Editorial Team



The tradition of blessing a ship before its maiden voyage dates back to ancient times, when gods were called upon to bring the ships luck and keep them safe on the water.


Today, the ship’s godmother has taken on the duties of the deities.


The godmother – always a woman of distinction and gravitas – attends the launch ceremony to bless and officially name the ship. She’ll break a bottle against its hull and deliver the official line: ‘I name this ship [name]. May God bless her and all who sail in her.’


We’ve always put great thought and care into choosing our ships’ godmothers with the aim of finding the perfect person for each vessel. 

Aurora- HRH Princess Anne

The only daughter of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip. She’s a talented equestrian rider, having been the first member of The Royal Family to compete at the Olympic Games (Montreal in 1976) on her beloved horse Goodwill. She’s also involved with over 300 charitable pursuits, including Save the Children UK, of which she’s been president since 1970.


HRH The Princess Royal holds her own place in maritime history, adding to her godmother kudos – she holds the honorary position of Admiral and Chief Commandant of the Women’s Royal Naval Service. She’s also made waves by launching our much-loved ship Aurora in 2000.


Explore cruise holidays on Aurora here.


Arcadia- Dame Kelly Holmes DBE 

As a double Olympic gold medallist, Dame Kelly Holmes DBE is familiar with celebrations. The middle-distance runner, who hails from Pembury in Kent, was made a Dame after her success in the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, where she raced to victory in the 800m and 1,500m races.


Her stellar sporting success made her the perfect choice to christen Arcadia in 2005, which at the time was the biggest cruise ship ever built for the British market. At the dockside stage surrounded by stars, circus artists and thousands of spectators, Dame Kelly smashed the customary bottle and sent Arcadia off in style. 


See the world on Arcadia here.

Arcadia in Sydney, Australia

Ventura- Dame Helen Mirren DBE

Dame Helen Mirren DBE is one of Britain’s best and most beloved actors. Her work on stage and screen has earned her a number of the industry’s top accolades, including an Oscar for portraying Her Majesty The Queen. As a British icon, she was a natural fit for the role of Ventura’s godmother.


With some 1,500 guests in attendance, Ventura’s naming ceremony in 2008 was one for the books. Dame Helen broke with tradition for the bottle smash: instead of the customary pressing of a button, she commanded a team of Royal Marine Commandos, who rappelled down the side of the ship to break the Champagne bottle.


View Ventura cruise holidays here.


‘It is the first time I have ever named a ship, let alone one of the size of P&O Cruises Ventura, and I’m really looking forward to being godmother.’

Dame Helen Mirren DBE

Azura- Dame Darcey Bussell DBE

With nearly 20 years as The Royal Ballet's principal dancer, plus stints as a TV presenter, model and author, it’s safe to say Dame Darcey Bussell DBE is one of Britain’s best-known dance personalities.


Azura launched in 2010 and was designed with glamour and sophistication in mind: qualities that Darcey embodies effortlessly. The ship has a stunning dance area in its atrium, making the connection even more fitting. Of the choice to make Darcey a godmother, P&O Cruises said: ‘Azura will offer the service, quality and entertainment associated with cruising at its very best and as dance will play a key part in this, it is entirely fitting for Darcey to give Azura the best possible start in life.’


View Azura cruise holidays here.

P&O Cruises Azura returns to Southampton after refit in Hamburg proudly showing off her new livery.Picture date: Saturday April 18, 2015.Photograph by Christopher Ison ©07544044177chris@christopherison.comwww.christopherison.com

Britannia- HM Queen Elizabeth II

For the naming of our flagship – at the time, the biggest ship ever built for the British market – we knew we had to find an icon who represented of the best of Britain. No one could do that better than Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, and we were honoured that she gave us her blessing for the second time, having named Oriana in 1995.


Britannia’s naming ceremony in March 2015 came nearly 62 years after Her Majesty launched Royal Yacht Britannia in Clydebank, Scotland. Back then, to reflect the mood of post-war austerity, she forwent traditional Champagne and smashed a bottle of Empire wine against the hull.


This time, in a celebration of all things British, Her Majesty launched Britannia with a Nebuchadnezzar of sparkling wine from the Wiston Estate Winery in Sussex in front of a cheering 1,500-strong crowd. She then enjoyed a tour of the Atrium, met crew members and our Food Heroes, and visited the bridge before enjoying lunch on board. 


View cruises on Britannia here.

Iona- Dame Irene Hays

Our first green and most innovative ship, Iona, was officially named on 16 May 2021 by Dame Irene Hays of Hays Travel. Dame Irene was awarded a CBE in 2008 and made a Dame in the 2021 New Year’s Honours for her services to training, education and young people. Dame Irene has long been a powerful advocate of Hays Travel community and charitable activities – in which Hays Travel colleagues contribute to their local communities.

Iona made her maiden voyage in our return to service home water cruises out of lockdown in 2021. She sailed to her namesake Scottish island, showing guests some of the UK’s most sensational, secret beaches. The Inner Hebrides may not get the temperatures to go with the white sand and clear, clean seas but this part of the British Isles is a beauty to behold, just like Iona.

Highlights of the naming ceremony included celebrity hostess, Jo Whiley, a private performance from Gary Barlow, Music Director of The 710 Club, and a few words from P&O Cruises president, Paul Ludlow (now President of Carnival UK). Watch Iona’s naming ceremony here.


Discover Iona for yourself here.

Iona in the Norwegian Fjords
Iona in the Norwegian Fjords
Iona in the Norwegian Fjords
Iona in the Norwegian Fjords

Arvia- Nicole Scherzinger

Our newest, show-stopping stunner of a ship, Arvia, simply had to have some superstar quality when it came to choosing her godmother. Multi-million-dollar-selling artist, Nicole Scherzinger played the part perfectly, performing at a glittering naming ceremony in Barbados in January 2023. Nicole is a global sensation, known as a former Pussycat Doll who recently received high acclaim and many accolades as the lead role of Norma Desmond in Sunset Boulevard - now a sell-out show on Broadway in New York. Arvia and her godmother turn heads here at home and across the pond. You can cruise the Caribbean for winter sun or immerse yourself in the magical Mediterranean on Arvia through the summer.


Explore cruises on our newest ship here.