From Oprah to Queen Elizabeth: Why cruise ship godmothers exist and who will get to be one

What do the Queen of England, Sophia Loren, Dora the Explorer and the rapper Pitbull have in widespread? They’re all ship godmothers and godfathers in a convention that has developed from historic seafaring days.

In Viking instances, ceremonies for brand new ships are stated to have concerned human sacrifices to appease the gods and shield the ship and its crew. The Babylonians supplied ox blood. In historic Greece, they’d put olive wreaths on their heads, drink wine and bless the brand new ship with water.

Lately, we normally sacrifice a bottle of alcohol by smashing it on the bow after which elevating a glass to have a good time. Though some ships have had their bows doused with brandy, Champagne and wine are the most well-liked selections. (Throughout Prohibition, christenings in the US have been usually carried out with water, juice and apple cider.)

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In the case of selecting a godmother, historically the provide could be prolonged to feminine royalty. Nonetheless, lately, cruise strains have gotten artistic. The correct godmother will get folks speaking and result in an entire lot of free publicity, which is why we’ve seen celebrities, politicians, athletes and even cartoon characters entering into the position.

Some be a part of their godship’s inaugural cruise, however others solely keep for the Champagne smashing and flashing cameras. As soon as the ceremony is over, most don’t have an ongoing position on their ship, although some discover methods to maintain working along with the cruise line.

What sort of particular person makes the reduce to christen a ship? Let’s have a look.

Simone Biles


In 2021, Simone Biles, a 19-time world champion gymnast and seven-time Olympic medalist, turned godmother for Superstar Cruises’ Superstar Past. The road has usually chosen transformational and brave godmothers who’re breaking obstacles and championing change of their respective fields. Biles joins fellow Superstar godmothers Reshma Saujani, founding father of Ladies Who Code and the Marshall Plan for Mothers, and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Malala Yousafzai.

Jennifer Lopez

Holding with its non-traditional manner of doing cruises, Virgin Voyages did away with the “godmother” moniker, naming actor and singer Jennifer Lopez the “Chief Leisure and Life-style Officer” for the road’s Valiant Woman. Lopez is not simply the face of the vessel. She’s partnered with the road, creating wellness packages and sweetness merchandise which can be out there throughout the Virgin Voyages fleet.

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Associated: First look: 10 issues I like about Virgin Voyages’ new Valiant Woman cruise ship

Katy Perry

Katy Perry performs at Norwegian Prima’s christening ceremony. TRISTAN FEWINGS/NORWEGIAN CRUISE LINE VIA GETTY IMAGES

One of many newest in a protracted line of well-known and attention-grabbing godmothers, singer Katy Perry christened Norwegian Cruise Line’s Norwegian Prima in Iceland in 2022 and adopted it up with a dwell efficiency and a brief crusing on the vessel.

Queen Elizabeth II

Queen Elizabeth II attended the christening of Britannia in March 2015. JAMES D. MORGAN/GETTY IMAGES

The ship that shares the late British queen’s identify, Queen Elizabeth 2, or QE2, might now be a floating resort in Dubai, however the queen was additionally the godmother of three ships which can be nonetheless crusing the seas.

The queen christened two Cunard ships, Queen Mary 2 in 2004 and Queen Elizabeth in 2010, and was additionally godmother to P&O Cruises’ Britannia. Different royal members of the family who turned ship godmothers embrace the late Diana, Princess of Wales and Catherine, Princess of Wales (previously generally known as the Duchess of Cambridge).

Sophia Loren

As godmother to the most important variety of vessels, Sophia Loren has christened almost two dozen ships within the MSC Cruises fleet. Earlier than turning into MSC’s godmother of alternative, beginning with MSC Lirica in 2003, Loren additionally turned godmother of Princess Cruises’ authentic Crown Princess again in 1990.

Dame Helen Mirren

The British Oscar-winning actress Helen Mirren turned the godmother of the world’s first discovery yacht, Scenic Eclipse. The founder and chairman of Scenic, Glen Moroney, stated Mirren’s “model, magnificence and spirit of journey” have been the right match for Scenic Eclipse. It wasn’t her first time smashing Champagne on a ship. Mirren additionally turned godmother to P&O Cruises’ Ventura in 2008.

Oprah Winfrey

Oprah Winfrey speaks in the course of the Holland America Line and Nieuw Statendam dedication in 2019. JOHN PARRA/GETTY IMAGES FOR HOLLAND AMERICA

To have a good time turning into godmother to Holland America Line’s Nieuw Statendam, Oprah set sail on a cruise along with her pal Gayle King and a couple of,666 Oprah journal readers. Oprah additionally labored with HAL to offer life-style packages, together with morning meditation and intention setting, throughout 16 ships.

Dame Judi Dench

Champagne bottles are constructed robust to face up to excessive strain. Sadly, Dame Judi Dench came upon simply how laborious they are often when she christened Carnival Cruise Line’s Carnival Legend in 2001. After three makes an attempt, the bottle lastly smashed and soaked her within the course of, resulting in “Dame Judi Drench” headlines alongside pictures of her coated in Champagne.

Martha Stewart

The movie star life-style knowledgeable’s appointment as godmother was a controversial alternative in 2006, coming simply two years after she had been sentenced to 5 months in jail on felony prices. Stewart did the honors for Princess Cruises and christened the road’s new Crown Princess ship that 12 months. Stewart at the moment works with MSC Cruises creating unique onboard and onshore culinary experiences.

Malala Yousafzai

Superstar Edge naming ceremony. CELEBRITY CRUISES

The youngest Nobel Prize laureate, Yousafzai continues her struggle to offer each lady the proper to protected, free training via the Malala Fund. When she christened Superstar Cruises’ Superstar Edge with glowing water relatively than Champagne, she additionally marked a two-year partnership between the cruise line and her charity.

Priscilla Presley

Steamboats have godmothers, too, and the most important and most luxurious one on the Mississippi has Priscilla Presley. American Queen appears like an old-school showboat on the surface however options trendy comforts on the within. When it stops in Memphis, company obtain an invite to the godmother’s home, Graceland.

Dora the Explorer

Dora the Explorer in the course of the official naming ceremony of P&O’s Pacific Explorer in 2017. JAMES D. MORGAN/GETTY IMAGES

When P&O Cruises referred to as on Dora the Explorer to function godmother to Pacific Explorer, the Nickelodeon character was joined by SpongeBob SquarePants and the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles for the christening celebration. Different animated godmothers embrace Shrek’s Princess Fiona, who’s the godmother to Royal Caribbean’s Attract of the Seas, and Tinkerbell, who’s the fairy godmother to Disney Cruise Line’s Disney Surprise.


When Norwegian Cruise Line named Pitbull the godfather of Norwegian Escape in 2015, it took lots of people unexpectedly. It seems he’s the godfather who retains on giving. Pitbull’s songs have been featured in Norwegian’s advertisements, he’s entertained company at a CruiseWorld occasion and the video clip for his music “Freedom” is just about an advert for the cruise line.

Since Pitbull was named godfather, different males have additionally stuffed the position for NCL, together with New York Metropolis radio character Elvis Duran, who christened Norwegian Bliss in 2018.

‘The Love Boat’ solid

When “The Love Boat” cruised onto TV screens in 1977, the pilot was filmed on Princess Cruises’ authentic Pacific Princess.

Quick ahead to 2014 when six of the primary solid members turned godparents to the road’s Regal Princess. Gavin Macleod (Captain Stubing), Fred Grandy (Gopher), Ted Lange (Isaac), Bernie Kopell (Doc), Lauren Tewes (Julie) and Jill Whelan (Vicki) reunited to drag a deal with that despatched 50 bottles of Champagne crashing towards the ship’s hull earlier than singer and comedienne Charo introduced down the home with a flamenco guitar efficiency. Now that’s a celebration.

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Further reporting by Ashley Kosciolek and Kristy Tolley.

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