Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Celebrity Eclipse to be Named by Courageous Ocean-Racing Yachtswoman

Celebrity Cruises has announced the appointment of Emma Pontin, an inspirational UK-based yachtswoman, to serve as Godmother of Celebrity Eclipse, the third in their series of five stunningly successful Solstice Class ships. Pontin will name the ship in Southampton, England, during the ship’s formal naming ceremony April 24, which will conclude with a magnum of champagne, custom-made by The Corning Museum of Glass, commemoratively crashing against the hull of the 2,850-guest ship.

Pontin began her career as an ocean-racing yachtswoman in 2002 when she crewed on her first Challenge Transatlantic race with only one week’s sailing experience. Her devotion to the sport grew to the point that, in 2006, she was selected to skipper a yacht for the ARC Transatlantic race. But, prior to the start of the race, Pontin was diagnosed with breast cancer and had to immediately return to the UK for treatment, which culminated in a double mastectomy for precautionary measures. Celebrity Cruises selected Pontin to serve in the revered role of Godmother in recognition of her positive and empowering fight against the disease, from which both her aunt and grandmother died. Throughout her chemotherapy and radiation treatments, she continued to sail, instruct, and race, and even skippered several major races during the following 12 months.

“I am hugely honored and believe that serving as the Godmother of this wonderful ship is truly one of the greatest compliments to be bestowed on me,” said Pontin. “I look forward enormously to taking up my duties in presiding over and naming this ship during what is one of the most important dates in a ship’s life. It is extremely flattering to be recognized for what came naturally to me when fighting breast cancer, and I hope that through this association with Celebrity Cruises, I will continue to inspire and encourage many others. I feel very blessed and privileged to be able to name Celebrity Eclipse in one of the UK’s sailing capitals.”

Pontin is currently mounting her next big challenge: a 30,000-mile full circumnavigation of the world, with a planned departure from London in Oct 2011 to raise funds for, and global awareness of, breast cancer. On April 24, as part of the Celebrity Eclipse naming celebrations, the first “Celebrity Sunwalk” sponsored by Celebrity Cruises will see thousands of women, men, and families walking through Southampton in decorated bras helping to raise funds and awareness for breast cancer. The walk is reminiscent of “Walk the Walk,” founded by Nina Barough, Godmother of sister-ship Celebrity Equinox and a breast cancer survivor who works tirelessly to raise funds for vital breast cancer causes.

Celebrity Eclipse enters service April 26 from Southampton on a 3-night Paris (Le Havre) cruise, then returns to Southampton to embark on the ship’s official maiden voyage departing April 29 with a short 4-night cruise to Cork (Cobh), Ireland. The ship will present a series of Mediterranean and Russia and Scandinavian cruises throughout the summer, and will offer Caribbean sailings from Fort Lauderdale, FL, beginning this winter. For more information, visit CelebrityCruises.com.

While you wait for the official launch, set sail with Cruise Diva on the “Conveyance” Journey aboard Celebrity Eclipse, the Sham-WOW of Cruise Ship Experiences and take an exclusive first look around the interiors.

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