Pioneering Nasa engineer Frances Northcutt and astronaut Kathryn Hire served as the ship’s godmothers (Image: Princess Cruises)
Princess Cruises has officially named its newest cruise ship Sky Princess at a ceremony at Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
Former Nasa engineer Frances Northcutt and former Nasa astronaut captain Kathryn Hire served as the vessel’s godmothers, blessing the ship before smashing a champagne bottle against the hull. Northcutt became the first female mission control engineer at Nasa when she worked on the Apollo programme, while Hire has flown to space twice as a mission specialist.
They were joined by several other pioneering women to have worked at Nasa, including Eileen Collins, the first woman to command a space shuttle; Mae Jemison, the first black woman to have travelled to space; Peggy Whitson, the first woman to command the International Space Station; Ellen Ochoa, the first Hispanic woman in space, and Kathryn Sullivan, the first woman to join a spacewalk.
“As we celebrate our newest, most technologically advanced ship – whose spirit of adventure and discovery match the grandeur of her name, Sky Princess – we also applaud the groundbreaking women of the US space programme,” said Jan Swartz, president of Princess Cruises. “And our godmothers, captain Kay Hire and Poppy Northcutt, remind us all of what we can achieve when we aim for the sky.”
The vessel includes several new features compared to her existing sister ships, including two new Sky Suites, with the largest balconies at sea. She is also the first purpose-built ship to offer the wearable OceanMedallion device to guests. Sky Princess’ new features will also be present onboard another sister ship, Enchanted Princess, when she debuts in Southampton in June 2020.
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