December 2, 2012
The christening ceremony, conducted in the ship's Reflection Theater, offered humor, music, courage and dignity, along with some traditional pomp and ceremony.
The event included a V.I.P. procession, led by the St. Andrew's Bagpipe Band of Miami and the ship's four Godmothers -- women who, for deep personal reasons, are determined to fight breast cancer. During the naming, Richard Fain, chairman and CEO of Royal Caribbean Cruises, Ltd., noted their strength, courage and optimism. The godmothers are:
Jovanka Goronjic, AquaSpa manager on Celebrity Solstice. Her mother was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2005. To pay tribute, Goronjic donated her hair to create wigs for cancer patients. Her mother is now well.
Megan Mathie, a glassblower in the Hot Glass Show on Celebrity Solstice. Her mother and sister were diagnosed with breast cancer earlier this year. She now hosts a Hot Pink Glass Show, during which she shares her family's story, on every cruise.
Helen O'Connell, manager of Celebrity's community relations. She was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2009. She is the corporate liaison with the Breast Cancer Research Foundation.
Rosey Rodriguez, a 17-year employee of RCCL. Rodriguez, who manages the company's special events team, was diagnosed with Stage 3 breast cancer earlier this year.
Other highlights of the naming included a stirring rendition of the Greek national anthem, performed by Captain Nicholas Pagonis and Greek officers. The tribute was to the line's original Greek owners and was followed by a moving a capella version of the Star Spangled Banner, performed by Uncommon Ground, a group of shipboard entertainers.
Blessings by a local rabbi and pastor and greetings by Fain and Celebrity president and CEO Michael Bayley rounded out the evening.
Fain noted that Reflection brings the number of ships in the company to 42 and recalled that Song of Norway, the first ship in the line, was named at the same pier 42 years before, almost to the day. He attributed the success of the Solstice class to input from passengers, travel partners and staff, and credited innovative design and amenities.
He talked with pride about the beautiful new 126,000-ton, 3,046-passenger ship and spoke of the many innovations, including the first Lawn Club with real growing grass, the glass-blowing show and varied alternate dining venues.
--by Marcia Levin, Cruise Critic contributor