Cruise & Maritime Voyages must find a special woman to take charge of the christening of their latest ship next June. The vessel, which will be re-named Columbus, already has an illustrious history and an impressive list of godmothers.
Launched in 1989, the ship was originally christened Star Princess by actress Audrey Hepburn. In 1997 the vessel was transferred to P&O Cruises to replace the much-loved Canberra. Following a refit at the Harland & Wollff yard in Belfast, she was re-named Arcadia by Betty Boothroyd, who was Speaker of the House of Commons.
Fast forward to 2003 when Arcadia was transferred to a P&O off-shoot, Ocean Village. The ship was christened Ocean Village by TV presenter Ulrika Johnson.
Another transfer, in 2010, took the ship to P&O Australia, where she was re-named Pacific Pearl by the Olympic board-sailing champion Barbara Kendall, from New Zealand.
Some famous shoes to fill for whoever is chosen to be godmother at the ceremony in Tilbury.
Before starting service with CMV the 1,400-passenger Columbus will be tweaked to cater for a British adult-only market. Its Teen Club will be replaced by a library and lounge, and the children’s centre is to be converted into a bridge and card room, and a separate craft studio.
Columbus, with 775 cabins (including 150 singles) joins Magellan (1,300 passengers), Marco Polo (800) and Astoria (550).
Here’s a taste of what the ship will look like. There’s more details in Cruise & Maritime’s online brochure.