Carnival Cruise Lines has announced that it has named the Pride of Destrehan Marching Band the winner of the “Battle of the High School Marching Bands” grand prize following a month-long competition sponsored by Carnival and New Orleans’ WDSU-TV that included nearly two dozen local bands and more than 11,000 votes cast by friends, family and the community.

Carnival Cruise Lines and WDSU-TV representatives surprised the marching band students, faculty and the administration at Destrehan High School in Destrehan, La., to share the news. Jim Berra, Carnival’s chief marketing officer, presented the school with a giant check for $10,000 to support its music program and invited the band to perform next weekend as part of the welcoming festivities aboard Carnival Sunshine, the line’s latest ship to call the Big Easy home.

Celebrating local spirit and skill, area schools were asked to record a three-minute video of their band performing their school fight song. Nearly two dozen schools submitted over the course of the three-week entry period, and five finalists were selected by Carnival Cruise Lines and WDSU-TV based on music ability, style and sound. From October 21 through November 1, more than 11,000 votes were cast online for the five finalists, resulting in Destrehan’s win.

On November 17, Carnival Sunshine will make her North American debut in her new homeport of New Orleans. The following day, the 3,006-passenger “Fun Ship” will sail on its inaugural voyage from New Orleans -- a six-day cruise that kicks off a winter schedule of cruises to tropical destinations throughout The Bahamas and Western Caribbean. Earlier this year, the ship underwent an unprecedented 75-day, $155 million transformation, incorporating all of the line’s “Fun Ship 2.0” dining, bar and entertainment features, as well as a variety of exciting innovations unique to the vessel and 182 new staterooms.