Seabourn's newest -- and biggest -- ship, Seabourn Encore, was named today by soprano Sarah Brightman in an exuberant ceremony in Singapore.
Brightman, who rose to fame in the original West End production of Phantom of the Opera, successfully smashed a bottle of Champagne against the hull of the 600-passenger ship -- the fourth in the Seabourn fleet.
Some 1,050 guests watched the ceremony at Singapore's Marina Bay Cruise Centre in an event that paid tribute to the country's colorful culture.
Fleetmate Seabourn Sojourn was also in town for the party.
The godmother sadly didn't sing, but local entertainers made up for it with dazzling lion and dragon dances, drummers, a cappella singing and robotic stilt walkers in day-glo costumes.
Seabourn President Richard Meadows said: "I had no doubt that the ship would be stunning, but, wow!"
Encore retains many of the design features of its popular sisters, but has an extra deck and carries 150 more passengers.
Features that expand on the original Odyssey class of ships include a much bigger space for a new restaurant, The Grill by Thomas Keller, which is being rolled out across the fleet and brings Seabourn the kudos of working with a three-Michelin-starred chef; and a second new dining spot, Sushi.
There’s a new relaxation and sunbathing area, The Retreat, with private cabanas for rent; and a new production show, "An Evening with Tim Rice", which will premiere in the presence of the man himself on the maiden voyage. For the health conscious, a "Spa and Wellness with Dr. Andrew Weil" mindful living program also makes its debut.
The celebrations concluded with a glamorous deck party, Singapore’s stunning Gardens by the Bay as a backdrop, its iconic giant trees throwing light across the sultry tropical night. Encore sailed after midnight, bound for Indonesia and onwards to Australia and New Zealand. The ship's maiden Mediterranean season will be in summer 2017.
Several Cruise Critic members have been on board for the pre-inaugural crossing from Dubai to Singapore, and you can see a collection of their photographs.
Meanwhile, we're onboard for the whole of the maiden voyage, so check back for our first impressions.
-- By Sue Bryant, Cruise Critic contributor