In a spectacular ceremony today in Southampton, Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cambridge named the new ship Royal Princess when she released a bottle of champagne that smashed against its hull.
Standing on the naming platform with the ship’s Captain Tony Draper, The Duchess pronounced, “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.
The ceremony included star-studded entertainment that blended maritime tradition with contemporary elements, reflecting the innovative spirit of Princess’s newest class of ship. In addition to the exciting bottle break moment, the quayside festivities included a host of musical performances, including British pop singer Natasha Bedingfield singing her hit “Unwritten,” as well as an original song by British actress and “the first lady of London’s West End,” Kerry Ellis. Internationally renowned percussive orchestra Mass Ensemble performed with its signature “Earth Harp,” an architectural instrument with strings that extended 1,000 feet and was played as it hovered 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 with the pomp and ceremony of British ship-naming traditions. The Right Reverend Tim Dakin, Bishop of Winchester, conducted the traditional ship’s blessing.
A replay of the christening can be viewed by clicking here.
The 3,600-passenger Royal Princess is a new-generation ship. Among the special features found on board is a dramatic multi-story atrium serving as the social hub of the ship offering a host of dining and entertainment options; the SeaWalk, a top-deck glass-bottomed walkway extending 28 feet beyond the edge of the ship; plush private poolside cabanas that appear to be floating on water; the largest pastry shop at sea; a special Chef’s Table Lumiere, a private dining experience that surrounds diners in a curtain of light; and balconies on all outside staterooms.
Following the ship’s maiden voyage to Barcelona on June 16, Royal Princess will sail on Grand Mediterranean cruises throughout the summer, followed by Eastern Caribbean cruises beginning in the autumn.
Photos and press release courtesy of Princess Cruises.