Royal Caribbean International has selected Harmony of the Seas’ godmother following a contest to find a Florida-based mentor or educator who is making a positive impact on the community’s younger generation.
The cruise line received nearly one thousand nominations from the Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties and selected 23-year-old Brittany Affolter from the Miami-Dade region of Teach For America.
Affolter has worked with Teach For America Miami-Dade since 2014, engaging classrooms in Title 1 schools across the county that meet the needs of at-risk and low-income students. She also trains teachers at 14 high-need schools in Miami-Dade, serving more than 500 students. In her spare time, Affolter tutors students, is training to become a mentor for foster children, and is completing her masters in educational leadership.
“I am so honoured to have been selected as godmother to Harmony of the Seas and hope that my story can help give a voice to all the hard-working teachers that give so much of themselves to make a meaningful difference,” said Affolter. “It’s most important for me to help kids understand that no matter what is going on in their lives, they can reach the dreams they have for themselves. It’s amazing what you can achieve when you have the support and encouragement of teachers who go above and beyond.”
Affolter will officially christen Harmony of the Seas during a ceremony at her new homeport in Port Everglades, Florida on 10 November 2016. The ship will make her US debut on 5 November and following her christening, will offer seven-night Eastern and Western Caribbean sailings.
“The godmothers of our ships are remarkable individuals whose life lessons and achievements are rooted in courage, dedication and determination,” said Michael Bayley, president and CEO of Royal Caribbean International. “Brittany exemplifies these qualities and so much more. We were exceptionally impressed by the passion she has for empowering our youth to believe in a better world and brighter future. She is wise beyond her years, and we can only imagine the accomplishments that she will continue to achieve.”
Royal Caribbean will award a US$25,000 grant to Teach For America Miami-Dade, funding education initiatives that further Affolter's mission to inspire the local community’s youth.
“At Royal Caribbean, we view education as a crucial stepping stone for our young people,” said Richard Fain, chairman and CEO of Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. “We are very proud to be in a position to 'pay it forward' by celebrating the unsung heroes in our local communities who have dedicated their lives to this goal. Congratulations to Brittany and the nearly thousand other heroes who were nominated.”
Costing more than US$1billion, the 227,000gt Harmony of the Seas spans 16 guest decks and carries 5,497 guests, making her the largest cruise vessel in the world.
The vessel offers Royal Caribbean’s exclusive seven neighbourhood concept and innovative onboard features, such as VOOM internet, robot bartenders, interior staterooms with virtual balconies, an AquaTheater, a theatre, 20 dining venues, 23 swimming pools, whirlpools, two FlowRider surf simulators, the Perfect Storm trio of waterslides, Splashaway Bay waterpark, the first two-storey Wonderland restaurant, and The Ultimate Abyss, the tallest slide at sea. The ship also has the Central Park, which features 10,587 plants, 48 vine plants and 52 trees.