November 22, 2002
In recent years, cruise line picks for ship-godmothers -- largely a
ceremonial title and always involving the traditional smashing of a
champagne bottle over the bow -- have been a ho-hum news event, usually honoring the wife of a major shareholder or company executive. But cruise lines are spicing up the ceremonies these days, picking well-known celebrities from the worlds of entertainment, sport and even politics. First this year was Carnival, which chose Great Britain's Dame Judi Dench for its Legend sendoff. Then Holland America announced television persona Joan Lunden would handle christening duties for Zuiderdam (December 14). Just yesterday, an even more interesting choice was announced by Royal Caribbean, who has picked tennis star (and wife of Andre Agassi) Steffi Graf as godmother of Navigator of the Seas when it debuts in Miami on December 6 (will she crush a tennis racket instead of champagne against the bow?). And this week, when Carnival Conquest debuts in New Orleans, look for Louisiana's Lindy Boggs, its first-lady-of-politics, to handle godmothering chores.