As you may know, the role of a ship's godmother is to provide a good luck send-off. "In ancient times," writes Jana Jones, author of Our Favorite Godmothers, "sacrificial human blood was used instead of Champagne to bless a ship, and the rites were performed by pagan priests. In more modern times, female royalty was selected to do the honors; in today's age of 24-hour news, instant celebrity and paparazzi, actresses, models, businesswomen, philanthropists, astronauts, politicians, athletes and newswomen have been chosen for the role."
O'Donnell, currently co-host of ABC-TV's The View, is a perfect choice -- being that she's actually a devoted NCL fan. Through R Family Vacations, a travel organization specializing in trips for families with gay and lesbian parents, O'Donnell has chartered four ships from the company. The company's next cruise, on Norwegian Jewel, will take place in February 2007.
In addition, O'Donnell's own commitment to causes that aid kids has led Norwegian Cruise Line to donate Norwegian Pearl for a one-night charity event on Friday, December 15. The ship will cover all expenses, and 100 percent of the ticket revenue will be donated to Rosie's For All Kids Foundation. Folks onboard will enjoy a Broadway-style show in the Stardust Theater featuring O'Donnell and a host of entertainers. There will also be a comedy show by Second City, the famed comedic troupe.
Tickets, incidentally, are still available for the charity event. They go on sale Monday, October 30; prices range from $250 to $3,000 per person, depending on the nature of accommodations. Call NCL at 800-327-7030.
In the meantime, the other good news is the fact that Norwegian Pearl is making its debut. The 93,500-ton, 2,400-passenger ship is the latest in a series of Jewel-class ships, and like its siblings, it features some amenities that are all its own. Prime among them are two NCL firsts: a 4-lane, 10-pin bowling alley and a rock-climbing wall. In addition, there are two new owner's suites.
Features otherwise include innovations already established on Norwegian Jewel, such as Courtyard and Garden Villas, multiple restaurants offering a blend of cuisines and the flexibility of dining freestyle, and family-friendly staterooms.
Beginning December 18, Norwegian Pearl will begin its regular schedule of cruising, offering a series of four-, five-, seven- and nine-night Caribbean trips. The ship will offer a Panama Canal-themed cruise in April 2007 as it transits to its summer home in Alaska.
--by Carolyn Spencer Brown, Editor