Independence Named by U.K. Godmother!

April 30, 2008
As April comes to an end, so does the third and final cruise ship launch of the month.

First we had MSC Cruises' Poesia; then it was P&O's Ventura; and today, it's Royal Caribbean's Independence of the Seas.

However there is one difference: While the other two lines used glam female icons to christen their ships -- Sophia Loren for MSC and Helen Mirren for P&O -- Royal Caribbean opted for something different for the launch of the 160,000-ton 3,634-passenger ship in Southampton today.

Yes Independence has an 'ordinary' Brit godmum, Elizabeth Hill from Derbyshire. Elizabeth beat out more than 1,000 hopefuls after being nominated by her 12-year-old daughter Alice in the Royal Caribbean's 'Search for a Godmother' competition. Candidates had to show that they had undertaken extraordinary work with young people in their communities.

Elizabeth proved she had what it took -- she set up the Gamelea Countryside Training Trust based on a farm, which helps young people with physical or learning disabilities and those who have failed in school and are in danger of social exclusion.

She is pictured with Captain Teo Strazicic and Olympic Gold medalist Steve Redgrave (who helped judge the competition and is working with Royal Caribbean to raise awareness to his charity, The Steve Redgrave Fund, which helps young people in the U.K.).

Stay tuned for more coverage of Indy's christening!

--by Kelly Ranson, Associate Editor