The history of ship christening and Royal Caribbean’s Quantum of the Seas

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Quantum RCIHave you ever stopped to consider the reason for the christening of ships? It’s a very old tradition. In fact, it dates back to the Egyptians, Greeks and Romans, who called on their gods to protect seamen. The blessing of the kings of the seas — Poseidon or Neptune, for example — was requested to keep the men safe.

The Greeks wore olive branch crowns, drank wine to honor the gods, and poured water on the new vessel as a symbol of blessing. Both the Greek and Romans carried shrines aboard, a practice that continued into the Middle Ages.

By the 1800’s, christenings had changed, but developed into a now familiar pattern.  Some type of fluid  would be poured against the bow of the ship (not necessarily wine or champagne, though there are U.S. Navy records of 19th century warships being christened with water from American rivers.)

As time went on, christening of ships morphed into large public events, with champagne used for the christening.  Next, tradition began to dictate that a female would perform the christening and be named the sponsor of the ship — the godmother.

Today, godmothers vary … from royalty to celebrities to performers, such as the Rockettes.

Most recently, Emmy and Tony award-winner Kristin Chenoweth was named godmother to Royal Caribbean’s newest ship, Quantum of the Seas.


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