Ahoy from GayTravel's Cruise Guru!  Although I have sailed on over 100 Royal Caribbean cruises, each experience is unique within itself. In fact, I ardently believe that no matter how many maritime journeys I embark upon, I will always learn something new with each voyage. Last November, I had the honor of being invited to attend the naming ceremony for the newest member of the Royal Caribbean fleet: Harmony of the Seas. And despite being an experienced sailor myself, this was my first time witnessing such an event. Needless to say, I had no idea what to expect. But what I soon came to realize is that I was part of a grandiose celebration befitting for the biggest and boldest of ships!
Now,—as most people are—I am quite familiar with the seafaring tradition of breaking a bottle of champagne over the hull of a ship in order to bestow good luck upon her, and may I just say that Royal Caribbean upholds this tradition in a way that not only broke the bottle but broke the mold! So, just to give you a rundown, here is my play-by-play of the naming ceremony for Harmony of the Seas, which occurred on November 10, 2016.

Months before the naming ceremony, Royal Caribbean kicked things off by conducting a contest to find a “godmother” for Harmony of the Seas. The winner? Brittany Affolter, an inspiring young lady who is making waves in the field of education in the Southern Florida area, where Royal Caribbean is headquartered. And much in the same way that an exceptional woman was selected to bless the ship, so too was an exceptional bottle of bubbly! During the ceremony, it was carefully explained that Veuve Clicquot, a French champagne company founded in 1772, was tasked with crafting a bottle suitable for the world’s largest cruise ship. And just as anticipated, they rose to the challenge, just like bubbles rising from a flute! Not one but TWO of the largest bottles ever created were custom made for the occasion. Talk about one lucky ship! Next surprise? 

If I hadn’t seen it for myself, I wouldn’t have believed it! Royal Caribbean choreographed a production that blended man and machine in perfect harmony by combining the human spirit of their godmother with the technology of their Bionic Bar robot and the thrill of the zip line to smash the bottle of Veuve Clicquot upon the ship. The auspicious moment was met with cheers of sheer delight from all onboard, as confetti fell like sprinkles onto the crowd. Truly, it was a sight to behold, and it will be forever emblazoned in my mind.


On a more personal note, I—as a gay man—was brought great joy to see the diverse Royal Caribbean crew beaming with pride while serving their ship. Hailing from dozens of countries and consisting of various races, creeds, and sexual orientations, their hard work had come to fruition on this spectacular night. The remarks of Richard Fain, Chairman and CEO of Royal Caribbean said it all. Saying that while he is proud of the company’s achievements, what makes him proudest is its people. And this, my fellow travelers, is precisely the reason I am a Loyal Royal. 

While it’s true Royal Caribbean constructs the world’s most mind-boggling ships like  Harmony of the Seas, their special talent is making their passengers feel like they are part of something bigger. The care and the kindness of the crew ensures not only an exceptionally wonderful voyage, but joy and happiness that will carry long after the cruise has ended. 

Richard Fain, Chairman and CEO of RCCL and Gay Travel's Cruise Guru at the Carousel onboard Harmony of the Seas

According to the British Dictionary, a definition of the word harmony is “agreement in action, opinion, and feeling.” In this regard, Harmony of the Seas is the perfect name for this diverse and inclusive ship, as well as and harmonious environment all those who travel upon her will experience. Thank you, Royal Caribbean, for inviting me to the over-the-top naming ceremony for the greatest ship I have ever sailed on; truly, she is the Harmony of the Seas.

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