New Ship Launch: Chic Silhouette sparkles

The 2,886-passenger Celebrity Silhouette debuted today in Hamburg, Germany. The outdoor Lawn Club Grill on Deck 15, just steps from the real grass growing beneath your toes, is sure to be a hit with passengers. Photos by Michael Coleman

By Michael Coleman

HAMBURG, GERMANY: Thursday, July 21, 2011 — It may very well be Celebrity Cruises’ finest hour.

Today, here in this industrial port city, the chic 2,886-passenger Celebrity Silhouette debuted, slightly overshadowing her impressive sisters — Solstice, Equinox and Eclipse – each launched in successive years since 2008.

The new ship sparkles with the best features from her sisters plus trendy changes to Celebrity’s iconic Lawn Club, a Deck 15 refuge complete with real grass under your toes where one can celebrate the flavorful joys of outdoor grilling or unwind in a cabana-style haven.

The Alcoves, one of eight cabana-styled havens aboard Celebrity Silhouette, is situated front and center on Deck 15’s Lawn Club.
Passengers at the interactive Lawn Club Grill can select and grill their own meats side-by-side with Celebrity’s chefs — a cruise line first at sea – or have them cooked to order. New, too, are eight, private, Wi-Fi-equipped cabanas dubbed “The Alcoves” for the ultimate in at-sea relaxation plus, steps away, look for the “The Porch,” a breezy, casual dining spot offering sandwiches, coffees and captivating views during breakfast and lunch hours.

Inside Silhouette you might want to take a culinary adventure in Qsine, one of the ship’s specialty restaurants, where you order food and wine from an iPad menu; enjoy an intimate, quiet space – “The Hideaway” – reminiscent of a childhood tree house; or taste some 50 beers from around the world in “Michael’s Club.”

Celebrity Silhouette’s Lawn Club features, among a host of outdoor delights, these oversized chairs.
There’s even a new “Art Studio” onboard where passengers can bring out their inner artist by participating in hands on courses in beading, sculpting, painting and more led by professional artists.

Tonight, Michelle Morgan, president and CEO of Signature Travel Network, will officially christen Silhouette as the ship’s Godmother.

Following today’s unveiling, Silhouette will set sail from Hamburg, Saturday, on a seven-night cruise to Civitavecchia (Rome), where the ship will then feature roundtrip 12-night Mediterranean/Holy Land sailings until November when she will offer Caribbean cruises from the New York/New Jersey market.

On the web:

– Cruise News Weekly Editor Michael Coleman will take a closer look at Celebrity’s new masterpiece here in this space tomorrow.

The spacious Celebrity Silhouette pool deck features plenty of room to enjoy a dip or relaxing time in one of four hot tubs.

Oceania Cruises unveils stately Marina

The stately 1,250-passenger Oceania Marina, the fourth ship in Oceania Cruises’ fleet, debuted this week in Miami. Image courtesy Oceania Cruises

By Michael Coleman

Oceania Cruises christened Marina this week during a lavish ceremony in Miami.

The unveiling brings the vision of Frank Del Rio, the founder of Oceania Cruises and chairman & CEO of parent company Prestige Cruise Holdings, to reality with the line’s first newly-built ship measuring 66,000 tons and accommodating 1,250 guests.

“The saying goes, ‘good things come to those who wait’ although Marina’s arrival has been long awaited she’s more than just good,” said Del Rio at the christening ceremony. “She’s the most beautiful, sophisticated and stylish ship launched in the modern era of cruising — a span of some 50 years.”

Marina is a ship of firsts featuring the first Bon Appétit Culinary Center; Master Chef Jacques Pépin’s first namesake restaurant at sea; Ralph Lauren Home-furnished Owner’s Suites; luxurious accommodations by Dakota Jackson; a Wine Spectator wine program and a Lalique grand stairway.

“Marina is not just another ship, she is special in so many ways,” said Bob Binder, Oceania Cruises’ president. “When we set out to design and build our first new ship, we wanted it to set new standards for comfort, service and culinary excellence.”

The ship’s godmother, Entertainment Tonight anchor Mary Hart, helped host the christening ceremonies.

Marina arrived in Miami last week following her maiden voyage from Barcelona. The ship has been purposefully designed to carry guests to the world’s most alluring ports in elegance and style. Marina is full of rich woods, marble and granite, fine wool carpets and lustrous leathers which adorn public rooms.

Facilities include 10 dining venues — six of which are open-seating gourmet restaurants, an array of bars and lounges, a full-service Canyon Ranch SpaClub and fitness center, swimming pool and hot tubs.

She will soon depart on the first of two 18-day Panama Canal transits that visit San Francisco and San Diego, both new ports for Oceania Cruises. Marina then operates a 12-day Caribbean cruise, round-trip from Miami, departing March 16, before sailing along the U.S. Eastern Seaboard and on to Europe to begin her inaugural Mediterranean season.

Marina is the fourth vessel in the Oceania Cruises’ fleet consisting of Regatta, Insignia and Nautica, each carrying 684 passengers, to locales around the world since 2002. Her sister ship, Riviera, will be christened in April 2012.

The line bills itself as an “upper-premium’’ brand offering “gourmet cuisine, gracious service and award-winning itineraries at an exceptional value’’.

On the web:

Oceania Cruises taps Mary Hart as godmother for Marina

The 1,250-passenger Oceania Marina will debut in February, 2011. Entertainment Tonight host Mary Hart will serve as godmother.
Image courtesy Oceania Cruises

By Michael Coleman

Entertainment Tonight (ET) host Mary Hart has been named godmother for the unveiling of Oceania Cruises’ new 1,200-passenger vessel, the Marina.

Hart will name the ship in Miami at a lavish christening ceremony February 5, 2011 culminating with a 15-liter Nebuchadnezzar of champagne, custom-made by Armand de Brignac, commemoratively crashing against the hull.
A beloved television personality, this year marks Hart’s final season as host of ET – the number one syndicated entertainment newsmagazine show in the world. Hart joined the popular show as a correspondent in June 1982, and within weeks was named co-anchor.
In her personal life, Hart has been involved with philanthropic causes devoted to children. A member of the board of trustees for Childrens Hospital Los Angeles, she currently serves as Leadership Chair of the New Hospital Campaign. Hart is also an ambassador for Childhelp USA, which combats child abuse. For many years she served on the board of directors for the National Childhood Cancer Foundation and continues her affiliation with the Children’s Miracle Network, for which she was telethon co-host for 15 years.

Hart is the recipient of the Samaritan Award from the National Association of Broadcasters Education Foundation for her work on behalf of several children’s charities. In 2001, she was honored with the first-ever Children’s Miracle Achievement Award for her “long-standing commitment to children and contributing in many ways to bettering the lives of children everywhere.”
“Mary Hart personifies elegance and style, just like our magnificent Marina,” said Frank Del Rio, chairman and CEO of Prestige Cruise Holdings, the line’s parent company. “We especially salute her philanthropic work devoted to children’s causes and we are proud to welcome her to the Oceania Cruises family.”

“It’s very exciting, and a bit humbling,” said Hart in a statement. “I’m truly honored to serve as the Godmother for Marina — she will be a very special ship. And, I look forward to smashing a great bottle of champagne as we let the celebration begin!”
After christening festivities in Miami, Marina sets sail Feb. 8 on the first of two 18-day Panama Canal transits that visit San Francisco or San Diego, both new ports for Oceania Cruises. Marina then operates a 12-day Caribbean cruise, round-trip from Miami, departing March 16, before sailing along the U.S. Eastern Seaboard and on to Europe to begin her inaugural Mediterranean season.
At 66,000 tons and carrying 1,250 guests, Marina features an array of stylish bars and lounges and 10 dining venues — six of which are open-seating, gourmet restaurants — including Jacques, the first restaurant at sea for Chef Jacques Pépin.

Other highlights include a full-service Canyon Ranch SpaClub, Bon Appétit Culinary Center, Owner’s Suites furnished exclusively in Ralph Lauren Home, and a grand stairway custom-crafted by renowned French glass master, Lalique.

Oceania presently operates a three-ship fleet. Each carrying 700-passengers, Regatta, Nautica and Insignia offer global itineraries.

On the web:

Silversea christens Silver Spirit at Port Everglades

Cruise travel’s latest luxury vessel, the 540-guest, all-suite Silver Spirit, was christened today at Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale. She offers 270 suites that range in size from 312 to 1,668 square feet, boasts six restaurants and the brand’s largest spa at 8,300 square feet. Photo courtesy Silversea Cruises

By Michael Coleman

FORT LAUDERDALE, FL., Jan. 21, 2010 — Silver Spirit, Silversea Cruises’ elegant new vessel, was formally christened here today before 450 guests and dignitaries at Port Everglades.

The ship’s godmother, Silvia Lefebvre, sister of Silversea chairman Manfredi Lefebvre, presided over the festivities. 

“Today is a proud day for Silversea as we celebrate the christening of our new ship and what is the culmination of much effort and planning,” said Amerigo Perasso, Silversea’s president and chief executive officer.

“From her sophisticated Art Deco interior design and extra-spacious suites to a host of new amenities and services, Silver Spirit embodies the innovative spirit of our company and is a dramatic step forward for our award-winning concept of ultra-luxury cruising.” 

Silversea’s chief operating officer, Kenneth W. Watson, acknowledged the recent earthquake tragedy in Haiti, and announced that the company had made a charitable donation to the American Red Cross on behalf of guests departing on tonight’s Grand Inaugural Voyage.

Silversea officials and local dignitaries participated in today’s launch of Silver Spirit. The 36,000 ton, 12-Deck vessel is Silversea’s largest ship to date. Photo by Michael Coleman.
Godmother Lefebvre christened the ship with a bottle of Moët & Chandon champagne. A replica of the champagne bottle will be auctioned off as a memento during Silver Spirit’s Grand Inaugural Voyage to benefit the Maruzza Lefebvre d’Ovidio Foundation, a non-profit organization spearheaded by Ms. Lefebvre. A major part of its energy and resources is dedicated to the diffusion of palliative care for children, babies and adolescents affected by incurable disease.

At 36,000 tons, and accommodating 540 guests, Silver Spirit features the largest suites in the Silversea fleet, 95 percent of which feature a private veranda. The onboard decor lends a sophisticated 1930s Art Deco ambiance to the public spaces, highlights of which include an indoor/outdoor spa measuring more than 8,300 square feet, a resort-style pool and a choice of six dining venues including Seishin, showcasing Asian-fusion cuisine, and the innovative Stars Supper Club, offering trendsetting menus and all-night entertainment. 

Tonight, the ship departs on her 91-day Grand Inaugural Voyage exploring over 20 countries and 45 ports throughout the Americas. Silver Spirit will then spend the summer in the Mediterranean before repositioning to the Caribbean for fall and winter cruises. 

One of cruise travel’s leading luxury operators, the line offers many large-ship amenities aboard its intimate, all-suite vessels: Silver Cloud, Silver Wind, Silver Shadow, Silver Whisper and now Silver Spirit. With the inclusion of the regal expedition ship Prince Albert II, launched in 2008, the company’s itineraries encompass all seven continents.

Tomorrow: We’ll take a closer look at this new, luxurious vessel.

Silver Spirit is the first newly-constructed cruise ship for Silversea Cruises since 2001, bringing the Silversea fleet to a total of six vessels. The 5,414 square-foot pool deck features three Jacuzzis and a grill. Photo by Michael Coleman.

Video: Seven celebrity godmothers help name Oasis of the Seas

Oasis naming

Royal Caribbean International officially named its newest cruise ship, Oasis of the Seas, yesterday, during an elaborate maritime celebration designed especially for the world’s largest and most revolutionary cruise ship.

Putting a new twist on one of maritime’s longest standing traditions, the global cruise line had not one, but seven celebrity godmothers — Gloria Estefan, Daisy Fuentes, Shawn Johnson, Keshia Knight Pulliam, Michelle Kwan, Jane Seymour and Dara Torres — preside over the festivities. The celebration took place throughout the seven signature neighborhoods onboard Oasis of the Seas, culminating with the traditional Champagne bottle breaking ceremony followed by a fireworks display in the AquaTheater, the ship’s dazzling oceanfront theater.

Marking the finale of 10 days of preview sailings, the naming ceremony provided Royal Caribbean the opportunity to give back to the community, doubling as a one-night inaugural celebration-fundraiser to benefit the non-profit Make-A-Wish Foundation, which grants the wishes of children with life-threatening medical conditions. Celebrities including NBA legend Michael Jordan, Corbin Bleu of High School Musical and Olympic gymnast, Oasis godmother Shawn Johnson and Dancing With the Stars professional dancer, Karina Smirnoff were in attendance, granting the wishes of several children that wanted to meet them.

Royal Caribbean has enjoyed a long relationship with Make-A-Wish. Since 2000, the cruise line has hosted more than 1,300 children who wished to go on a cruise to destinations around the world and has contributed more than $2.8 million in in-kind services and $372,000 in discount savings through its Wishes at Sea program.

Through employee and guest fundraising efforts, Royal Caribbean has also raised more than $480,000 and 460,000 frequent flier miles, used to secure airline tickets for children’s wish travel and help the Make-A-Wish Foundation conserve critical financial resources. The cruise line donated 1,000 staterooms for this inaugural, once-in-a-lifetime event to the Make-A-Wish Foundation, with all proceeds benefiting the nonprofit organization.

Seven godmothers chosen for Oasis of the Seas’ seven neighborhoods

When Royal Caribbean officially names its newest cruise ship, Oasis of the Seas, on Monday, Nov. 30, 2009, the cruise line will continue its tradition of innovation by putting a new twist on one of maritime’s longest standing traditions.

While normally bestowing the honor of godmother on one special person, Royal Caribbean has chosen seven extraordinary godmothers to represent the seven neighborhoods onboard Oasis of the Seas. Each of the seven godmothers was chosen because they personify strength of character, exemplify the spirit of giving, and are role models for men, women and children alike.

The godmothers include:
Gloria Estefan, world-renowned singer, songwriter, actor and author, who was godmother of Royal Caribbean’s Empress of the Seas
Michelle Kwan, the Olympic Games medalist is an all-time great and the most decorated figure skater in United States history, and is also an American Public Diplomacy envoy promoting education, positive health practices and respect for diversity
Jane Seymore, a multiple Emmy and Golden Globe winning actor, as well as an Officer of the British Empire, who remains actively involved in the J and J Foundation benefiting children in need. Based on her philosophy that keeping an open heart despite adversity can bring a wealth of love, hope and inspiration into life, she founded the website, a community where people can share stories and engage in a dialogue about living with an open heart.
Dara Torres, twelve-time Olympic medalist and oldest female swimmer to compete in a record five Olympic games (1984, 1988, 1992, 2000 and 2008)
Keshia Knight Pulliam, film and television actress is well-known for her role as Rudy Huxtable on the classic sitcom “The Cosby Show.” The youngest actress ever nominated for an Emmy Award when she was only 6 years old, she presently stars on the TBS television comedy “Tyler Perry’s House of Payne” and was most recently seen starring in the hit motion picture “Madea Goes To Jail.”
Shawn Johnson, four-time medalist at the 2008 Olympic games for women’s gymnastics and cancer philanthropist, who in addition to serving as a godmother for Oasis of the Seas, will be granting wishes onboard as part of her work with the Make-A-Wish Foundation.
Daisy Fuentes, international television personality and producer, beauty and fitness expert, and recognized role model for Latin-American women in the United States, who is committed to improving children’s health and treatments through St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital, Starlight Children’s Foundation and the March of Dimes.

“It is a humbling and equally exciting privilege to have these seven exemplary women take on the responsibility of being godmothers of Oasis of the Seas,” said Richard D. Fain, chairman and CEO, Royal Caribbean Cruises. “We felt it only fitting that our most revolutionary ship be named by an outstanding group of women who embody the same excellence in their respective fields.”

The seven women will take their posts to officially name the ship at a ceremony during a one-night inaugural celebration-fundraiser onboard Oasis of the Seas to benefit the non-profit Make-A-Wish Foundation, which grants the wishes of children with life-threatening medical conditions. Tickets for the once-in-a-lifetime event begin at $500 per person.

Guests who wish to continue their adventure onboard will receive an exclusive discount price, beginning at $650 per person, on a four-night cruise package sailing to the cruise line’s private beach destination, Labadee, departing the morning following the event on Tuesday, Dec. 1 (rates based on double-occupancy and stateroom package).

For reservations to this exclusive event combined with the four-night sailing, contact Cynthia Paez, Royal Caribbean International, at (877) 202-1520, ext. 12751, or [email protected]

Marcia Gay Harden named Carnival Dream godmother – unveiled largest children’s book

Academy Award winning actress Marcia Gay Harden reads from "The Dream Plucker of Perrysport," which is claimed to be the world's largest children's book, to students from Brooklyn's PS23.

In celebration of the launch of its newest, largest and most family-friendly “Fun Ship” ever, Carnival Cruise Lines announced that Academy Award-winning actress Marcia Gay Harden will serve as godmother of the new Carnival Dream. She unveil the world’s largest children’s book in New York City on Friday, along with a major, multi-year partnership with St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

New Yorker and mother of three, Harden will officially name the new ship when it makes its North American debut in New York on Nov. 12, 2009. In honor of Carnival Dream’s much-anticipated arrival, the Tony Award-winning actress unveiled Carnival’s Big Book of Dreams — measuring 15.5 feet high by 20 feet wide — in New York City’s Rockefeller Center and conducted a special reading of the larger-than-life story to dozens of schoolchildren. Inspired by the imaginative dreams of children who sailed on Carnival Cruise Lines this spring, “The Dream Plucker of Perrysport” tells the tale of a group of young friends who find themselves on a unique adventure after they encounter a furry orange monster in a quest to remember their dreams.

“As a mother and actress driven by the idea of dreaming big, I’m honored to take on this new role as godmother of Carnival’s largest-ever ship and to help bring the Big Book of Dreams to life for local children,” said Marcia Gay Harden. “I’m also inspired by Carnival’s dedication to support and encourage all kids to dream big through its partnership with St. Jude.”

During the three-year partnership with St. Jude, Carnival Cruise Lines’ goal is to raise $3 million to help achieve the hospital’s mission of finding cures and saving children with cancer and other catastrophic illnesses. To support the hospital, under the theme “Care to Play,” Carnival is creating a number of fun, interactive on-board fundraising activities that will involve guest participation. Carnival will also donate hundreds of kid-sized copies of “The Dream Plucker of Perrysport” to the hospital.

“We’re excited to have a dream-worthy lineup of activities to celebrate the launch of the Carnival Dream, including the talented Marcia Gay Harden as godmother, and to bring kid’s dreams to life in the biggest children’s book ever,” said Carnival President and CEO Gerry Cahill. “We are also very proud and honored to work with St. Jude to further support its wonderful work and inspire the children and families of St. Jude to never lose sight of their dreams.”

“We are so fortunate to work with compassionate companies like Carnival,” said Richard C. Shadyac Jr., Chief Executive Officer of ALSAC, the fundraising organization of St. Jude. “Every dollar donated by Carnival and its guests through the Care to Play fundraising activities will help St. Jude continue its efforts in finding the cures and providing the treatments that will save children’s lives. On behalf of everyone at St. Jude, thank you.”

The 130,000-ton Carnival Dream, is a new class of vessel for the lineg. On Sept. 21, the Dream began its inaugural voyages in Europe and will make its North American debut in New York on Thursday, Nov. 12. The 3,646-passenger Carnival Dream offers a host of innovations including more than 19,000 square feet of space dedicated to children and families, as well as an expansive WaterWorks aqua park featuring the longest water slide at sea. The ship also offers an indoor/outdoor café and entertainment venue called Ocean Plaza, a two-level Serenity adults-only retreat, a wrap-around promenade encircling the ship and a 23,750-square-foot health spa.

To learn more about Carnival Dream and the Carnival Book of Dreams, visit

Ship Review: Celebrity’s newest ship, Equinox, officially sets sail


Celebrity Cruises recently launched their newest ship and it’s a beauty. The Celebrity Equinox was officially named on July 30 in Southampton, England.

Click Here to see the full review, plus photos and videos of the ship and the official naming ceremony.

Cruise Guide: Italian flair woos passengers to MSC Cruises

By Michael Coleman

With Sophia Loren as spokesperson and a cruise experience that promises to be “Beautiful, Passionate, Italian,” what’s not to like about an emerging star in the North American cruise market? 

MSC Cruises may not be a household name here just yet, but a $3 billion fleet expansion, a marketing campaign with film legend Loren, and the clever tag line is attracting passengers to this flourishing line.

Company officials are also banking on the belief that potential guests will gravitate to the genuine, onboard Italian hospitality concept and elegantly-appointed, Italian decor vessels.

It was Loren who, as Godmother, christened the line’s latest vessel in Venice, Italy. MSC Musica, a 90,000-ton, 2,550-passenger gem, entered service in June. Loren also christened MSC Opera (60,000 tons/1,700 passengers) in March, 2004 and MSC Lirica (60,000 tons/1,560 passengers) in April, 2003.

The fleet includes three classic vessels – MSC Melody (formerly the Starship Atlantic of Premier Cruise Lines); MSC Rhapsody (formerly the Cunard Princess); and MSC Monterey. Additionally, the line also features MSC Armonia (formerly European Vision) which entered service in May 2004 and MSC Sinfonia (formerly European Stars) which began service in 2005.

By 2009, with the addition of MSC Orchestra (spring 2007), MSC Fantasia (2008), MSC Poesia (2008) and MSC Serenata (2009) – three of which are under construction now – the line will boast 12 ships and expects to host more than one million passengers annually by 2010.

How will they do it? Loren, the Italian flair and appealing itineraries help, but the addition of special theme cruises, authentic onboard Italian cuisine and a European ambiance, say officials, is key. It won’t hurt, either, that the ships are becoming destinations in themselves.

Aboard MSC Musica, for instance, guests enjoy 22,500 square feet of public space, a 13,000-square-foot spa/beauty facility, three pools, four Jacuzzis, well-equipped fitness center, 7,000-square-foot casino, cigar bar, wine tasting bar, art gallery, onboard shopping opportunities, a 1,200-seat theater, music hall, conference hall, panoramic disco and four restaurants – including a Sushi Bar – offering international and traditional Italian cuisine. In the grand central foyer, which features a waterfall and three bridges, passengers can enjoy piano music while seated on transparent flooring suspended over the water.

In Italy, look for departures from Genoa, Rome and Venice. Mediterranean destinations, meanwhile, run the gamut. Caribbean sailings depart Fort Lauderdale and feature deep Caribbean, Caribbean and Panama itineraries, while Northern Europe voyages depart Copenhagen and Amsterdam with itineraries that explore the Norwegian Fjords, Baltic capitals, Scotland and England.

Look for savings of up to 60 percent for Baby Boomers and seniors on select Caribbean and Panama roundtrip sailings out of Fort Lauderdale aboard MSC Lirica and MSC Opera through spring, 2007. 

Baseball fans, meanwhile, can rub elbows with all-stars and hall-of-famers on MSC Lirica’s 11-night Nov. 26, 2006 and April 18, 2007 Caribbean sailings and golfers can hone their skills on MSC Sinfonia’s May 7 and Oct. 22, 2007 Mediterranean sailings with one of the world’s leading golf trainers: Chuck Cook.

Look for the line to also offer additional theme cruises from hobbies and culture to cuisine, music, well-being and more.

Cruise Guide: Godmothers symbolize the romance of ocean travel

By Michael Coleman

Female monarchs, heads of state, legendary actresses, world-class athletes, comedians, astronauts and even an animated film character have been named godmother for many of today’s new, gleaming cruise ships. And, like the ship itself, the godmother’s name will live forever in maritime history. 

The task is relatively simple, but the rigors of the job became obviously apparent in 2002 when Dame Judi Dench became affectionately known as Dame Judi ”Drench” when the champagne bottle she was attempting to break on the hull of Carnival Legend – on the third attempt, no less – soaked the Oscar-winning British actress and Captain Claudio Cupisti.

When Martha Stewart served as godmother to Crown Princess during the vessel’s official naming ceremony in New York this week, she joined an elite sorority of women whose sole role is to bring good luck to ships and the passengers who sail on them.

“Christenings evoke the sophistication and romance of ocean travel that are integral elements of the cruise experience,” said Terry L. Dale, president and CEO of the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA), the marketing arm for 20 premier cruise lines and nearly 17,000 North American travel agencies. So, when Ms. Stewart presided over the vessel at the new Brooklyn Cruise Terminal, she was in good company.

While some might question the wisdom of the choice based on Stewart’s recent and well-publicized legal troubles, she still built a professional career unlike no other business woman in modern history and for that received a place among Time Magazine’s “America’s 25 Most Influential People,” Fortune’s “50 Most Powerful Women” (twice), Vanity Fair’s “New Establishment List of the Top 50 Leaders of the Information Age,” and Forbes’ Annual 400 List.

Stewart also joined a heady list of luminaries who christened Princess Cruises’ ships over the years including the late Princess Diana of Wales, former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, Sophia Loren, Audrey Hepburn, Olivia de Havilland, the first lady of Alaska, Nancy Murkowski and Mireya Mossoco, president of Panama. The cast of The Love Boat, the popular TV show filmed aboard Princess ships, also served as godmother to Dawn Princess in 1997.

The 2004 christening of Queen Mary 2 by Queen Elizabeth II, meanwhile, followed an established tradition under which a senior female member of the royal family names Cunard Line ships. The original Queen Mary was named by Queen Mary, wife of King George V, in 1934. Queen Elizabeth was launched by the late Queen Mother, then Queen Elizabeth, in 1938. QE2 was named by the current Queen in 1967.

Christening ceremonies, however, haven’t always been smooth. As noted, it took British actress Dame Judi Dench three attempts to smash a bottle of champagne against the hull of Carnival Cruise Lines’ Carnival Legend in 2002. In her last attempt, she soaked herself, thus earning the nickname Dame Judi ”Drench.” 

Actress Mira Sorvino, Newswomen Paula Zahn and Katie Couric, retired Army Pvt. Jessica Lynch and astronauts Tamara Jernigan and Sally Ride have also been godmothers at Carnival.

Luxury operator Crystal Cruises has chosen legendary actresses as godmothers over the years. Acclaimed singer and actress Dame Julie Andrews served as Crystal Serenity’s godmother at a Southampton, England, ceremony in 2004. Angela Lansbury had the honor of christening Crystal Symphony in 1995. In 1990, Mary Tyler Moore named the line’s Crystal Harmony, which has since been transferred to parent company NYK Line.

In an industry first, Tinker Bell christened Disney Wonder in 1999, marking the first time an animated character was named as a godmother. She not only released the bottle of champagne against the hull but also sprinkled pixie dust on the ship thanks, of course, to the Disney magic of laser projection.

Royal Caribbean, through a partnership with NBC’s Today show, launched a national search for the godmother of its new Freedom of the Seas, the world’s largest passenger vessel. Katherine Calder of Oregon, a foster mother to over 400 children, won the honor and christened the vessel last month. Other Royal Caribbean godmothers have included Queen Sonja of Norway, Lauren Bacall, Whoopi Goldberg, Gloria Estefan and former first lady Rosalynn Carter. 

Ceremonies have come a long way since the Vikings marked ship christenings with human sacrifices and high priest charms designed to appease the gods.