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What it means to be a Godmother of a cruise ship

What it means to be a Godmother of a cruise ship

The tradition of having a Godmother for a ship is not to be taken lightly; the tradition goes back around 4,000 years.

Godmothers of cruise ships have the responsibility of naming a new ship. Godmothers are also entrusted with the safe guidance of the ship and its passengers by blessing the ship, normally by breaking a bottle of champagne across her bow.

The tradition of having a Godmother for a ship goes back around 4,000 years – a tradition not to be taken lightly. She is always a female civilian who is chosen to bestow good luck and divine protection over the ship and its passengers.

President and CEO of Royal Caribbean International, Michael Bayley, said: “The Godmothers of our ships are remarkable individuals whose life lessons and achievements are rooted in courage, dedication and determination.”

After searching for 6 weeks for an educator who is inspiring South Florida’s next generation to dream big, think differently and challenge the status quo, 23-year-old Brittany Affolter from the Miami-Dade region of Teach For America, has been selected as Godmother of Royal Caribbean International’s newest ship, Harmony of the Seas.


With this honor, Affolter will join the ranks of renowned athletes, celebrities and royalty when she officially breaks a bottle to name the ship on November 10, 2016.  Royal Caribbean received nearly one thousand nominations from Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties, of which three finalists were selected and voted on by the public to help choose a South Florida hometown hero in education.

“Brittany exemplifies these qualities and so much more. We were exceptionally impressed by the passion she has for empowering our youth to believe in a better world and brighter future. She is wise beyond her years, and we can only imagine the accomplishments that she will continue to achieve,” Bayley said.

Brittany Affolter pursued a career in education as a way to pay it forward and inspire children in the same way she had been during her early years. She grew up in a challenging home environment where she received little support and guidance, and was able to remove herself from that setting with the help of teachers and mentors. Instead Affolter found the encouragement and inspiration she sought from caring and devoted teachers who believed in her, helping her realize that college was within grasp and that a quality education was essential for a successful, fulfilling life. Ultimately, these teachers advanced her to where she is today.

Affolter has been working with Teach For America Miami-Dade since 2014, engaging classrooms in Title 1 schools across the county that meet the needs of at-risk and low-income students. In order to reach as many kids in Miami as possible for the greatest impact, she now trains teachers at 14 high-need schools in Miami-Dade, serving more than 500 students. In her spare time, she tutors students, is working to become a mentor for children in foster care, and is completing her masters in educational leadership.



“I am so honored to have been selected as Godmother to Harmony of the Seas and hope that my story can help give a voice to all the hard-working teachers that give so much of themselves to make a meaningful difference,” said Affolter.  “It’s most important for me to help kids understand that no matter what is going on in their lives, they can reach the dreams they have for themselves. It’s amazing what you can achieve when you have the support and encouragement of teachers who go above and beyond.”

Royal Caribbean set out to find a hometown hero in education to honor the homecoming of Harmony of the Seas, which will make her U.S. debut in a few short weeks when she arrives into her new homeport of Port Everglades in Ft. Lauderdale, FL, on November 5.

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