The Duchess of Cambridge has officially named Princess Cruises’ newbuild according to British ship-naming tradition in a ceremony at the Port of Southampton.
The ceremony celebrated Princess’s enduring British heritage and featured performances by The Band of Her Majesty’s Royal Marines Portsmouth and the 1st Battalion of the Royal Irish Guards, as well as British singer-songwriter Natasha Bedingfield and British actress and West-end singer Kerry Ellis.
Welcoming the Duchess, dignitaries and guests to the ceremony, the lines’ president and CEO Alan Buckelew, said: “This is indeed a very proud day for all of us at Princess and marks the culmination of several years of designing and building this magnificent vessel.”
He then highlighted the ship’s innovative features, thanking the vice president of interior design Teresa Anderson, coordinating architect Giacomo Mortola, Fincantieri shipyard and others for their dedication to the project.
Royal Princess includes some of the line’s signature features, such as Movies Under the Stars and an expanded Princess Theater, as well as a range of new dining and entertainment venues and concepts including the first Princess Live! television studio and SeaWalk, a cantilevered glass-bottomed walkway, which hovers 128 feet above the ocean and extends 28 feet beyond the starboard side of the ship.
“The result is a ship that is at once familiar and welcoming, while at the same time innovative and exciting, to delight our passengers and deliver the unforgettable vacations we’re so well known for,” said Buckelew.
Following a blessing by Right Reverend Tim Dakin, Bishop of Winchester and a request from Captain Tony Draper, the Duchess of Cambridge broke a bottle of champagne against the side of the vessel, saying: “I name this ship Royal Princess. May God bless her and all who sail in her.”
Thanking the Duchess and emphasising the importance of the godmother role, Buckelew said: “A godmother is a figurative patron of that ship for its entire life and symbolises its spirit. We can think of no better godmother to this ship than the Duchess of Cambridge – an ambassador for Britain who is admired for her style, grace and compassion around the world.”
Royal Princess will embark on her inaugural cruise from Southampton on 16 June and then cruise on the line’s signature Grand Mediterranean itinerary throughout the summer. She will sail in the Eastern Caribbean region in autumn, before arriving at her Port Everglades homeport, where she will join several of the company’s other vessels to offer Caribbean cruises during the winter season.