has raised $33 million over its lifetime. In addition, there was a new pledge to raise $50 million by 2030.

Naming ceremony Carnival Jubilee
Godmother Gwen Stefani pulled a lasso to send a bottle of champagne flying. Afterward, she performed a five-song set for those in attendance.

Of course, the highlight of the naming ceremony was the famous breaking of the champagne bottle, done remotely from the theater. Stefani pulled a lasso around a lever (topped with a cowboy hat, naturally) to send the bottle flying on the bow of Jubilee, officially christening the ship. 

The ceremony was then followed up with the invited guests being treated to an intimate five-song concert by the singer, which included her biggest hits. 

A Beautiful New Addition to the Fleet

Jubilee is the third ship in the cruise line’s largest Excel-class. Coming in at 180,000 gross tons, the ship can carry roughly 5,300 passengers at double occupancy and about 6,500 when completely full.

Carnival Jubilee arriving in Galveston
Jubilee marks the first newbuild to sail from Galveston, a port that has continued to grow by leaps and bounds.

Like other ships in the class, the Jubilee name comes from one of the earliest vessels in the Carnival fleet. An homage to MS Jubilee, that ship was retired from Carnival about 20 years ago. And while the two vessels might share the same name, they couldn’t be more different.

Carnival Jubilee is nearly four times the size of its namesake. Onboard are roughly 20 different places to get a bite to eat, from classics like the dining room and Guy’s Burger Joint to new favorites like Emeril’s Bistro and Chibang! to high-end dining like Rudi’s Seagrill.

New bar concepts like Dr. Inks (Drinks, get it?) and The Golden Mermaid make their debut. And a number of activities that have become favorites on other Excel ships make their way over. This includes areas like the ropes course, the multiple pools, the enormous waterpark at the back of the ship and the BOLT! roller coaster.

Having toured the new ship, we will say that it’s very similar to Carnival Celebration in layout and features but with new designs that make the ship unique. If you’ve sailed the other Excel-class ships before, then you have a good idea of what to expect.

However, if you’ve never sailed this type of ship — even if you’ve sailed Carnival plenty of times — then you are in for a very different experience. Sure, that same Carnival “funship” attitude is still there. But Jubilee offers so much more to experience than older ships in the fleet, including even recent builds like Vista, Horizon, and Panorama. There’s simply more to see, more to eat, more to do, and more to enjoy.

You can see some pictures from around the ship here to get an idea of what’s onboard:

We will say that this class of ship can get crowded. Given the passengers carried and the tonnage, we calculate a space ratio of 34.1 for the new vessel. Anything above 40, we generally feel is considered “roomy.” Having sailed Celebration, we definitely noticed that there seems to be many more passengers given the space available.

Even so, we consider that a small price to pay given how much bigger the onboard experience is compared to other ships in the fleet.

Carnival Jubilee is already sailing from Galveston, where it is homeported until at least 2026 (as far out as Carnival’s schedule goes right now). It sails weekly trips to Cozumel, Costa Maya, and Roatan.

Carnival also just announced a fourth Excel ship set to arrive in the coming years.

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