The 3,660-guest ship was named ‘Sky Princess’ at a ceremony in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Godmothers are former NASA engineer Frances Northcutt and former NASA astronaut Captain Kathryn Hire.
Francis Northcutt or, ‘Poppy’ and Kathryn Hire, known as ‘Kay’, blessed the ship before signalling the release of a champagne bottle which was broken against the the side – the official, traditional welcome of a new vessel into the line’s fleet.
Francis served as the first female mission control engineer at the time when NASA made history with its mission to the moon. Francis earned the Presidential Medal of Freedom after her team’s efforts brought the crew of Apollo 13 home safely after they hit trouble.
Kathryn served as Captain in the U.S. Navy reserve before joining NASA in 1989 as an engineer, flying to space for the first time in 1998. Kathryn served as a mission specialist on space shuttle ‘Columbia’ and again in 2010 on the space shuttle ‘Endeavour’.
Jan Swartz, president of Princess Cruises, said: “As we celebrate our newest, most technologically advanced ship – one whose spirit of adventure and discovery match the grandeur of her name, Sky Princess, we also applaud the groundbreaking women of the U.S. space programme.
“And our godmothers, Captain Kay Hire and Poppy Northcutt, remind us all of what we can achieve when we aim for the sky.”