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Cruise ship photo essay - - Celebrity Eclipse - - Celebrity Cruises - - The Celebrity Eclipse Naming Ceremony

                                                            Above: Celebrity Eclipse at the City Cruise Terminal.

On 24 April 2010, Celebrity Eclipse was officially named in a ceremony in Southampton England.  
The location of the ceremony was particularly significant because Eclipse, the third ship in Celebrity's
Solstice class, is being directed toward the UK market and will be sailing from Southampton on a
regular basis.

The ceremony took place in the ship's theater while the ship was docked at the City Cruise Terminal.
 However, it was also broadcast to the public who had assembled in Mayflower Park, which is
adjacent to the City Terminal.    
    Eclipse actually began her active career prior to her official naming.  
Plans had called for her to do a two-day promotional cruise for travel
agents and journalists prior to the naming ceremony.  However, the
eruption of a volcano in Iceland projected a cloud of volcanic debris into
the skies over Europe, closing airports and stranding travelers for days.  
In light of this emergency, Celebrity Cruises decided to cancel the
promotional cruise and to use Eclipse to take travelers stranded in the UK
to Spain and to bring some 2,000 British travelers stranded in Spain back
to the U.K.  The ship returned to Southampton the evening before she
was scheduled to be named.

Consistent with this humanitarian start to her career, Eclipse's naming day
began with an event to raise money and awareness for the fight against
breast cancer.  The Celebrity Sunwalk was a power walking challenge
organized by Walk The Walk, a leading British breast cancer charity, and
sponsored by Celebrity.  The finish line for the walk was in Mayflower
Part directly in front of Eclipse.

(Above Right:  Eclipse towers over the Southampton skyline as she returns home
from Spain; Below right: Mayfloer Park from Eclipse).
The official ceremony began later that afternoon.  Cruise Director Nick Weir was
the Master of Ceremonies and opened the event.  "Welcome to one of the most
important moments this beautiful vessel will ever experience.  To get a vessel of
this complexity and size to this point is really an enormous task.  It takes, literally,
tens of thousands of hours of people calculating, thinking, and conceptualizing the
final product.  Then it is handed over to the people who design it all - - hundreds of
thousands of drawings, diagrams and PDFs.  Most of them are done on computer
screens but some are done in the old-fashioned draftsmanship way.  This is the
amazing figure - - over four million man-hours of labor to create this vessel.  That
is the amount of work that a human being can get done in an hour multiplied by
four million.   And it all comes down to this moment right now where we finally
give the ship a real heart and a real heart beat."

This was followed by a video and musical tribute to the ship, the people that built
her and to her crew.
A bugler announced a procession of executives from Celebrity Cruises and its parent company Royal Caribbean
Cruises Ltd. escorting the ship's godmother to the stage.  Meanwhile, drummers from the Royal Air Force Halton
Pipes and Drums rose up on a lift onto the stage.
The ship received two blessings.

The first was from  Rabbi Neil Amswych of the
Bournemouth Reform Synagogue. "God who rules the
raging of the sea and who stills its rising waves be with
those who travel the sea in ships and who have seen the
works and wonders of you in the deep and also in the
great and wide sea."
"Let your blessing be upon this vessel and upon all who
will serve and sail in her.  May good success and your
protection and the guardianship of the holy angels always
be with them." - - Recd. Andrew Hackett, Port Chaplin,
The Mission to Seafarers.
Because Eclipse is intended to serve the UK and because Celebrity Cruises is headquartered in the United States, both the British and
the American national anthems were played at the ceremony.
Richard D. Fain, Chairman and CEO of Royal Caribbean
Cruises Ltd. then spoke.  "Celebrity Eclipse is the third in a
series of five stunning ships in what we call the Solstice class.  
Collectively, this class represents the two and a half million
pound investment - - the largest new building commitment for
a single company in industry history.   I have to tell you that it
was a bit scary to be making such a large bet on one project
but I can now call it a bet because it has now paid off."
"You might ask why did we undertook such a massive
project.  Frankly, it was because of our confidence in the
strength of the industry and the power of the Celebrity brand.  
We knew that our guests already loved Celebrity and we also
knew that there was a powerful demand for the kind of
superlative design and engineering that this ship represents. At
the same time, we have been witnessing tremendous growth in
the UK and in Ireland and we wanted a ship that could help
satisfy that growing demand.  All of these factors together led
us to build this wonderful ship and devote the Celebrity
Eclipse entirely to the British and the Irish market for the first
time in our 20 year history."
Dan Hanrahan, President & CEO of Celebrity outlined some of Eclipse's virtues.  "The
response to this class of ships has been so uniformly positive it is hard to know where to begin
sharing the many attributes you will find onboard but I am going to give it a try . . . I’m sure
you have all seen the Lawn Club, the Hot Glass Show on the Lawn Club, the modern style of
staterooms . . . , luxury suites that easily rival the best you will find on land,  chic restaurants
and nightclubs - - and that’s 10 fabulous restaurants all told."
"And Celebrity Eclipse has an industry first all her own - - the first Celebrity I-lounge.  It is a
cool little approach to the shipboard Internet café.  There our guests can find and try some of
the hottest new products from Apple Computer and purchase them as well through our
authorized Apple reseller status, something no other cruise line can claim.  Our guests can
participate in classes led by our own instructors who have gone through hundreds of hours of
training to become Apple certified."
"There are also extraordinary restaurants on this ship and one of them is a first for Celebrity
and as its unique name implies, extremely different.  It is called Qsine.  It is a venue serving
new twists on classic and contemporary favorites presented in tappas style in custom-made
serving dishes.  The menu is actually likely to attract attention as much as the food and the
venue design is because both the wine list and the food selections will be on the new Apple I-
pad. "
"We are also convinced that our guests will appreciate the fabulous art collection on Celebrity
Eclipse.  As on every Celebrity ship, this vessel boasts an exquisite collection of original
contemporary art and includes a meaningful slice of our 20 year brand history.  Like that of
Celebrity Equinox, the collection on Celebrity Eclipse features an array of works that we
retained from the former Celebrity Galaxy prior to transferring the ship to our partners at TUI
Cruises in 2009.  Complementing these historic pieces are new works by international artists as
well as site-specific installations by Miami-based Robert Chambers and renown New York
artist Daniel Arsham.  Once again, we are particularly intrigued and awed by the live tree in the
suspended pearl that graces the ship’s beautiful grand foyer."
Mr. Fain  returned to the podium to introduce the
ship's godmother Emma Pontin.  Ms. Pontin left a
career in the City of London (London's financial
district) to take up ocean yacht racing.  Shortly
thereafter, she was diagnosed with breast cancer.  
However, she has not let the disease thwart her
dreams.  She has logged more than 100,000 nautical
miles and sailed in 15 transatlantic races.  Moreover,
she has been a prominent figure in raising breast
cancer awareness and has been an inspiration to
"Having a lady of distinction and accomplishment
bestow her blessing gives any ship a special kick off
and  it provides extra meaning to the ceremony. . . .
One of Celebrity’s long time charitable focuses has
been to relate to breast cancer and we carry that
focus on today.   We are privileged to have someone
so courageous and inspiring to serve over this time-
honored and revered role."
A musical and video tribute to Ms. Pontin followed.
The ocean "proved to be my lifeline after my
diagnosis.  Being on the water allowed me to escape.  It
distracted me.  It was a place I could be alive as I
underwent the horrors that are involved in the treatment
of breast cancer."
"Celebrity Cruises has demonstrated their commitment
to fighting breast cancer through their involvement and
sponsorship of events such as today’s  Walk the Walk,
for which I am very grateful.  The ongoing research into
breast cancer is vital and proving very successful.  
Twenty years ago, I sadly lost my grandmother and my
aunt to this disease.  But clearly the work being done by
researchers and fund raisers alike is achieving great
"As someone who has confronted her own mortality
through breast cancer, life is more precious than ever.  
Every moment counts.  I now want memories not just
dreams and memories are what will be created on this
magnificent ship."
    For the actual naming, Mr. Fain gathered Ms. Pontin, Mr. Hanrahan and Captain Panagiotis Skylogiannis on the other side of the
stage where a large champagne bottle was sitting.  The bottle was not the typical green color of a champagne bottle but blue - - the color
of Celebrity Cruises.  It had been blown especially for the occasion by the Corning Museum of Glass in its facilities onboard the Eclipse.  
The bottle was an identical twin to a bottle that was to be broken against the ship's forward funnel at the moment the ship was named.    
    An aerialist appeared above the audience and
brought a pink ribbon down to the stage where
it was taken up by Mr. Fain, Mr. Hanrahan,
Captain Skylogiannis and Staff Captain Nikolas
Christodoulakis.   The other end of the ribbon
was attached to the bottle of champagne
hanging on the ship's funnel.

Nina Barough, founder of Walk the Walk and
godmother of the second ship in the Solstice
class, Celebrity Equinox, brought out the
scissors that were to be used to cut the ribbon.

As she cut the ribbon, Ms. Pontin said in the
time-honored fashion: "I name this ship
Celebrity Eclipse, May God bless her and all
who sail on her."

The ribbon went slack and the video screen
showed the bottle smashing against the funnel.  
Confetti streamed down over the theater.  
Celebrity Eclipse was named.

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