Royal Caribbean International is on the hunt for a British godmum.
That is, the cruise line, which launches Independence of the Seas in April, wants to choose a U.K.-based godmother to perform the ceremonial duties that come with the job (smashing champagne against the ship's bow, making a dutiful toast).
Of course, British women, including Queen Elizabeth II, have been serving as ships' godmothers for eons. But heretofore they've always been either celebrities or royals, such as Dame Julie Andrews (Crystal Serenity), Dame Judi Dench (Carnival Legend) and, next month, Helen Mirren for P&O's Ventura.
Royals, too, are a favourite choice and have included the aforementioned Queen Elizabeth II (for everything from Cunard's Queen Mary 2 to Queen Elizabeth 2). Most recently, Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, handled inauguration duties for Cunard's new Queen Victoria.
But Royal Caribbean has different ideas about the kind of godmother it wants to represent Independence of the Seas. It wants a deity who's more of a mere mortal. In an announcement released today, Royal Caribbean "is calling for an ordinary British woman who has done extra-ordinary things to become Godmother to the new Independence of the Seas this April. This special Godmother will demonstrate how she has gone above and beyond the call of duty and dedicated incredible time and effort to improve the well-being and future of young people under 18 years old in her community."
The line has appointed Sir Steve Redgrave, five-time Olympic gold medalist and figurehead of the Steve Redgrave Fund, to front the search, which apparently began yesterday. He's working with ITV on the effort. The fund works to emphasize the importance of fitness -- on everything from battling obesity to creating confidence -- for young people ages 11-16 and works with schools to install equipment and offer programming.
Have a Nomination?
According to the statement issued by Royal Caribbean, feel free to make a nomination but it's important to follow the established procedures. These include:
All potential Godmothers must be nominated via a dedicated website -- www.searchforagodmother.co.uk
To enter, applicants must explain in 250 words or less why they, or someone they know, would be the ideal Godmother for Independence of the Seas.
A special panel of judges including Royal Caribbean International executives, guest judges and Sir Steve Redgrave, will select the ship's Godmother.
The winner will be expected to help launch the ship via a ribbon cutting and Champagne smash, will have her own portrait hung onboard Independence of the Seas, will handle unspecified publicity activities, and, last but by no means least, will enjoy a decade of complimentary cruises (one per year) for two on Royal Caribbean ships.
A New Trend In Godmothering?
Actually, no! While celebrity godmothers, typically actresses and occasionally models, and sometimes royalty, are generally the most common, several U.S.-based lines have made an effort to invite just plain folks to enjoy the honor. Royal Caribbean, in fact, tried a similar approach with U.S.-based Louise Calder, who has provided foster care for more than 400 children with special needs; she was selected as godmother of Freedom of the Seas after a similar competition. For Liberty of the Seas (a Freedom and Independence sibling), it even conducted a contest among North American travel agents to choose a godmother.
Norwegian Cruise Line also put their own spin on finding a godmum -- the relaxed line set a task of finding its own "It Girl", which came in the form of New Jersey resident Cindy Cardella.
--by Kelly Ranson, Associate Editor
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RCI Opens Search for Independence of the Seas' U.K. Godmother
March 25, 2008