MIAMI - It's official: Royal Caribbean International celebrated its newest game-changing ship, Odyssey of the Seas, during the ship's naming ceremony in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. The Caribbean-inspired occasion culminated in the moment Odyssey's Godmother and the first Bahamian paratriathlete to compete in the Paralympic Games qualifiers, Erin Brown, bestowed a blessing of safekeeping on the ship and all those who sail on it for decades to come.
Brown was joined on board by Royal Caribbean Group Chairman and CEO Richard Fain and Royal Caribbean International President and CEO Michael Bayley. The occasion also marked a historic moment for the decades-long Godmother tradition as Brown becomes the cruise line's first Bahamian Godmother.
"Today, we get to show the world what imagination and determination look like when they come together," said Fain. "All of what our teams have done over the past 20 months has led us to this moment when we can finally show the innovation and beauty of Odyssey of the Seas."
A 17-year change agent for those living with disabilities in The Bahamas, Brown is a mother and cancer survivor. The life-long athlete was diagnosed with stage 4 osteosarcoma – bone cancer – in 2004. It was more than a year later, after receiving treatment, when Brown made the decision to amputate her leg above the knee. Having watched her own mother battle lupus linked to cancer for five years, Odyssey's Godmother was determined to come back stronger than ever for herself, her family and others who could be inspired to fight. Brown went on to become the first Bahamian paratriathlete to train in the U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Training Center in Colorado Springs and compete in a Paralympic Games qualifier. In addition to her athletic achievements, Brown is a longtime advocate for those living with disabilities and works at the University of The Bahamas as the compliance officer and counselor championing the increase of access and opportunities for students living with disabilities.
"It's our honor to welcome Erin as our first Bahamian Godmother," said Bayley. "She is an incredible individual who pushes to change the status quo, making her the perfect choice for a ship as innovative as Odyssey of the Seas. It's also fitting because The Bahamas has been our great partner and neighbor since Royal Caribbean first set sail to the islands more than 50 years ago."
Royal Caribbean cruises have visited The Bahamas and the Caribbean for 52 years and counting. Year after year, guests of all ages can set sail to explore the regions' stunning destinations. In June, The Bahamas was where Royal Caribbean's first cruise back in the western hemisphere set sail after more than a 15-month pause.
On full display during the official naming ceremony was Odyssey itself. The first Quantum Ultra Class ship in North America features a combination of new, thrilling experiences and signature adventures guests know and love. Highlights include a vibrant resort-style pool deck inspired by the Caribbean, the new Giovanni's Italian Kitchen & Wine Bar, Teppanyaki, the restaurant serving up Far East flavors and making its North America debut; and one-of-a-kind entertainment that pushes the bounds of imagination in the high-tech venue Two70 and the Royal Theater.
"I am immensely grateful to have been selected as Godmother to Odyssey of the Seas," said Brown. "As a proud Bahamian, it is an honor to also represent The Bahamas and share my story with so many others. My experiences have empowered me to reinvent myself and transform my life, and I'm committed to helping ensure others can do the same."
This winter and early 2022, Odyssey is welcoming families and travelers of all ages on 6-night and 8-night cruises to the eastern, western and southern Caribbean as well as the cruise line's private island destination, Perfect Day at CocoCay. In April 2022, the new, innovative ship will head to its summer home in Rome to sail along the sun-soaked shores of the Mediterranean.