What is a Cruise ship Godmother?
It’s a longstanding naval tradition for new ships to be sponsored by a civilian — typically a woman. With this honorific title, the cruise ship godmother is selected to bring good luck and protection to the vessel. The duties are simple; godmothers attend their ship’s ceremonial ship launch and naming ceremony, where they bless and officially name the ship. In past years, they would crack a bottle of Champagne on the hull of a new ship for good luck. Today, due to sheer size and logistics, that usually means the godmother pushes a button or pulls a lever that triggers a bottle of bubbly to swing down and crash on the bow.
Naming a cruise ship godmother is also a great way to get publicity and build excitement for a new-build. Hence the tradition of celebrities; Kristin Chenoweth is godmother of Royal Caribbean’s Quantum of the Seas, and Princess Cruises was honored to have Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, agree to be godmother for the aptly named Royal Princess. And it’s not just a sole woman who acts as godmother these days; Pitbull (a man) christened Norwegian Cruise Line’s Norwegian Escape, while The Rockettes troupe shared the ceremonial title for Norwegian Breakaway.
TOP #10 GODMOTHERS:
Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cambridge became Godmother of Princess Cruises‘ new ship, Royal Princess in June 2013. Her grandmother-in-law, Queen Elizabeth II, has christened two ships for Cunard – the Queen Elizabeth in 2010 and Queen Mary 2 in 2004. She also launched Queen Elizabeth 2 in 1967.
Darcey Bussell, legendary ballerina more recently of BBC1’s Strictly Come Dancing fame, his godmother to P&O’s Azura. ‘Being the godmother of a ship epitomises the glamour of travel,’ she has said.
Having played the Queen and long enjoyed an exalted status as a British style icon, Dame Helen Mirren was the perfect choice to launch P&O’s MS Ventura in 2008.
Hollywood legend Sophia Loren is godmother to not one luxury cruise liner but the entire fleet of MSC’s ships, including Divina (suite 16007 was designed for her), Fantasia and Splendida.
Oscar-winner Jennifer Hudson began her career as a singer on the Disney Wonder and became godmother to the Disney Dream in 2011 at a glittering ceremony in Port Canaveral, going on to headline several concerts aboard Carnival Cruise Lines, as part of their Carnival Live series.
Great British Bake Off star Mary Berry was revealed as a godmother to new Viking Longship, Alsvin, in March 2014, as they set a world record for inaugurating 18 ships in one day. “It’s an honour, as well as an amazing experience, to christen a vessel which I know will be home for Viking guests as they embark on river cruising throughout Europe,” Berry said at the launch.
Twiggy became godmother to Seabourn’s Soujourn in 2010: “the wonderful thing about cruising is how many different places you can visit in two weeks, without packing and unpacking all the time,” she said. She has since also been chosen as the godmother of Emerald Waterways‘ ships: Emerald Sky and Emerald Star in 2014.
Catherine Deneuve christened Uniworld‘s Super Ship, SS Catherine, in early 2014. With a career spanning more than 50 years Deneuve is perhaps best known for her roles in the films Belle Du Jour and Indochine. She has also been a muse for Yves St Laurent and the face of beauty brands including Chanel. Guy Young, President of Uniworld, said at the time: “We are so excited to have Ms Deneuve as the Godmother to our new Super Ship, SS Catherine. She exemplifies everything our new Super Ship represents: classic sophistication, beauty, elegance and grace.”
The legendary Basic Instinct actress was chosen to be godmother of Ama Waterways’ luxury vessel AmaVida, thanks to her humanitarian efforts, and “her beauty and grace”.
National treasure, TV and movie star Joanna Lumley was named godmother to one of Viking River Cruises’s Longships, Viking Odin, in 2012. Ms Lumley initially became closely associated with cruising following her work on two documentaries: Joanna Lumley’s Nile and In the Land of the Northern Lights.