A ship is officially a ship when it’s been christened by it’s Godmother – this usually involves smashing a bottle of bubbly against the hull – and drinking said bubbly later on in the evening.
Over the years we’ve seen all sorts of celebrity Godmothers, from Her Royal Highness The Queen herself, to, well, why don’t you just have a look below. We’ll start from the beginning…
Queen Elizabeth II
Who else would be more perfect for the role of Godmother for the historically iconic ocean liner, QE2, than Queen Elizabeth herself? Your Royal Highness launched the ship back in 1967 before it took its first ever sailing: a 5-day Transatlantic crossing from Southampton to New York City.
Despite launching and christening the vessel, QE2’s first passenger was Prince Charles and it was given its first multimillion refurbishment in 1994 under the code name ‘Project Lifestyle’.
Royal Princess- 1984
When Royal Princess first debuted, there was only one sure contender for its Godmother: Princess of Wales, Diana.
She christened the ship in Southampton with the following words ‘I name this ship Royal Princess. May God bless her and all who sail in her’ before pulling the lever that would send the traditional bottle of champagne against the ship’s hull, officially giving the ship its name.
Star Princess- 1989
Another lady with a Princess-like persona was none other than Audrey Hepburn, the iconic actress that christened Star Princess.
She took to the stage looking distinctively nautical to pull the lever that christened Star Princess. And following the naming ceremony, Ms. Hepburn sailed on the ship’s inaugural cruise through the Caribbean where some passengers could encounter her star personality.
Serenade of the Seas- 2003
This Royal Caribbean ship was deemed as ‘both beautiful and exciting, much like her multi-talented godmother’. The cruise line picked Whoopi Goldberg, winner of the Grammy, the Academy Award, the Golden Globe, the Emmy and the Tony.
She served her role as Godmother to Royal’s Viking Serenade which left service in 2002 so picked her Godmother-status back up with Serenade of the Seas, the first Royal ship to sail an inaugural season from New York City.
Dame Julie Andrews
Crystal Serenity- 2003
Crystal Cruise Line’s famous style and elegance was a close match to their choice of Godmother: Julie Andrews, legendary entertainer. Ms. Andrews christened Crystal Serenity into service with the time-honoured tradition of breaking a bottle of champagne against the ship’s hull port in Southampton. The line also honoured her with a fundraising gala aboard the ship benefiting her chosen charity.
‘As a world renowned performer, Ms Andrews’ remarkable career has solidified her stature as an international legend and secured her place in the hearts of generations around the world’, President of Crystal cruises stated.
Queen Elizabeth II
Another Cunard vessel that embodies quality, sophistication and decadence, and another ship Queen Elizabeth herself officially christened.
QM2 was the first Cunard liner to be launched since QE2 35 years before (she was even the largest cruise ship in the world when she was launched!)
She went under a multi-million pound refurb in 2016 where she was granted an additional 30 Britannia Club cabins, 15 new single cabins and glamorous new designs that included signature colour schemes, new carpets and more decorative fixtures (the ever popular kennels on-board were even expanded for dog lovers).
Princess Fiona (Shrek)
Allure of the Seas- 2010
One of the only cruise lines to have picked a film character as their ship’s Godmother, Royal Caribbean handpicked Princess Fiona, a character from Shrek. The decision reflected the tightly knit deal the cruise line boasts with Dreamworks to integrate the characters into the ships in the fleet.
‘Princess Fiona is not only a Royal, but we felt such a unique ship deserved a unique Godmother and she symbolizes the fun and entertainment that is so extraordinary on Allure of the Seas’, stated Chairman and CEO of Royal Caribbean, Richard Fain.
The naming ceremony included a bagpipe and drums procession and the event culminate with the traditional breaking of a champagne bottle (although it was through a karate chop from Princess Fiona!)
Disney Dream- 2011
Disney Cruise Lines chose a Godmother with significance for Disney Wonder; Jennifer Hudson began her career in 2003 as a signer on the ship which turned out to be a stepping stone that led to American Idol, an Academy Award and a Grammy Award.
The star waved a magic wand to christen the ship before a helicopter hoisted the bottle across the bow of the Disney Dream in a surprising twist ending that officially welcomed the 130,000-tonne ship to the Disney family.
Royal Princess- 2013
This is a ship that requires a Godmother equally special to its own status and so the vessel was officially named by Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cambridge in a spectacular ceremony in June 2013 in Southampton. The ceremony combined nautical traditions, special British elements and contemporary touches.
The Duchess has been named one of ‘The 100 Most Influential People In The World’ by Time Magazine in 2013 and named Royal Princess in her last public appearance before giving birth to her first child in July 2013.
Harmony of the Seas- 2016
Although this may not be a name you’re familiar with but as of recent years, cruise lines all over the world are more interested in choosing a unique figure to reward with the role of Godmother than the usual famous faces.
Last year Royal Caribbean granted fans and frequent cruisers with the world’s largest cruise ship, Harmony of the Seas, and Brittany Afolter was chosen after she had been helping at-risk and low-income students whilst tutoring other students in her spare time, not to mention she was in the process of becoming a mentor for children in foster care and is completing a masters in educational leadership.
‘The Godmothers of our ships are remarkable individuals whose life lessons and achievements are rooted in courage, dedication and determination,’ stated President and CEO of Royal Caribbean International, Michael Bayley.
That was the definitive guide to cruise ship Godmothers, which is your favourite? Who would you choose as a different Godmother for any of the ships above? What do you think being a cruise ship Godmother means? Leave us your comments!