BARBADOS HOSTS FIRST-EVER BEACHSIDE NAMING CEREMONY
On March 16th, 2023 Arvia, P&O Cruises’ newest and largest vessel was officially named at the beautiful Heywoods Beach in Speightstown, Barbados. This marked a momentous occasion, forever etched in Barbados’ history as it was the first time a naming ceremony for a P&O vessel was held outside of the United Kingdom, on the beachside and broadcasted live to nearly 200 000 viewers.
A Historic Occasion
Proud and honoured to welcome the ship, Prime Minister of Barbados the Hon. Mia Amor Mottley stated “For us this coast has seen the best and worst of times in this decade and it is so good we can welcome you here because a few years ago in the middle of the pandemic, it wasn’t able to happen. Today, we do so with pride and to all of you who are watching in the United Kingdom and wherever you are in the world we say to you, do yourself a favour and come and join us in Barbados, come and join us in Grenada and come and join us in the Caribbean”.
As the Prime Minister further stated, “In the Caribbean, we don’t do it alone, we do it together”, so in attendance at the ceremony was also the Prime Minister of Grenada, the Hon. Dickon Mitchell. Other attendees included the Minister of Tourism and International Transport, the Hon Ian Gooding Edghill, Chair of the Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc (BTMI), Shelly Williams, CEO of BTMI, Dr Jens Thraenhart and CEO of the Barbados Port Inc, David Jean-Marie to name a few.
An Unwavering Partnership
The prelude of the ceremony occurred just two months ago on January 20th, when Arvia made its first call to Barbados.
Arvia is described as a creation of years of vision, design, technical, environmental and engineering excellence. Powered by Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG), the vessel is more climate and environmentally friendly and offers a world-class onboard experience.
This historic naming ceremony is just a chapter in P&O Cruises and Barbados’ story as their partnership spans over two decades.
Paul Ludlow, President of P&O Cruises stated “Barbados is indeed a very special place and one which is very close to our heart. Both P&O Cruises and Barbados have a rich and proud history and it is therefore very fitting that we name our newest ship Arvia, our sunshine ship, under the Caribbean sun in the presence of all of you, many of whom have affiliation and association with this exception regional.”
A First of Its Kind
All the stops were pulled out for this naming ceremony, making it a memorable experience for those who were in attendance. The beach was transformed into a set resembling an outdoor theatre, with many beachgoers lining the coast to take a glimpse of history. Guests were welcomed to the beachside element of the ceremony with refreshing cocktails and tasty hors d’oeuvre while being serenaded by music from the Project Band. The beach host was BBC broadcaster Sara Cox and attendees enjoyed a special live performance by British singer Olly Murs.
What further added to the uniqueness of this naming ceremony was the fact it was held in two locations. Hosted by British presenter Trevor Nelson, part of the ceremony was held concurrently on board Arvia where the main event, the bottle breaking took place.
The Bottle Breaking
Traditionally a bottle of champagne is broken over the bow of a new vessel as a sign of good luck to the ship and her captain. However, as Barbados is the birthplace of rum the largest bottle of Mount Gay Black Barrel Rum, 15 litres, was used for the bottle breaking.
As the godmother of the ship, Grammy-nominated singer Nicole Scherzinger got the distinct honour of officially naming the ship by pulling a golden lever and releasing the gigantic bottle of rum on the ship’s bow. She then ironically gave the audience a rendition of Nina Simone’s “I Put a Spell on You” and ended the ceremony with a soulful version of her hit “Don’t Cha”.
Overall, the Arvia naming ceremony was a spectacular event that strengthen the unity of two destinations through the celebration of a new cruise ship. So, as the Godmother said, “May God Bless her and those who sail in her”.
By Rhe-Ann Prescod