Country singer Martina McBride will kick off a Feb. 14 celebration to honor U.S. military families when the Carnival Freedom arrives at its new home port near Houston.
The Freedom will join two other Carnival ships, the Triumph and Magic, in Galveston next month. The three are expected to carry more than 600,000 passengers from Texas each year, a Carnival statement says.
Last April, Freedom underwent a $70-million upgrade to add the cruise line's signature Funship 2.0 features.
The Valentine's Day event will bring military families selected by the nonprofit organization Operation Homefront onto the ship while it's in port to stay overnight, eat at on-board restaurants and take advantage of activities. McBride will sing at an outdoor concert held on one of the ship's top decks.
Carnival also plans to donate $100,000 to the organization that gives financial and other help to military families in need.
But back to the ship.
The Freedom was in dry dock in the Bahamas from April 19 to May 3. The company added the first Dr. Seuss Bookville as part of its Seuss at Sea program. Children can read books and play games in Bookville as well as meet the Cat in the Hat at a Green Eggs and Ham Breakfast or watch a Seuss-a-palooza Character Parade.
The Freedom sets sail on a six-day cruise from Galveston to Mexico on Feb. 15. The ship then will sail on four- to seven-day cruises to the Caribbean, the Bahamas and Florida.