Princess Cruises’ newest vessel, the Royal Princess, recently debuted in Southampton with a highly appropriate official christening performed by Her Royal Highness the Duchess of Cambridge taking place six days after.
The cruise line’s profile was raised considerably in mass media circles, when it was announced that the popular royal would be the godmother of the ship, in what would be her last solo public engagement before giving birth.
The vessel certainly received a musical royal welcome when she arrived at port on Friday 7 July to the strains of God Save the Queen, performed by Southampton University Brass Band. Of course, as cruisers of a certain age will know, Princess Cruise ships are privy to their own musical repertoire and the vessel dutifully returned the musical compliment by playing the first few notes of the theme to The Love Boat. (For those not in the know, the popular 1970’s and 80’s TV show which first brought the world of cruising to the sitting rooms of many took place on a Princess cruise ship.)
Before its official christening, which was attended by 2,000 invited guests and streamed worldwide on Princess Cruises’ own website, the ship was open to members of the cruise and travel industry. Of course, no unveiling would be complete without some celebrity interest, in this case, from former soap stars Samantha Womack and Natalie Gumede, who were suitably impressed by the ship’s new features, such as the giant Movies Under the Stars screen and by the pampering potential of the brand-new Lotus Spa. Also present was UK R&B star Lemar, who hung around to entertain guests (including our own Cruise 118 representatives) with an evening live performance on deck.
One of the 3,600-passenger ship’s most popular new features was the Seawalk; a glass-bottomed walkway which extends over the water, a full 28 feet beyond the ship’s edge. Some great photo opportunities for sure, but perhaps not the best place to be if you don’t have a great head for heights!
By Simon Brotherton