A ceremonial launch in ancient maritime tradition

Luxury passenger cruise to be christened by a ‘godparent’ cracking champagne bottle over its bow

April 12, 2019 12:44 am | Updated 12:44 am IST - MUMBAI

Coming soon:  The  Karnika  will be officially named on April 19.

Coming soon: The Karnika will be officially named on April 19.

A more than thousand year-old maritime tradition of a ceremonial launch of a cruise ship will be held, possibly for the first time in India, when the luxurious premium cruise ship Karnika , owned by an Indian company, will officially be named at the International Passenger Terminal at Mumbai Port Trust on April 19.

Jalesh Cruises, a company part funded by Essel Group promoter Subhash Chandra’s family, will hold the maritime tradition, the first such in the country for passenger cruise ship, by following the traditional practice of cracking a champagne bottle over the bow of the ship.

Referred to as the ceremonial launch, the practice is followed world over to transfer the new vessel to the water after christening it. The Navy is also known to practise the same tradition for its new vessels.

Worldwide, the occasion is marked as a public celebration with a ‘godmother’ bestowed with the honour of officially naming the vessel by saying aloud a solemn blessing before cracking a bottle of champagne on the bow of the ship.

Eminent godmothers

Across the world, eminent personalities have been given the mantle of the ‘godmother’ of a new vessel. Some of the iconic godmothers include late Princess Diana ( Royal Princess , 1984), actors Audrey Hepburn ( Star Princess , 1989), Whoopi Goldberg ( Serenade of the Seas , 2003) and Dame Julie Andrews ( Crystal Serenity , 2003), fictional character princess Fiona from the movie Shrek , ( Allure of the Seas , 2010), singer Jennifer Hudson ( Disney Dream, 2011), Duchess of Cambridge Kate Middleton ( Royal Princess , 2013) and most recently Nobel Laureate Malala Yosufzai ( Celebrity Edge , 2018)

Jurgen Bailom, president and CEO, Jalesh Cruises, a veteran in the international cruise business, said, “A naming ceremony is considered an auspicious tradition for a new vessel, without which no captain or crew would stay on the ship for long as it is considered to bring bad luck. The tradition bestows the vessel with good luck for her future sojourns.”

Mr. Bailom said this would be the first time that such an event for a passenger cruise is taking place in India.

On the day of its naming, the vessel is typically adorned with flowers and long ribbons, and the celebrations are marked by playing drums. The company declined to reveal the name of the godparent of the ship.

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