Shaq Is Opening a New Location of His Chicken Restaurant on a Carnival Cruise Ship

Shaquille O'Neal aboard a Carnival cruise ship.Credit: Carnival Cruise Lines.
Photo: Carnival Cruise Lines

Although Shaquille O’Neal‘s new Las Vegas restaurant Big Chicken is only a few weeks old, he’s already planning a major expansion to the high seas.

On Tuesday, the basketball legend announced that the fried chicken joint will have a location on board Carnival Cruise Line’s Carnival Radiance, which will set sail from Spain in 2020. The glammed-up ship will be the product of a $200 million refurbishment of the Carnival Victory, which was originally designed in the 1990s.

Though O’Neal only went on his first cruise in the past year, he recently came on board as Carnival’s “Chief Fun Officer”—and it’s a title he takes very seriously. “It’s my responsibility to make sure cruisers have the best time on their vacation, from food to activities,” he tells PEOPLE. “It’s all about making people happy. I don’t think people really know all the stuff you can do on a cruise.”


The restaurant’s inventive selection of fried chicken sandwiches will be available to passengers for lunch and dinner at no additional cost, and O’Neal says he’ll also be rolling out some new breakfast options.


The NBA Hall of Famer has been highly involved with every detail of the restaurant opening, documenting the process on his Facebook Watch series Big Chicken Shaq. “I’ve been to all the meetings, I’ve taste-tested all the food, I’ve met with the construction workers, I’ve met with the designers,” says O’Neal. “I’ve been 1,000 percent in.”

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Though he’ll share the ship with another expert restaurateur Guy Fieri, whose Pig & Anchor Bar-B-Que Smokehouse will also be on the Radiance, O’Neal says there’s no friendly competition. “If you want to a fried chicken sandwich, you go to my place, if you want a burger, you’ll go to Guy’s place, and if you want to have a more formal sit-down dinner with your family there are plenty of options for that too.”

Other restaurants on the ship will include Fahrenheit 555 and Cucina del Capitano, Carnival’s signature steakhouse and Italian restaurant, respectively, and the Caribbean-inspired RedFrog Pub.

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