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Porthole Cruise Magazine - December 13, 2019

Shaq Brings Great Food and Fun to Carnival

UPDATE: Carnival recently announced Big Chicken will be one of the dining options on board the new Carnival Mardi Gras!

He spent well over a decade dominating the hardwood courts of the NBA, but now international star of sport, film and music Shaquille O’Neal is setting his sights on a new endeavor, eating good at sea! Carnival Cruise Line announced that it’s newly transformed ship Carnival Radiance will feature Big Chicken, a restaurant inspired by the basketball star’s love of great food and a good time. The menu will feature a mouth-watering variety of fried chicken sandwiches and fries, with flavors to match Shaq’s gigantic personality, all included with the price of the cruise.

From Basketball to the Table

O’Neal opened his first land-based Big Chicken restaurant in Las Vegas in late October of 2018.  The onboard adaptation of Big Chicken featured on Carnival Radiance will be among the many food, dining and entertainment innovations incorporated into the 102,000-ton ship following a $200 million refurbishment in Cadiz, Spain, in 2020.

Carnival Radiance

Carnival Chief Fun Officer Shaquille O’Neal | Photo: Carnival Cruise Line

RELATED: $2 Billion in Fleet Enhancements for Carnival

Christine Duffy, President of Carnival Cruise Line, explained why Shaq was the perfect partner for the onboard restaurant.

“Shaq has brought so much to our brand as Chief Fun Officer and we are always looking for ways to expand on this wonderful relationship and provide our guests with new ways to Choose Fun,” she said. “Knowing his passion for food and fun, we’re thrilled to work with Shaq to bring the first Big Chicken at sea aboard the totally transformed Carnival Radiance.”

The big man himself was excited to bring some more fun to an already awesome cruise ship.

Carnival Radiance

Big Chicken sandwiches and fries | Photo: Carnival Cruise Line

“As Chief Fun Officer, I want to bring even more fun to every aspect of a Carnival cruise, including what guests eat,” said O’Neal. “Big Chicken has been a dream of mine and now that our land-based restaurant is open, it’s only natural to bring it to sea, as well. I’m really excited that Carnival Radiance guests will be able to enjoy my own delicious creations alongside all the other great food offerings on board.”

Carnival Radiance Upgrades

Big Chicken is among the many new culinary and beverage offerings that will be available on Carnival Radiance when it debuts in 2020.  Other outlets include Guy’s Pig & Anchor Bar-B-Que Smokehouse developed by Food Network star and longtime partner Guy Fieri, a classic American steakhouse called Fahrenheit 555, the Cucina del Capitano family-style Italian restaurant, and the Caribbean-inspired RedFrog Pub.  An expansive new WaterWorks aqua park featuring the new AquaTunnel slide as well as a SportSquare open-air recreation complex with a suspended ropes course will be added, as well. All of the ship’s staterooms will be renovated with a tropical color palette and striking new décor.

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