What do Judi Dench, Kim Cattrall and Kate Middleton have in common? It might not be immediately obvious – but these well-known and well-loved ladies are all cruise ship godmothers.
A cruise ship godmother is a female sponsor of the ship who is invited to take part in the ceremonial launch. Since ancient times, the launch of a new ship has been subject to various rituals. Whilst the Vikings marked the occasion with sacrificial human blood, the ceremonies of recent times have been rather more glitzy and distinctly less macabre. Actresses, athletes, models, politicians and even royalty have taken the role of ‘Cruise Ship Godmother’, enjoying the attention of the eager paparazzi who flock to these high profile events.
Judi Dench: Carnival Legend
Image Credit: Roderick Eime
The role of a Cruise Ship Godmother is not too challenging – it requires the requisite bottle smash, the usual photo shoot and attending the launch party – after which, Cruise Godmothers tend to step back from their duties. When Dame Judi Dench agreed to serve as Cruise Ship Godmother for Carnival Legend in 2002, her duties didn’t extend much past breaking the traditional bottle of champagne against the ship’s hull at the official naming ceremony in Harwich. However, that didn’t go exactly as planned – Dame Judi took three attempts to smash the bottle with some help from Claudio Cupisti, the ship’s captain – and on the third attempt she was covered in champagne. As you might expect from this icon of the screen, she took the incident in her stride, proclaiming “I am godmother to 13 godchildren and a god-dog – now I’m godmother to a great ship.”
Of course, it’s unlikely you’ll bump into Dame Judy whilst wondering the decks of Carnival Legend these days – the launch events serve to attract publicity both for cruise line and celeb rather than creating a lifelong duty. Still, it’s a lot of fun watching the ceremonies and considering whether the choice of Godmother fits the ship’s character.
Dame Judi is one of our most renowned award winning actresses both on the stage and screen. A long standing member of the Royal Shakespeare Company, she has appeared in countless productions and received so many awards that a separate Wikipedia page has been set up to document them. Even in her eighties, she continues to wow audiences with her impeccable performances, starring this year in the romantic drama ‘Tulip Fever’ and recently completing work on the biographical drama ‘Victoria and Abdul’ which is due for release in September. Dame Judi is legendary in every respect and her role as godmother of the Carnival Legend, a new and prestigious ship at the time, was completely in keeping with her illustrious career.
Kim Cattrall: Norwegian Dawn
Image credit: © Norwegian Cruise Line
Another star of the silver screen to take the Cruise Godmother role is 60 year old English-Canadian actress Kim Cattrall, known for her portrayal of confident and proud Samantha Jones in Sex and the City. Kim has won a string of awards for her role including a Lucy Award, Screen Actors Guild Award and Golden Globe Award. Aside from her well known television performances Kim, like Dame Judi, is no stranger to the stage. She has also starred in countless films including eighties favourites Big Trouble in Little China and Mannequin.
Kim is Cruise Godmother for Norwegian Dawn which also launched in 2002 in an elaborate ceremony in Manhattan. Whilst the ceremony surprised and delighted all with appearances from the cast of the Broadway smash hit ‘Rent’ together with the Harlem Boys’ Choir, Kim was the star of the show. Appearing alongside a giant animated Statue of Liberty, she proclaimed: “I name this ship Norwegian Dawn. May God bless her and all who sail her.” Kim was presented at the ceremony with a necklace and earrings from coveted jewellers Tiffany’s – and she presented her own gift, an eye catching painting of the ship.
Kate Middleton: Royal Princess
Image credit: Princess Cruises
When it comes to choosing a cruise ship godmother to match the character of the ship, Princess Cruises could not have chosen better than the very lovely Kate Middleton, Duchess of Cambridge. An Ambassador for Britain and style icon around the World, Kate has been named as one of the 100 most influential people in the World by Time magazine.
Kate was invited to be Cruise Godmother for the magnificent MS Royal Princess, the flagship of the Princess fleet, and this much-loved Royal launched the ship in June 2013. Dressed in a Dalmatian-print coat and bespoke hat by Sylvia Fletcher at Lock & Co, Kate was every bit the glamorous Godmother for the $735-million luxurious ship, christening it with a fitting $1,500 crystallized bottle of Moët et Chandon Impérial. Just before the four gallon bottle was launched into the ship’s hull, Kate proclaimed: “May God bless her and all who sail in her.”
There are five new cruise ships set to be launched this year – Norwegian Joy, MSC Meraviglia, Viking Sun, MSC Seaside and Flying Clipper – with another 9 scheduled for 2018. We can’t wait to see who will be chosen as Cruise Godmother for these dazzling new vessels.
If you’d like to sail on any of these wonderful ships, you can find great deals over on our main website – take a look here for the Carnival Legend, here for the Norwegian Dawn and here for the Royal Princess.