On June 13, in Southampton, UK, Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cambridge christened the new ship Royal Princess as she smashed a bottle of Mo├½t & Chandon champagne against it’s hull and pronounced, “I name this ship Royal Princess. May God bless her and all who sail in her.”
Alan Buckelew, Princess Cruises president and CEO commented, “We can think of no more fitting godmother for our magnificent new Royal Princess. Her Royal Highness is an inspiring ambassador for Britain – with whom Princess Cruises shares strong ties – and she is admired around the world for her style and grace. We’re so honored she accepted our invitation to become godmother to our new ship.”
Ship naming is a tradition that dates back thousands of years and asks for a blessing of good fortune and safety for the ship and its passengers and crew. The godmother is the symbolic sponsor of the ship and symbolizes the spirit of the vessel.
In addition to the bottle break, the celebration also had a number of musical performances, with singer Natasha Bedingfield singing her hit “Unwritten,” as well as a song by British actress and “the first lady of London’s West End,” Kerry Ellis.
There was also a performance by percussive orchestra Mass Ensemble, who performed with its signature “Earth Harp,” an architectural instrument with strings that extend 1,000 feet and. The Earth Harp was played while hovering over the nearly 2,000 ceremony guests.
The Band of Her Majesty’s Royal Marines Portsmouth and The Pipe Band of 1st Battalion Irish Guards opened the event and the Right Reverend Tim Dakin, Bishop of Winchester, conducted the ship’s blessing.
The christening followed a week of events to launch the ship; there was also a special gala last night. Guests invited to the Royal Princess naming celebrations included representatives from various 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 new 3,600-passenger Royal Princess features a multi-story atrium offering a host of dining and entertainment options; an over-water SeaWalk, a top-deck glass-bottomed walkway extending 28 feet beyond the edge of the ship; private poolside cabanas; the new Princess Live! television studio; the largest pastry shop at sea; a special Chef’s Table Lumiere, and balconies on all outside staterooms.
The ship will sail on its maiden voyage to Barcelona on June 16, and then will sail on Grand Mediterranean cruises throughout the summer, followed by Eastern Caribbean cruises in the fall.