Five words struck terror into the heart of top cruise ship boss Richard Fain at the naming ceremony of Celebrity Equinox. “I haven’t told anyone this,” said the ship’s godmother, breast cancer charity campaigner Nina Barough, before asking every member of the 1,600 audience to take part in a little ritual she conducts at each of her Walk the Walk events.
We all held hands for a few moments, laughing nervously, before turning to hug the person next to us and collectively bless the ship. In Richard’s case, he got to hug the ship’s master, Captain Apostolos Bouzakis, something else he had not been expecting.
“The event had been rehearsed to the last detail,” Richard told me. “Those words were the last thing I wanted to hear. When Nina sprang her surprise, I did not know what to expect, but it was a very moving moment and we are all proud of her.”
With The Beatles’ classic Here Comes The Sun playing, aerial acrobat Lauren Trimble delivered a pink ribbon to the stage for Nina to cut, releasing a bottle of Champagne to smash against one of the ship’s two funnels.

“I’ve seen the Queen do this, but I never expected that I would ever do it,” said Nina, who last year received a Daily Mirror Pride of Britain award in recognition of the fact that her Moon Walks and Sun Walks have raised more than £50 million.
“This is such an honour I feel totally overwhelmed. The ship is phenomenal and I never thought that I would ever be able to say I was godmother to something so huge and impressive.”
I reckon there was another unrehearsed moment in the proceedings, because the programme for the main event included a gift presentation from Richard to Nina which seemed to get forgotten as confetti filled the air to mark the successful christening.
Instead it was left to shipyard owner Bernard Meyer, whose Meyer-Werft yard in Papenburg, Germany built the Equinox, to present her with a gold bracelet at another ceremony by the ship’s Solarium pool.
Equinox is the second of five Solstice-class 122,000-ton vessels which Celebrity Cruises is building. The third, Celebrity Eclipse, is scheduled to be delivered next April, and will be based in Southampton for UK passengers.
Already, nine months before its maiden voyage, it has become the best-selling ship for British passengers in the Celebrity fleet, according to UK managing director Robin Shaw.
After almost two weeks of inaugural events, the first paying passengers board Equinox tomorrow for a seven-day cruise to the Norwegian fjords.