Princess Cruises welcomes its biggest ship ever with help from a star


It took a star to welcome the sun.

The Sun Princess, that is.

Princess Cruises on Tuesday officially hailed the arrival of its newest megavessel — at 177,882 tons, its biggest ever —with the help of “Ted Lasso” star Hannah Waddingham.

The Emmy Award-winning actress and singer presided over a star-studded 19-minute christening ceremony in the ship’s Princess Arena theater that included a traditional bottle breaking, with a twist.

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Serving as the ship’s godmother, Waddingham placed a triangular “sun ray” representing Sun Princess into a sun sculpture on stage to trigger the smashing of a huge bottle of Veuve Cliquot Champagne — a nebuchadnezzar that holds the equivalent of 20 traditional bottles — against the ship’s hull.

“As much as theater ripples through my bloodstream, I have the strongest history of maritime in my family,” a clearly proud Waddingham said moments before triggering the bottle smash.

She noted that her still-living, 107-year-old grandfather served on convoy ships crossing the Atlantic during World War II. She also grew up boating.

“It’s in my blood and in my bones,” she added.

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The celebation in the Princess Arena moments after the bottle smashed. GENE SLOAN/THE POINTS GUY

Built at the giant Fincantieri shipyard in Monfalcone, Italy, Sun Princess is the most notable new Princess ship to debut in more than a decade. Capable of holding up to 5,189 passengers (a record for a Princess ship), it’s not only significantly bigger than previous Princess ships but packed with more onboard venues.

The naming celebration came two months after Sun Princess began sailing for the first time with paying passengers, a debut that was unexpectedly delayed by 20 days due to construction issues.

“Sun Princess is incredible. It’s the largest, most luxurious love boat ever,” John Padgett, Princess president, said at the event, harking back to the line’s long-standing tie to the hit television show “The Love Boat” that ran in the late 1970s and early 1980s.

Three stars from the show — Ted Lange, Bernie Kopell and Jill Whelan, who played bartender Isaac Washington, ship’s doctor Adam Bricker and captain’s daughter Vicki Stubing, respectively — were in attendance at the event.

The “Love Boat” stars were seated just a couple rows behind Carnival Corporation chairman Micky Arison and CEO Josh Weinstein.

Carnival Corporation is the parent company of Princess Cruises.

Makoto Okuwa, a James Beard Foundation honoree who designed a sushi eatery for Sun Princess, and Dario Cecchini, a celebrity Italian butcher who created a meat-focused restaurant for the ship, were also in attendance. So was the Brazilian artist Romero Britto, who sat to the right of Arison. Britto’s colorful, upbeat art is the theme for the ship’s high-end restaurant, Love by Britto.

Other celebrities at the event included model and television personality Tyra Banks, wildlife show host Jeff Corwin, fashion designer and television host Randy Fenoli and…



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