FORT LAUDERDALE — Royal Caribbean International turned the Harmony of the Seas naming ceremony into a technology demonstration, using its robotic bartenders as part of the process.
The ship was christened at Port Everglades by Brittany Affolter, a 23-year-old Teach for America educator in Miami who won a contest for teachers that drew over 1,000 nominees.
Far from a typical christening, Royal Caribbean cooked up a Rube Goldberg-style procedure that started with Affolter and Royal Caribbean chairman Richard Fain on stage in the ship’s open-air Aqua Theater.
An aerialist descended from above on guide wires with a button to activate the process. When Affolter pressed the button, it sent a signal to the robot, which did a spin and punched a second button, which then released a bottle of champagne rigged to the ship’s zipline.
The bottle, a 3-foot tall sovereign custom-made for Royal Caribbean by Veuve Clicquot, then whizzed down the zipline course and crashed into a steel nameplate above the ship’s pool deck.
Back at the Aqua Theater, a blizzard of blue confetti was unleashed and singer Jon Secada, who once performed on Royal Caribbean ships, gave a concert.
Witnessing all of the festivities via a giant TV screen in the ship’s Studio B ice skating arena were 500 travel agents from Travel Weekly’s CruiseWorld conference, who were invited to participate in a launch viewing party onboard.
The Harmony entered service last May and spent its first few months sailing in Europe. It arrived in Fort Lauderdale earlier this month, and will sail seven-night Caribbean voyages from the port.