Sky Princess Christened

From the christening of the Sky Princess

Princess Cruises christened its newest ship the Sky Princess today in a tribute to the pioneering women of the U.S. Space Program.

Princess Cruises chose the theme of Reach for the Sky for the occasion and honoured two women of NASA for their achievements in the U.S. space program: Captain Kay Hire, and engineer Frances “Poppy” Northcutt, who served as the godmothers of the Sky Princess.

From the christening of the Sky Princess

Captain Hire began her 30-year NASA career as a mechanical systems engineer, helping to launch more than 40 space missions. Then, as an astronaut, she logged 700 hours in space, flew over 12 million miles, and orbited the earth 475 times. She was the first female assigned to a military combat flight crew while serving in the U.S. Navy. And, she retired from the U.S. Navy with more 35 years of service. Poppy Northcutt served as the first female mission control engineer when NASA made history with its mission to the moon. When the crew of Apollo 13 became stranded in their service module, it was her team’s calculations that brought them home safely – a feat of heroism that earned the entire mission operations a Presidential Medal of Freedom Team Award.

“As we celebrate our newest, most technologically advanced ship – one whose spirit of adventure and discovery match the grandeur of her name, Sky Princess, we also applaud the groundbreaking women of the U.S. Space Program,” said Princess Cruises President Jan Swartz. “Our godmothers, Captain Kay Hire and Poppy Northcutt, remind us all of what we can achieve when we reach for the sky.”

From the christening of the Sky Princess

Sky Princess Captain Heikki Laakkonen also recognized two Sky Princess female officers who embody the Reach for the Sky theme, striving for success in leadership positions –Kerry Ann Wright, who started working in the cruise industry as a spa technician and went back to school to rise through the ranks to become a Second Officer working on the bridge; and Chief Security Officer Susan Morgan, who is the longest-serving woman in the British Royal Navy.

Captain Hire and Poppy Northcutt, recited the traditional cruise ship blessing before pushing a NASA-style “launch” button releasing and smashing a 15-litre bottle of champagne, officially naming Sky Princess.

Additional women of NASA recognized in a tribute video, included:
• The first woman of colour to travel to outer space, Dr. Mae Jemison.
• The first Hispanic woman in space who later became Director of the Johnson Space Center Dr. Ellen Ochoa.
• The first woman to command the Space Shuttle Eileen Collins.
• The first woman to command the International Space Stations Peggy Whiston.
• The first woman to join a spacewalk, Kathryn D. Sullivan.

The ceremony featured entertainment adding to the exciting bottle break moment, including Princess Cruises Celebrations Ambassador and Love Boat actress Jill Whelan, serving as ceremony co-host with Sky Princess Cruise Director Alexander Yepremian; and performance of Dream On from America’s Got Talent Alum, Brian Justin Crum. The finale of the naming ceremony included a performance of This is Me from The Greatest Showman and featured in the cruise line’s new production show Rock Opera.

The new Princess ship is now sailing on voyages to the Caribbean through spring 2020.

Viking Orion Named by NASA Astronaut Dr. Anna Fisher in Italy

Viking Orion Naming

Viking Ocean Cruises has named its fifth ocean ship, Viking Orion during a celebration in Livorno, Italy.

The ship was delivered to Viking last week and is currently sailing a maiden voyage with her ceremonial godmother, American chemist, emergency room physician and retired NASA astronaut

Named after the prominent constellation and in honour of Dr. Fisher’s work on NASA’s Orion exploration vehicle project, the 930-guest 47,800-ton Viking Orion arrived in Livorno early this morning, Viking said.

“Today is a proud day for the entire Viking family. Just three years ago we launched our first ocean ship, and now we are welcoming our fifth ship, whose name was selected to honour both the original Viking explorers who used the constellations for long-distance navigation, as well as the great space explorers of our time,” said Torstein Hagen, Chairman of Viking. “We are grateful for Dr. Fisher’s many contributions to the scientific community, and we are humbled that she is godmother to Viking Orion. The spirit of exploration is at the heart of the Viking way of travel, and we look forward to welcoming guests onboard our newest ship, which has been designed to offer opportunities for learning about the great history of space exploration.”

Viking Orion Naming

Following her arrival this on Thursday morning, Viking Orion was positioned alongside the city’s historic Medici-built Fortezza Vecchia (Old Fortress). Livorno is known as a gateway to Tuscany, a region reached by the original Viking explorers.

Nearby, Pisa is also known for its native Galileo Galilei – “The Father of Science” – whose gravitational theories and the invention of the Galilean telescope have been central to advancements in oceanic navigation.

It was at the Fortezza Vecchia that in 1662 students of Galileo held an experiment to test his projectile motion theory.

Livorno – with its Fortezza Vecchia – was chosen specifically for Viking Orion’s naming ceremony because of those connections to scientific studies and exploration.

Viking Orion Naming

During the naming ceremony, guests enjoyed a high-tech show and musical concert that paid tribute to Nordic mythology and the spirit of exploration. Legendary British explorer Sir Ranulph “Ran” Fiennes served as the narrator for the event, which also included musical performances from Italian tenor Antonio Corianò, Norwegian bukkehorn musician Sissel Morken Gullord and Norwegian singer Sissel Kyrkjebø, who is widely considered one of the world’s top crossover sopranos and who will also be godmother to Viking Jupiter, which debuts in early 2019.

In addition to the naming ceremony, “Finse Explores the Universe” was also released, the 14th book in the educational children’s book series, “The World of Finse”, which showcases the adventures of Viking Senior Vice President Karine Hagen’s yellow Labrador, Finse.