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ISLAND PRINCESS CHRISTENING
the first time a cruise ship has been named in Vancouver
Vancouver's first cruise ship christening was a glittering success on July 11, 2003, as dignitaries, industry representatives and Princess' executives gathered on a beautiful summer's evening for the naming of Island Princess. Beside the sails of Canada Place and against the spectacular backdrop of the north shore mountains, Godparents Jamie Salé and David Pelletier broke a magnum of B.C. bubbly over the teak deck, poolside, as guests scattered around the upper decks cheered and applauded.
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The event marks the first time a cruise ship has been named in the Port of Vancouver and continues the good relationship shared between Vancouver and Princess Cruises for more than 30 years. Princess is committed to using Vancouver as a homeport for its four ships offering Gulf of Alaska sailings. Island Princess will return with sister ship Coral Princess and the Sun and Dawn Princesses in 2004, for Gulf sailings between Vancouver and Whittier. Each cruise ship visit brings an estimated 1.5 million dollars to the B.C. economy.
During the event Actor Gavin McLeod who played Captain Merrill Stubing on the popular Love Boat TV series commented that the original Island Princess used Vancouver as a home port 30 years ago. One of the ships used in the filming of the TV show, the old Island Princess was 20,000-tons, carrying 610 passengers and had seven decks. The new Island Princess is 92,000-tons, carries 1,970 passengers and has 16 decks, a reflection of the evolution of the Princess ships which are now palatial and offer a much wider array of entertainment, dining options and stateroom accommodation.
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Godparents, Canadians Jamie Salé and David Pelletier, are the Olympic Gold Medalists in Pairs Figure Skating from the 2002 Salt Lake City games. It was timely to have Salé and Pelletier name the ship as Vancouver was awarded the 2010 Winter Olympic Games just last week. They remarked on how beautiful Island Princess is and the astounding variety of things to do on board. David Pelletier commented that his generation thinks of cruising as something for older people but that is not the case with Island Princess. Entertainment for all age groups is found on board the ship and the quality is better than any hotel or resort.
A reception before the christening featured music by Vancouver's own big band, the Dal Richards Orchestra. The outdoor ceremony included a welcome by Cruise Director, Alastair Greener, the playing of the U.S. and Canadian national anthems, an official welcome from the First Nations and a blessing of the ship by the Reverend Richard Roberts of Vancouver's Mission to Seafarers. Short speeches were given by Dean Brown, Executive Vice President of Princess Cruises; Island Princess' Captain, Andrea Poggi; Kevin Little, Senior VP of Business Development for the Port of Vancouver; Terry Bubb, Chair, of Tourism Vancouver's Board of Directors as well as representatives from the federal, provincial and municipal governments.
Island at Canada Place
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Jamie and Davie christened the ship with a special magnum of Cipes Brut, British Columbia's celebrated sparkling wine produced by Summerhill Pyramid Winery in Kelowna. Princess offered guests Summerhill's red, white and sparkling wines throughout the evening.
The black tie event continued with a formal dinner at the end of which gifts were exchanged between the godparents and Captain Poggi. Jamie and David presented Island Princess with a work by acclaimed B.C. artist, Bill Reid.
Port of Vancouver
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At 10:00pm guests gathered on deck once more, for the champagne sailaway and countdown to sailout. Captain Poggi sounded the horn and Island Princess embarked on an overnight cruise to nowhere at 10:30pm with bands playing on board and ashore. As the ship sailed passed Stanley Park towards Lions Gate Bridge, a spectacular fireworks display lit up the sky.
Entertainment around the ship continued into the night including the production show 'Curtain Up' which salutes Broadway hits, comedian Steven Scott performing in the Explorer's Lounge and dancing to the Dal Richards Orchestra in the Universe Lounge while the casino was open into the small hours. Island Princess returned to Vancouver Saturday morning and sailed again Saturday evening on her maiden, seven-night Alaska cruise.
A new class of ship for Princess, the 92,000-ton, 1,970-passenger Island Princess is a sister ship to Coral Princess which entered service January 3, 2003. These ships cost $500 million each and feature a unique gas turbine and diesel power system which gives a smooth, vibration-free ride with reduced exhaust emissions and minimal oil waste. The gas turbines are situated in the funnel to allow more passenger space below. Aboard these ships you'll find three show lounges, an aft lounge with high-definition television and three revolving stages, two main dining rooms and a variety of dining alternatives including the Bayou Café, the first New Orleans-style restaurants at sea. New lounges include the line's first martini bar and cigar lounge aptly named Crooners and the Churchill lounge, respectively. The first pottery and ceramics studio at sea complete with pottery kiln and wheel are also found on board. Passengers can create pottery and paint ceramics as part of the new Scholarship@Sea Program which offers up to 20 courses a cruise. Subjects covered include visual, creative and culinary arts, computer skills, health and finance.
Returning to Vancouver
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More Photos of Island: Click for full size:
Explorer's Lounge - has a small stage for cabaret.
Pottery Studio - the first at sea.
Library - the oversize leather chairs have a built-in sound system.
Wedding Chapel - has a video cam so friends at home can watch the ceremony live.
Atrium - cardroom upper level with Crooners Martini Bar below.
Bayou Café - New Orleans style restaurant .
Sabatini's - Italian restaurant.
Outside Stateroom with balcony.
Lotus Pool with roof closed
Deck Chess. This sits beside shuffleboard and the tennis and basketball court
On deck 16, looking aft to the funnel with jet-engine-like additions representing the gas turbine/diesel power system on board.
Prospect Point from balcony on return to Vancouver.
For more photos and a video of the naming ceremony visit www.princess.com
Thanks to Princess Cruises for the photo 'Impact!'. Other photos by Susan Milne.
©Susan Milne, 2004