Mamma mia! Priscilla Presley, Cat Cora to be ship godmothers

Los Angeles Times Daily Travel & Deal blogger

Godmothers matter, especially when it comes to the maritime tradition of women christening cruise ships, just as if they were children.

And these days, no choice is too outrageous. Tinker Bell provided the animated honors for Disney Wonder in 1999, and a holographic form of Fiona from “Shrek” did likewise for Allure of the Seas in 2010.

Now comes Priscilla Presley, who will be godmother to the steamboat American Queen when it’s christened April 27 at its home port of Memphis, Tenn. The American Queen, the largest paddle-wheel steamboat ever built, will head up the Mississippi River on its inaugural voyage to Cincinnati, according to an announcement by the Great American Steamboat Co.

And TV Iron Chef and restaurateur Cat Cora will preside over Oceania Cruises’ newest ship, Riviera, in Barcelona on May 11. She is tasked with somehow wielding a super-sized Nebuchadnezzar of Champagne custom-made by Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin and smashing it against the ship’s hull, an Oceania Cruises statement says.


All this comes on the heels of the Disney Fantasy hoopla in New York City last week when Mariah Carey (yes, she sang the song “Fantasy”) presided as godmother over a glitzy Disney bash in New York City that featured Jerry Seinfeld, Neil Patrick Harris and others on stage. The Fantasy makes its first cruise, which is sold out, to the Eastern Caribbean on March 31 from its home port of Cape Canaveral, Fla.

The hands-down most godmotherly of them all has to be Queen Elizabeth, who has personally christened four Cunard ships: the newest and her namesake, the Queen Elizabeth, in 2010; the Queen Mary 2 in 2004; the Queen Elizabeth 2 in 1967; and the Caronia in 1947 (she was Princess Elizabeth then).

And she was present at the christening of the original Queen Elizabeth in 1938 when she was 12 years old. Wow, that’s a lot of ship shout-outs in her lifetime.