Maiden Voyage Guests Will Christen Seabourn Odyssey

July 3, 2008

When Seabourn Odyssey debuts in June 2009, it will continue the trend of nontraditional naming ceremonies. Thanks to a tip-off from Cruise Critic's Host Dan, we've learned that the godparents of Seabourn's first new ship in 18 years will be all of the maiden voyage passengers. The luxury line recently announced the news in its "Seabourn Horizons" e-newsletter, an opt-in informational mailer.

All passengers onboard (the ship carries 450) will be involved in breaking the traditional bottle of Champagne on the ship's hull -- Seabourn is still working out the logistics of that one -- and their names will be inscribed on a plaque, which will remain on display on the ship. The passengers will receive the typical maiden voyage gifts and mementos, but will not receive any additional perks, or have extra responsibilities, as godparents -- other than a warm, maternal (or paternal) feeling toward the ship.

Other cruise lines that have bucked tradition when it comes to naming new ships are Royal Caribbean, who chose ordinary women to name its most recent vessels, and Carnival, which will christen Carnival Splendor with English sparkling wine rather than Champagne.

Seabourn Odyssey's maiden voyage has not yet sold out, so you still have time to sign on for a luxury cruise and the title of godparent. Seabourn spokesperson Bruce Good tells us that with 347 days to go, the shipyard is right on schedule -- and that the line will pull out all the stops to make sure the maiden cruise happens on time so as not to disappoint would-be christeners.

The reason for this unusual choice of godparents is that Seabourn wants to show its appreciation to its customers, whose loyalty contributed to the decision of building a new ship in the first place. "You don't have to be a movie star or royalty to be in our parade," says Good. "This is a family affair."

--by Erica Silverstein, Associate Editor