Oceania Cruises christened Riviera, the newest entry in the upper-premium cruise ship market, during an invitation-only, gala ceremony in Barcelona today. The ship’s godmother, Chef Cat Cora, the restaurateur, humanitarian, author, and co-host of Bravo’s new "Around the World in 80 Plates," named the ship, joined by Deacon Ricardo Rodriguez-Martos of the Barcelona’s Apostleship of the Sea, who bestowed the traditional blessings.
The national anthems of the U.S. and Spain, together with a Catalan flamenco performance and a duet of "Barcelona" performed by Soprano Alina Furman and Tenor Giorgio Olmo set a festive atmosphere for the ceremony.
Nearly 1,300 guests, including Xavier Trias, Mayor of Barcelona; Sixte Cambra, president of the Port of Barcelona and Jose Alberto Carbonell, director of the Port of Barcelona, were in attendance. Frank J. Del Rio, the line’s founder and chairman, and Kunal S. Kamlani, the line’s president, presided over festivities that concluded with a 15-liter Nebuchadnezzar of Champagne (weighing some 114 kilos), custom-made by Veuve Clicquot, commemoratively breaking against the ship’s hull.
"Today, the baton as the world’s premiere ship has passed to Riviera,"
In thanking the invited guests, local hosts and dignitaries in attendance, Kamlani noted that Barcelona, a city renowned for its charm, diversity of cultures, art and design, was the ideal setting for the christening as, "Riviera is a work of art herself, and designed to bring the beauty of the world to our guests." Barcelona also holds a special significance for Oceania Cruises as the line’s first ship, Regatta, was named in Barcelona in 2003.
Like Marina, her sister ship, Riviera also features a Bon Appétit Culinary Center, a Canyon Ranch SpaClub®, luxurious suites by Dakota Jackson, Ralph Lauren Home-furnished Owner’s Suites, and a grand Lalique staircase lit from above by a dazzling, custom-made chandelier.
Following the christening cruise, Riviera begins a 10-day maiden voyage from Venice to Athens, departing on May 16, 2011. From May 16 through November 29, 2012, she will offer a total of 20 Mediterranean voyages, calling at ports in France, Italy, Greece, Spain, Portugal and Turkey as well as Israel, Croatia, Cyprus, Montenegro, Morocco and Monaco, with maiden calls in Cephalonia (Argostoli), Motril (Granada) and the Canary Islands.
Source = Oceania Cruises