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It’s not every day that an everyday hero gets the opportunity to be the godmother of a mega cruise ship. During the naming ceremony for Wonder of the Seas in Port Canaveral, Florida, on Dec. 9, Jason Liberty, president and CEO of Royal Caribbean Group explained that although Royal Caribbean International could have easily picked a celebrity for the duties, they wanted a real mom for the role of godmother.
After Royal Caribbean put out a call for a Wonder Mom godmother in the #SearchforWonderMom contest coinciding with Mother’s Day, Marie McCrea’s daughter Allie shared a touching video that showcased the story of her mom’s strength and unwavering support for her family. The widespread TikTok search saw 16,000 videos posted and 10.6 billion hashtag views.
“The role of godmother is an important and long standing maritime tradition dating way back to ancient times,” he said. “The tradition has evolved to naming a godmother that embodies that spirit of the ship. And today that’s exactly what we get to do. But instead of getting some public figure or celebrity, we get to welcome an everyday hero to our family as the Wonder Mom.”
McCrea’s winning nomination video, which was shared during the naming ceremony, moving many in the audience to tears, revealed how McCrea became a full-time caregiver for her late husband after he became disabled early on in their marriage and showed how she fought cancer while continuing to be there for her family. Notably, the McCreas vacationed on a Royal Caribbean ship early on in their relationship.
“Marie’s story is anything but ordinary. She found the unimaginable strength and resilience in the face of incredible hardship all while encouraging her family and those around her to live life to the fullest,” he said.
Fitting for a mega ship of its size, Liberty said they opted to go “bigger and bolder” by finding the “largest bottle in the world” — the equivalent of 12 champagne bottles — to smash against the bow of the ship, after McCrea bestowed a blessing of safekeeping on Wonder, its crew and the millions of families who will cruise on the ship in the years to come.
“It was an honour to officially welcome Marie and Wonder of the Seas to the Royal Caribbean family,” said Michael Bayley, president and CEO, Royal Caribbean International. “Marie’s story is one of incredible strength and family memories to last a lifetime, and those are the types of memories we’ve committed to creating with our guests and crew on every Royal Caribbean ship for more than 53 years.”
Taking place in the ship’s AquaTheatre, the evening included lively aerial and aquatic entertainment. Many travel advisors from across Canada were on hand for the christening, along with Royal Caribbean executives and team members.
As evidenced by the amount of travel trade partners on board for two back-to-back sailings, Vicki Freed, senior vice president, sales, trade support and service, told Travel Courier that travel advisors play a key role in the success of the cruise line.
“This is a positive time to be in this business,” she said. “The interesting thing is we’re seeing more and more newbies coming into this business — so they’re looking at travel as another career opportunity and we’re seeing young people come into this business.”
Wonder of the Seas will now homeport in Port Canaveral.
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