Tag-Archive for » Ship christening ceremonies «

Lion Eyes Part Of New Ship’s Custom

Lion danceEverybody who’s interested in cruises knows that the playing ocean, as opposed to the playing field, is shifting in the direction of Asia. More cruises, more ships, even more cruise lines are re-locating.

With the shift come new customs.

The traditions that come with new ships include a bottle of champagne, a hull and a godmother. She smashes the bubbly against the bow and, voila, the ship has good luck. Most times, there is no evidence that it doesn’t work.

Will that tradition be honored in Asia?

Maybe not.

The keel for the new Princess ship, due in 2017 and destined for China, was laid in Italy last week. The character on the left was part of the occasion and, just like the ship, he has no name yet. He does come with good luck, according to Chinese traditions, and he likes to dance. Admittedly, this was not the christening ceremony that will inevitably come when or before the ship hits the water.

But for a ship going to China, it was an important occasion.

“The lion dance has been part of the Chinese culture for thousands of years and is Keel Layingperformed on various auspicious occasions and celebrations,” said Cherry Wang, country director of Carnival China. “According to traditional Chinese belief, the lion signifies courage, wisdom and good fortune and brings happiness, longevity and good luck. We believe this special ceremony will bring prosperity and good fortune to Princess Cruises and our guests.”

Another part of this ceremony is to paint the lion’s eyes. She and Anthony Kaufman, Senior Vice-President of Asia Operations for Princess, were given the brushes. Painting the eyes awakens its spirit and blesses the lion.

Like we said…new locations, new ships, new customs.

In the news…

• Problems in Greece could impact on 11,000 jobs cruises bring
• Costa, Airitalia to collaborate on "fly and cruise" with 100,000 seats
• Princess latest cruise line to bring beverage packages to ships in Australia

Today at portsandbows.com: 'Only On Carnival' Tours

Royal Princess
15 nights
September 6, 2015
London, Rotterdam, Paris, Vigo, Lisbon, Ponta Delgada, Fort Lauderdale
Inside: $999
Cost per day: $66
www.princess.com

Windstar: Best Small Line…Big Growth

When you increase something, anything, by 50 per cent it’s a big deal. For Windstar Cruises, the month that starts tomorrow is a big deal.

Next Friday, Windstar officially adds a ship to its fleet of four when the Star Breeze is christened in Nice, France. This will come two days after Windstar takes possession of its sixth ship, the Star Legend, and its official addition to the fleet will come May 25 in Rome.

What today is a four-ship fleet will become a six-ship fleet. Hence, 50 per cent.

Windstar’s an interesting cruise line. It has been around, in one form or another, for 30 years. It has been bought by Holland America, Carnival Corporation, Ambassadors International and — most recently — by Xanterra, a subsidiary of the powerful Anschutz Corporation.

None of its ships carries more than 300 or so passengers. In the eyes of Conde Nast Traveler readers, this is the “World’s Best Small Ship Cruise Line” and, clearly, it is growing. The last three ships were purchased from another luxury line after they sailed as Bar DaySeabourn’s Pride, Legend and Spirit. The Star Pride arrived a year ago and the two making their Windstar debuts this month have undergone $8.5 million in upgrades.

Each.

Based on feedback from Star Pride passengers over the last year, Windstar doubled its investment in refurbishing the Pride’s two sisters.

The Breeze also underwent a name change. It was the Spirit at Seabourn, but there’s already a Wind Spirit in this fleet.

Six ships is a 100 per cent expansion in the last year. With the ability to accommodate 636 more passengers on the three ship additions (212 each), the overall capacity grows dramatically, to 1,242. Windstar can now take twice as many people on exotic, small-port excursions on ships that are in reality known as yachts.

The demand must be there, and this oft-orphaned cruise line is doing its best to meet it.

Today at portsandbows.com: Scenic Jasper on the Danube

Norwegian Sun
4 nights
September 28, 2015
Vancouver, Victoria, San Diego
Inside: $219
Cost per day: $54
www.ncl.com

The Business of Ship Godmothers

Anthem

Is the whole Godmother thing wearing a little thin in the cruise world, are people getting tired of celebrities, or is there a shortage of “acceptable” celebrities?

The Godmother of Anthem of the Seas, the new Royal Caribbean ship that’s being christened in Southampton in two weeks, is Emma Wilby.

Emma Wilby?

She’s from the Wilbys of Kinloss, Scotland, where she sings in the Military Wives Choir. She’s undoubtedly a lovely lass, as the Scots would say, and when she christens the Emma WilbyAnthem she’ll sing an anthem, a special song written specifically for the occasion.

When all is said and done, she will be a celebrity of sorts…for singing, for christening and for being a ship’s godmother. She’ll join a Royal Caribbean list of godmothers that include Gloria Estefan, Whoopi Goldberg, Steffi Graf and Jane Seymour. Sophia Loren is also a Godmother, and so are Queen Elizabeth (not the ship) and her daughter-in-law, the Duchess of Cambridge.

Celebrity company that is, and if Emma feels a little out of place it’s easy to understand why. In addition to being a military wife — her husband is a royal engineer in the British Army — Emma is a travel agent.

And that is one of the pools of people into which cruise lines are dipping to find their godmothers now. She is not the first travel agent to be so selected, and one cruise line went in-house and picked employees to do the honors.

The conclusion to be drawn is that either celebrities bring too much “baggage” with them, making it more difficult to use them to market such a wholesome product as cruising…or maybe it’s just that travel agents just sell more tickets.

Today at portsandbows.com: Princess ship a bilingual experience in Japan

Holland America Eurodam
12 nights
May 8, 2015
Copenhagen (return): Kiel, Tallinn, St. Petersburg, Helsinki, Stockholm, Berlin
Inside: $829
Cost per day: $69
www.hollandamerica.com

Britannia To Rule The Waves

 

It’s safe to assume that when Queen Elizabeth christened the P&O Oriana in 1995, when she was a mere child of 69, that nobody imagined two decades later she’d be christening Royal visit to Hertfordshireanother P&O ship, the Britannia.

It happens tomorrow.

This is the biggest ship ever built for Brits. It weighs 141,000 tons, carries 3,647 passengers and has the largest Union Jack ever seen painted on her bow. Under the circumstances, it’s a wonder they didn’t called her the Royal Ship Britannia…an upgrade on the Queen’s long-time Royal Yacht of the same name.

Tomorrow’s ceremony will take place in Southampton, the new ship’s permanent home. It will be live-streamed at live.pocruises.com, an Internet event that the cruise line has been counting down by the second for days now. On board are 13 bars and 13 restaurants — good thing nobody’s superstitious — and a million Britannia-artpounds Sterling ($1.5 million US) worth of art.

Passage on the Britannia has been available for a year and the chance to be first on her disappeared quickly. After hanging around Southampton to celebrate her arrival, the Britannia leaves Saturday on the historic maiden voyage. The first cruise with space still available leaves two weeks later, on March 28, and the prices aren’t outrageous.

For a two-week cruise to Spain and back, prices start at the equivalent of about $3,000, or $212 a day. 

There has been no word whether Queen Elizabeth II plans to go on a Britannia cruise, but she probably will.

In another 20 years. After all, she’ll only be 109.

Today at portsandbows.com: Oceania expanding fleet and itineraries

Costa Fascinosa
7 nights
May 3, 2015
Savona (return): Rome, Palermo, La Valletta, Palma De Mailorca, Barcelona
Inside: $399
Cost per day: $57
www.costacruise.com

New York: 'Hello, Quantum of the Seas'

It was just over a year ago that the world was “introduced” to Quantum of the Seas in New York. The quotation marks are because what those of us who were in Manhattan that day saw was conceptual. Drawings, artistic conceptions, videos and promises by Royal Kristin ChenowethCaribbean CEO Richard Fain that it would be the most technologically astute ship the cruise world had ever seen. Only its Godmother, the personable actress Kristin Chenoweth, was real.

Yesterday, the real Quantum of the Seas arrived in New York.

On board was the Godmother, of course. On board was the North Star, extending 300 feet vertically once the ship cleared the Verrazano Bridge to show off its most visual technology advance to the folks in The Big Apple as Quantum of the Seas detoured around New York Harbor and past the Statue of Liberty before heading back to the “other” Liberty (Cape Liberty), its New Jersey home. On board were dignitaries and media types and, yes, real passengers for Quantum’s authentic maiden cruise, from Southampton.

This is the third-largest cruise ship in the world — behind its sisters Oasis of the Seas and Allure of the Seas. It can carry close to 5,000 passengers, or about 1,000 fewer than the North Starsiblings. It has innovations that include a chance for its passengers to go sky diving (simulated), to ride bumper cars, to board it in 10 minutes using digital technology and to buy drinks from a robot at one of its bars.

The irony in all of this is that New Yorkers needn’t get too attached to Quantum of the Seas. After the christening ceremony on Friday, she’ll only be with them for six months before heading to her “permanent” home in Singapore, to be replaced on the shores of New Jersey by a reasonable facsimile, Anthem of the Seas.

That, it’s said, will not be a “quantum” leap.

Today at portsandbows.com: The latest in cruise news

Norwegian Sun
7 nights
November 30, 2014
Tampa (return): Roatan, Belize, Costa Maya, Cozumel
Inside: $269
Cost per day: $38
www.ncl.com

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