In another episode of 60-Second Cruise Tips, Gary Bembridge, author of “The Cruise Traveler’s Handbook“, “Essential Cruise Tips” and “River Cruising Essential Tips and Tricks” shares another cruise tip. This time it is:
What is a ship’s Godmother?
It is a long-standing tradition for ships to have a “Godmother”. These are people who bless and name the ship and wish it, and all who travel on it, safe passage.
In recent times the choice of the Godmother has become a major marketing tool, as it can create additional PR and news coverage. The British Royal family have taken the role over many decades, including Katherine Duchess of Cambridge for Princess Cruises Royal Princess. Diana, Princess of Wales, having named an earlier incarnation. Her Majesty the Queen has named a number of ships including Cunard Queen Mary 2 and Queen Elizabeth, and P&O Cruises Britannia. Movies stars are another popular choice with people like Helen Mirran for P&O Ventura, Sophia Loren for MSC, Joanna Lumley for Viking Odin and Julie Andrews for Crystal Serenity. The role is usually taken by women, but not exclusively.
Godmothers usually bless and name the ship at extravagant red-carpet ceremonies designed to create hype and buzz for the new ship. A bottle of champagne or sparkling wine is broken across the bow of the ship, and it is considered bad luck if it does not smash. So much care is taken in planning to ensure it does.