Anthem of The Seas Christened in Southampton
Photo courtesy of Royal Caribbean International
Royal Caribbean International christened its new Anthem of the Seas cruise ship in a ceremony that was part rock concert and part tribute to all things British, tempered with a little heartfelt emotion.
British travel agent Emma Wilby did the honors, pushing a button that sent a huge bottle of Perrier-Jouet champagne hurtling down a zipline on the ship's top deck, from the North Star gondola thrill ride into a wall. As the bottle crashed, it was shown on a huge video screen in the ship's Royal Theater and streamers popped out onto thousands of travel agents and invited guests.
The hour-long event took place while the 4,180-passenger ship was docked in Southampton, England, its homeport until November, when it moves to Cape Liberty Cruise Port in Bayonne, N.J.
The ceremony opened with high-energy rock music, flashing lights and video, and a live performance of "We Will Rock You," part of an onboard show by that name devoted to the music of Queen.
The godmother entered the theater escorted by Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. Chairman and CEO Richard Fain, Royal Caribbean International President and CEO Michael Bayley and Captain Claus Andersen. After the procession, the Reading Scottish Pipe Band performed on bag pipes, and both the "Star Spangled Banner" and "God Save the Queen" were sung.
Bayley said the ship exemplifies the company's 45-year tradition of excellence and innovation. "Good is never good enough," he said. "Excellence is what we strive for."
He introduced a performance by Only Boys Aloud, a boys’ choir from Wales that has appeared on "Britain's Got Talent."
Fain introduced Wilby, saying she was chosen after a search for a travel agent who could sing, but also because she exemplified "grace, beauty, a social conscious and a sense of adventure." She then wowed the crowd with her performance of Katy Perry's "Firework."
PHOTO: British travel agent Emma Wilby performs during the christening ceremony for Anthem of the Seas. (Photo by Theresa Norton Masek)
Wilby's parents were on hand, but her husband is stationed with the Royal Army and couldn't attend. He did, however, send a video wishing her well and saying he loved her.
The 168,667-ton Anthem of the Seas is the second of the line's Quantum class and has such eye-popping features as a sky-dive simulator, the North Star glass capsule that carries 15 people about 300 feet above the sea, bionic arm bartenders, and bumper cars.
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