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Is Your Favorite Celebrity Godmother or Brand Ambassador to a Cruise Ship?

Wed, Apr 10, 2024 at 12:48PM

Is Your Favorite Celebrity Godmother or Brand Ambassador to a Cruise Ship?

By Cathy Padilla

With cruise lines well on their way back from pandemic lows, the industry is set to reach an estimated 37 billion in U.S. dollars by 2028 and competition for your business is resulting in new ships, new private islands, and famous name drops. In the past few weeks, several celebrity brand ambassadors have been added to the list of those chosen to be honored as the godmother, or sometimes godfather, of a cruise vessel including Gwen Stefani, Giada De Laurentiis, and Jonathan Bennett. Ships having a "godmother"is a longstanding naval tradition, with new ships sponsored or christened by a civilian that is usually a woman. The title is one of honor, and the godmother is selected to bring good luck and protection to the ship. Historically, the woman chosen was usually one of royal birth. Her duties included attending the ship's launch and naming ceremony and sometimes breaking a bottle of champagne on the hull. The most famous cruise ship godmother is the late Queen Elizabeth II who was godmother to two ships, the Queen Mary 2 and the Queen Elizabeth. In recent years, men have been added to the fun and the godfather of a cruise ship is now a thing.

This past week, both Carnival Cruise Line and Norwegian Cruise Line expanded their growing lists of celebrity ambassadors.


Jonathan Bennett

A well-known actor from the movies ("Mean Girls"), television (Hallmark Channel), and Broadway ("Spamalot"), was named godfat

her to Carnival's Firenze,

which is inspired by the city of Florence, Italy and is the second Carnival ship to sail with the Carnival Fun Italian Style theme.

“Jonathan is a true brand ambassador for Carnival. He cruises with us, honeymooned with us, and tells his friends and family to vacation with Carnival," said Carnival President Christine Duffy. "He is friendly and welcoming to everyone and embodies the Carnival style of fun. After he sailed on the first voyage of Carnival Firenze’s sister ship Carnival Venezia last May, he told me it would be his dream to be the godfather of one of our ships, so how could I turn down such a request for such a terrific friend to Carnival. While he’s not Italian, he is proof positive that anyone can have Italian Style fun when you sail on our Italian-themed ships, and we are thrilled to have him help us welcome our newest addition to the Carnival fleet.”

Following his first professional acting role on the soap opera “All My Children,” Bennett appeared in a number of television series before his breakout role as Aaron Samuels in the hit movie “Mean Girls.”  He has gone on to star in multiple feature films, Hallmark Channel movies and hosted programs for the Food Network. He’s also the host for the New York Times Square New Year’s Eve celebration where Carnival has sponsored the ball drop for the past three years.  He is currently completing his first Broadway appearance in the hit revival of the musical, “Spamalot.”

“This is an amazing honor and I’m so proud to know that I’ll always be a part of the Carnival Firenze family,” said Bennett. “When I told Christine that I’d love to be a Carnival cruise ship godfather, I never thought she’d take my request seriously. I have so much respect for the Carnival team and how they’re dedicated to taking care of their guests, the ocean, and each other. When I say Carnival is a great company and a great way to vacation, I mean it! I’m so excited to not only be the ship’s godfather, but to also get to cruise on Carnival Firenze as a guest now that Carnival fun Italian style is coming to the west coast.”

Bennett will join Duffy at the Carnival Firenze naming celebration on Wednesday, April 24 in Long Beach, California.


Giada De Laurentiis

Also a Food Network star, Giada De Laurentiis was this week named both Brand and Culinary Ambassador to Norwegian Cruise Line's Oceania Cruises, the world's leading culinary- and destination-focused cruise line. De Laurentiss is a celebrated Italian-American chef, author, restaurateur, and Emmy award-winning food personality. She will also co-chair the line's new Culinary Advisory Board alongside renowned chef Jacques Pépin, a founding member of Oceania Cruises' culinary team and the line's original Executive Culinary Director.

"Having set sail with Oceania Cruises as Godmother of Vista, I immediately connected with the line's extraordinary commitment to food and the entire dining experience," said De Laurentiis. "The people were so warm and welcoming; the entire onboard experience was incredibly inviting, and everyone truly starts to feel like family. Oceania Cruises' mission aligns perfectly with my own. Travel and food are the ultimate ways of bringing people together – to savor unique flavors, experience different destinations, and create shared memories. I couldn't be more excited to expand my relationship with Oceania Cruises."

Co-Chairs De Laurentiis and Pépin will work closely with Oceania Cruises' two Executive Culinary Directors and Master Chefs of France, Chef Alexis Quaretti and Chef Eric Barale, who will play key roles in developing the scope of the Culinary Advisory Board.

"Food has forever been a universal language, transcending boundaries and bringing people, literally, to the table," said Frank A. Del Rio, President of Oceania Cruises. "With a legacy deeply rooted in family and a passion for gastronomy, it seems only fitting that Oceania Cruises furthers its relationship with Giada. I am thrilled that she and our culinary patriarch, Jacques, will helm our Culinary Advisory Board to further evolve and innovate, redefining the boundaries of the onboard dining experience."


Additional celebrity ambassadors have included:

Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge - Princess Cruises' Royal Princess

Gwen Stefani - Carnival Cruise Line's Carnival Jubilee

Kristin Chenoweth -  Royal Caribbean's Quantum of the Seas

Dame Judi Dench - Carnival Cruise Lines' Carnival Legend

Dame Helen Mirren - Scenic Eclipse and P&O Cruises’ Ventura

Sophia Loren - MSC Cruises entire fleet

Julie Andrews - Crystal Serenity

Simone Biles - Celebrity Cruises' Celebrity Beyond

Malala Yousafzai - Celebrity Edge

Dora the Explorer - Pacific Explorer

Tinkerbell - Disney Cruise Line's Disney Wonder

Shrek's Princess Fiona - Disney Cruise Line's Allure of the Seas

Pitbull - Norwegian Cruise Line's Norwegian Escape

The Rockettes troupe - Norwegian Breakaway

Reba McEntire - Norwegian Cruise Lines' Norwegian Epic 

Priscilla Presley - Great American Steamboat Company's American Queen

Kim Cattrall - Norwegian Cruise Line's Norwegian Dawn

Jennifer Hudson - Disney Cruise Line's Disney Dream


Godmother's Who Are Not Famous, but Should Be

Celebrity Cruises' Solstice Class godmother are Professor Sharon Smith, ocean scientist (Solstice, 2008); Nina Barough, founder of the "Walk the Walk" charity (Equinox, 2009); Emma Pontin, yachtswoman (Eclipse, 2010); and Michelle Morgan, president and CEO of Signature Travel Network (Silhouette, 2011). Four ordinary woman who have triumphed over breast cancer. In addition to honoring these brave ladies, Celebrity has used its new ship debuts as opportunities to raise money for breast cancer research and screenings.

Katherine Louise Calder was chosen as godmother of Royal Caribbean's Freedom of the Seas when it was launched in 2006. The Oregon mom had fostered more than 400 special-needs children at the time during 27 years -- four of whom are now her grandchildren after being adopted by her daughters.

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