Royal Caribbean International has appointed Sunderland-based travel agent Emma Wilby, 27, the Godmother of the company’s newest and most advanced cruise ship, Anthem of the Seas.
Upholding a maritime tradition, Wilby will officially christen Anthem of the Seas and perform a special song for more than 1,300 invited special guests and dignitaries at the ship’s inaugural ceremony in Southampton on 20 April.
Anthem of the Seas will sail its inaugural season from Southampton before the ship repositions to its permanent homeport of New York in November.
“We are delighted to welcome Emma Wilby into the Royal Caribbean family as Anthem of the Seas’ Godmother,” said Richard D. Fain, chairman and CEO of Royal Caribbean Cruises. “Emma is among many submissions from truly talented travel agents across the UK and the judging was very difficult. We thank all travel agents, who we value and are honouring by naming a fellow travel agent as the Godmother of our newest ship.”
In addition to being a travel agent for Thomson in Elgin Scotland, Wilby is a military wife and budding singer who performs in the Military Wives Choir in Kinloss, Scotland, where she is based with her husband, a Royal Engineer for the British Army. To help her prepare for inaugural day, Craig Yates, team captain from British choir group Only Boys Aloud will be Wilby’s vocal coach, and Royal Caribbean is treating her to a full makeover.
“Emma’s inaugural song will herald in a ship that will be a new anthem for the cruise industry,” said Michael Bayley, president and CEO of Royal Caribbean International. “I am very much looking forward to Emma’s performance and launching Anthem of the Seas with her. I know she will be simply spectacular.”
The Godmother role is a lifetime title bestowed upon an individual, who figuratively presides over the ship and imparts good luck and divine protection over the vessel and all that sail aboard. Traditionally, Godmothers have celebrity status or even royal connections, such as Royal Caribbean Godmothers Gloria Estefan, Jane Seymour, Whoopi Goldberg and Steffi Graf.
“I still can’t believe I won,” said Wilby after being informed of her new title. “I am really honoured to have been chosen. I am hugely excited to be taking on the role of Godmother for Anthem of the Seas – it will be incredible to sing in front of all these people and a real honour to give the ship the best send-off possible.”