Princess Cruises has christened its newest ship, Sky Princess, on 7 December in a moving tribute to the pioneering women of the U.S. Space Programme who represent crowning achievements in science, research and technology through innovation and their desire to explore the far reaches of the sky.
Princess Cruises chose the theme of Reach for the Sky for the occasion, and honoured two women of NASA for their achievements in the U.S. space programme: Captain Kay Hire, and engineer Frances “Poppy” Northcutt, who served as the godmothers of Sky Princess.
Captain Hire and Poppy Northcutt, recited the traditional cruise ship blessing before pushing a NASA-style “launch” button releasing and smashing a 15-litre bottle of champagne, officially naming Sky Princess.
Captain Hire began her 30-year NASA career as a mechanical systems engineer, helping to launch more than 40 space missions. Then, as an astronaut, she logged 700 hours in space, flew over 12 million miles, and orbited the earth 475 times. She was the first female assigned to a military combat flight crew while serving in the U.S. Navy.
Poppy Northcutt served as the first female mission control engineer when NASA made history with its mission to the moon. When the crew of Apollo 13 became stranded in their service module, it was her team’s calculations that brought them home safely – a feat of heroism that earned the entire mission operations a Presidential Medal of Freedom Team Award.
“As we celebrate our newest, most technologically advanced ship – one whose spirit of adventure and discovery match the grandeur of her name, Sky Princess, we also applaud the groundbreaking women of the U.S. Space Program.” said Princess Cruises President Jan Swartz. “Our godmothers, Captain Kay Hire and Poppy Northcutt, remind us all of what we can achieve when we reach for the sky.”
Sky Princess Captain Heikki Laakkonen also recognised two Sky Princess female officers who embody the Reach for the Sky theme, striving for success in leadership positions –Kerry Ann Wright, who started working in the cruise industry as a spa technician and went back to school to rise through the ranks to become a Second Officer working on the bridge; and Chief Security Officer Susan Morgan, who is the longest serving woman in the British Royal Navy.
Sky Princess, recently completed her inaugural season in Europe and is now sailing on voyages to the Caribbean through spring 2020. Representing an evolution of the design platform used for her sister Royal-Class ships – Regal Princess, Royal Princess and Majestic Princess – the 143,700-ton, 3,660-guest Sky Princess offers an elevation of spectacular style and elegance that Princess is known for, in addition to new distinct features.
The debut of Sky Princess marks the first MedallionClass new build. Powered by the OceanMedallion™, the global hospitality industry’s most advanced wearable device, MedallionClass vacations deliver a new level of service for a vacation that is more seamless, effortless and personalised. The complimentary OceanMedallion features leading-edge technology that delivers personalised service through enhanced guest-crew interactions, while eliminating friction points and enabling interactive entertainment.
The Princess Cruises fleet continues to expand with Enchanted Princess in June 2020, Discovery Princess in November 2021 and two new (LNG) ships in 2023 and 2025.
Sea News, December 9