Emerald Radiance Christening
Gillian Williams, river cruise expert at RiverCruising.co.uk becomes Godmother to Emerald Radiance. Read Gill's story below.
This wonderful story started back in April when my MD, Phil, called me and asked me to join him at Emerald Waterways’ HQ for a brochure launch event. Unbeknown to me, it wasn’t a ‘brochure launch’.
There I was, complete with my notebook wondering why myself and Phil were the only ones attending, not to mention the camera set-up in the meeting room.
We were greeted by Emerald Waterways Brand Manager, David Winterton and National Account Manager, Dawn Quinn. Dawn asked if I’d kindly answer a few questions about Emerald Waterways; she began with an introduction, followed by only one question “Would you like to be the Godmother of our newest river ship, Emerald Radiance?” I was overwhelmed, I welled up and just about managed to respond, “I would love to”.
What a privilege and honour, one of the biggest things that has ever happened to me!
Now to plan the outfit – everyone loves an excuse to go shopping and this was certainly a great excuse!! After several weeks – the outfit was finally chosen and ready for the big day.
The Christening was held in Porto, 16th June 2017 (my wedding anniversary, so it felt extra special to have my husband by my side) but we flew out the day before and stayed in a hotel! This evening we dined in a local restaurant. Although a fish restaurant, I ordered steak and ‘chips’… my face was an absolute picture when my steak arrived at the table served with CRISPS – I forgot I should have opted for French Fries! A great night was had by all!
Today’s the big day! I awoke feeling emotional (in a good way) and excited; butterflies filled my stomach!
The christening wasn’t until later in the day, so we had time for a morning tour of Porto - what a beautiful city, filled with history!
From the Jardim de Morro we had our first glimpse of Emerald Radiance (and a breath-taking view of the River Douro) – a ‘lump in throat’ moment – this was really happening!
After our tour, we collected our belongings from the hotel and made our way to the ship. I cannot tell you how proud, humbled and honoured I felt as I stepped on board.
What a beautiful ship she is, and I’ve seen many. We had lunch on board and some time to relax whilst the ship was being prepared for the christening. I used the spare time to visit the hairdressers on board; the lovely Carmen had the arduous task of tackling my unruly mop of hair.
Time to put my carefully chosen dress on; an emerald green dress (to match well with the Emerald Waterways brand).
Finally, it’s ‘show time’; I practised my lines one last time and joined the Emerald Waterways team for the ceremony on the quay side.
The champagne was flowing, sun was shining and music was playing!
The christening began with a speech from Karen (owner of Emerald and Scenic River Cruises), who thanked the shipyard and various other important people in making this wonderful ship
Now it's my turn! Time to see if I had remembered the words – I had a little cheat card but I am proud to say that once I was handed the microphone, all the words came back to me. I was so pleased. But it is a good job I did not have to say anything else as I had a massive lump in my throat and I know the voice will have crumbled. Now it was time to smash the bottle (I had this big fear that the bottle wouldn’t not break). Together, with the captain, we gave the rope a good strong pull and I have never been so happy to see a champagne bottle break!! The Emerald Radiance then sounded her horn in celebration! Now for some music and dancing at the quay side.
After the ceremony, we had a lovely dinner on board the Emerald Radiance. It felt lovely to share the experience with guests who were staying on board. And after the meal, it felt apt to watch the sun set over the Douro – a perfect way to end the day.