The christening of a ship is always a grand affair. We’ve attended two so far and they were both days to remember! This traditional ritual is one that has been around for centuries and marks the birth of a vessel and asks for a blessing of good fortune and safety for the ship and its passengers and crew. Yesterday, it wasn’t just grand, it was royal. Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cambridge officially named Princess Cruise Line’s new ship the Royal Princess when she upheld the tradition of releasing a bottle of champagne and breaking it against the hull of the ship saying:
“I name this ship Royal Princess. May God bless her and all who sail in her.”
She then cut the rope that sent a giant Nebuchadnezzar-size bottle of Moët & Chandon champagne toward the ship, officially welcoming Royal Princess into the fleet of Princess Cruises, one of the world’s largest international cruise lines.
The event was as star-studded one with entertainment that blended contemporary elements with maritime tradition. Natasha Bedingfield entertained the crowd, singing her hit “Unwritten” as did British actress and “the first lady of London’s West End,” Kerry Ellis, who sang an original song just for the occasion. Among the guests invited to the Royal Princess naming celebrations were representatives from the charities East Anglia’s Children’s Hospices, SkillForce and WellChild, whose Patrons are The Duchess of Cambridge, The Duke of Cambridge and Prince Harry respectively.
The event included a performance from renowned percussive orchestra Mass Ensemble, the Band of Her Majesty’s Royal Marines Portsmouth and The Pipe Band of 1st Battalion Irish Guards opened the event with the pomp and ceremony of British ship-naming traditions. The Right Reverend Tim Dakin, Bishop of Winchester, conducted the traditional ship’s blessing.
Princess Cruises is known for choosing some of the most illustrious godmothers for their past ships including Diana Princess of Wales (who named the first Royal Princess in 1984), Audrey Hepburn, Sophia Loren, Dame Margaret Thatcher and Olivia de Havilland. The Duchess of Cambridge now takes her place among this inspiring group of women.
The Royal Princess looks like an incredible ship and holds 3,600 passengers. It features the amazing SeaWalk, a top-deck glass-bottomed walkway extending 28 feet beyond the edge of the ship; a multistory atrium, and plush private poolside cabanas that appear to be floating on water. We provided a sneak peek into some of the other offerings a couple of months ago.
The Royal Princess sails on her maiden voyage to Barcelona on June 16, and will then sail on Grand Mediterranean cruises throughout the summer, followed by Eastern Caribbean cruises beginning in the autumn. You can view the entire naming ceremony on replay by visiting www.princess.com/royalprincessnaming.
Photo credit: Princess Cruise Lines