What does a Royal Godmother Mean to You?

June 12, 2013 | By | No Comments

duchess Catherine royal princess cruise
As we count down to the christening festivities Thursday for
Princess Cruises’ Royal Princess
, featuring Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, we wondered: Does a royal godmother trump a celebrity?
Mostly, yes. Some 54 percent of Cruise Critic members who
voted in our recent poll
said absolutely, the mix of royalty and cruise ships is a winning combination. Another 32 percent said maybe: It depends on which royal (clearly, Queen Elizabeth 2 has to rank at the top of the list; this decade alone she’s christened Cunard’s Queen Mary 2 and Queen Elizabeth). Interestingly, less than 1 percent found “celebrities from world of music, TV, sport and film far more interesting” choices for godmother.
Judging from the buzz down here in Southampton at Ocean Terminal, where christening ceremony event planners are constructing a stage and installing stadium seating and Princess executives are walking around the ship with draft copies of the Duchess’ talking points, there is an extra fission of excitement.

“All ship christenings are very exciting,” writes Cruise Critic member sail7seas, “but this beautiful Royal makes it more so.”
Indeed it’s nice to see the 4,000-year-old tradition of choosing someone to bless a vessel with goodwill and a long, safe life for itself and its crew and passengers, lives on, though perhaps barely. In recent years, many cruise lines, opting for choices more for publicity than for a nod to tradition, have upped the ante on what we traditionalists would consider stunt casting. It seems wrong to choose celebrities who have absolutely no relationship with the ships they christen. “I’ve been cruising for a number of years and only in the last few was I even aware there was a godmother for ships,” writes Cruise Critic member iheartbda. “I thought the portrait of Gloria Estefan (a Royal Caribbean pick) was displayed because she had performed on ship.”
Controversial picks in recent memory include Martha Stewart, for Princess’ Crown Princess; Ashley and Mary Kate Olsen (otherwise known as child actors the Olsen twins) for the mature-leaning Holland America Zaandam; and 13 of New York’s Rockettes for Norwegian Breakway. Even more egregious are those choices who aren’t even real, such as Tinkerbell for Disney Wonder, and Fiona, from “Shrek,” for Royal Caribbean’s Allure of the Seas.
Generally, godmothers who have a relationship with the ships they serve are the most powerful — and those in the past decade or so whose spirit does linger include Jennifer Hudson, a one-time entertainer on Disney, who christened Disney Dream, and the Netherlands’ Queen Beatrix, who celebrated Holland America’s longtime ties there by standing up for Eurodam.
And Kate Middleton, er, Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, fits in the good group as well by dint of her marriage to Prince William, whose mother, Princess Diana, was godmother of Royal Princess (two versions ago). Her portrait, prominently featured on the circa 1984 vessel, was one of the first things I noticed when I embarked on what then was my second-ever cruise, and it raised the ship a notch in my estimation.
Still, it’s fair to ask: Has the role of a godmother begun to wane? Cruise Critic member Zach 1213 sums it up for the five percent of poll respondents who simply don’t care. “I don’t give a darn if the ship was christened by Vladimir Putin, the homeless guy who lives by my office, or nobody at all.”
If you’re still a believer and want to see the Duchess christen Royal Princess, we’ll have it online here at 6:30 a.m. EDT (11:30 a.m. in the U.K. and 8:30 p.m. in Australia) Thursday. Follow our coverage of the ceremony on Twitter using #CCRoyalPrincess..
Read about our 13 favorite godmothers — and two we could do without.
Learn about new ships on order.
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