As Dame Shirley said the immortal words â€œI name this ship Adonia, may God bless her and all who sail in herâ€ a magnum of Hush Heath Balfour rose British sparkling wine hit the hull of the ship in an explosion of pink bubbles.
Aided by master of ceremonies, actor and star of Downtown Abbey, Hugh Bonneville, around 500 guests witnessed the celebrations with afternoon tea, Hush Heath sparkling wine and tributes to Dame Shirley in performances of her greatest hits.
â€œI have had the most exciting career imaginable, but to be invited to be Godmother to a cruise ship is something very special and very personal,â€ said Dame Shirley.
â€œDame Shirley is Britainâ€™s most successful female artiste ever, a national treasure who defines the word â€˜superstarâ€™ and she is now one of our most celebrated godmothers. With Dame Shirleyâ€™s blessing I am sure Adonia will have a long and illustrious time with P&O Cruises and become a favourite within the fleet as she charms all those who sail on her,â€ said P&O Cruises managing director, Carol Marlow.
Adonia provides an extensive range of on board facilities, yet carrying just 710 passengers is small enough to be able to reach off the beaten track ports of call. Exclusively for adults, Adonia will offer an atmosphere that is intimate and refined â€“ and the on board excellence for which the company is renowned.
Speaking at the naming Ms Marlow said: â€œ It is by no means for the first time that we have been able to claim that we are bucking the trend and going against the fashion of the time. Most cruise lines – including P&O Cruises – have gone down the road of building bigger ships with an extraordinary level of choice and range of facilities. But we also appreciate that whilst larger ships offer a special experience, and definitely have their place in cruising, there is still a role for smaller ships which offer passengers a more intimate ambience and experience – and not just on-board. They can be used as pathfinder ships exploring those ocean routes less travelled, to intriguing ports and destinations that see few if any other cruise ships including Zadar in Croatia, Koper in Slovenia and Savona in Italy.â€
Adoniaâ€™s maiden cruise on Sunday May 22 is a 16 night cruise to the Western Mediterranean, which includes calls to Alghero in Sardinia; Portofino in Italy; Sete in France; Port Mahon in Menorca and Barcelona in Spain.