Royal Navy Divers to Assist in Splendor Naming

July 3, 2008

Carnival Cruise Lines is already bucking naming ceremony convention by smashing a bottle of sparkling wine against the hull of its new ship, Carnival Splendor, rather than the usual Champagne.

But now the American line is taking it quite a bit further.

Carnival has already chosen a Brit godmother -- musician and presenter Myleene Klass -- to name the 113,000-ton, 3,006-passenger ship, Carnival's largest ever, in Dover next Thursday. However she'll now be given a helping hand by way of the Royal Navy divers -- and it seems that Carnival has come up with a foolproof way to make sure the bottle breaks.

The crack plan? Petty officer Christian Rumming, assisted by a Royal Navy dive team led by Lt. Ian Richardson, will be underwater near the bow of the Carnival Splendor.

When he hears a unique radio signal from Myleene Klass, who'll be playing live classical piano music on the ship's top Lido deck, PO Rumming will let out some compressed air from his diving tanks and then personally climb, in wet suit, safety harness and flippers, up the side of the ship to Splendor's name on the top of her bow.

Then, at the command of Myleene, he will smash the bottle of 1994 vintage Nyetimber English sparkling wine against the hull.

The Splendor ceremony is quite a contrast to Holland America's Eurodam christening, a more modest ritual that eschewed the spectacular in favor of the traditional: Her Majesty Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands performed the rote blessing of the bell and smashing of a Champagne bottle against the hull to polite applause and "Here here's."

Apart from the oh-so-sedate offering from HAL, however, naming ceremonies of late have become more and more theatrical in a bid to stand out. Back in April, P&O Cruises enlisted the help of the Royal Marines when Dame Helen Mirren christened the line's newest ship, Ventura.

As Dame Helen named the ship, a crack team of marines scaled the ship and smashed a total of 10 Champagne bottles.

Following its naming ceremony Carnival Splendor will set off on a three day preview cruise to Amsterdam. On July 13 it will then leave for its official inaugural 12-day cruise to the Baltic.

Cruise Critic will be reporting live from the christening, so stay tuned!

--by Kelly Ranson, Associate Editor, with additional reporting by Dan Askin, Assistant Editor