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20 May 2011, 10:06
Dame Shirley Bassey has become the "godmother'' of a cruise ship as she officially named the liner in a ceremony of fireworks and music.
The singer, famous for her James Bond theme songs, smashed a bottle of sparkling wine against the side of the Adonia, P&O's newest addition to its cruise fleet, at the event in Southampton on May 21st, 2011.
To set off the bottle-smash, Dame Shirley pressed a diamond-shaped button which sent the bottle flying down a 100-metre zip wire to crash into the side of the ship.
The wine chosen represented a break from the usual Champagne, with English sparkling wine Balfour Brut Rose used instead.
An invited audience of 700 people was at the naming ceremony which finished with a pyrotechnic display and fireworks.
Dame Shirley said:
"I have had the most exciting career imaginable but to be invited to be godmother to the Adonia is something very special and very personal.''
"When the ship comes to Monte Carlo I shall be on my balcony because I am right by the sea.
"I will see her come in and I will jump into my car and go down and greet her personally.
"The excitement is fantastic and it's an honour because I have only seen the Queen and the Queen Mother christen a ship.''
Hugh Bonneville, star of ITV1 drama Downton Abbey, also hosted the naming ceremony which featured a song-and-dance show paying homage to Dame Shirley's hits.
Other celebrities attending were Loose Women's Andrea McLean and Sue Jenkins, actress Fay Ripley and Strictly Come Dancing's Mark Foster.
The Adonia previously sailed for P&O Cruises' sister company as Royal Princess and is smaller than many cruise ships. It carries 710 passengers, making for a more "intimate'' atmosphere, according to its owners.
A spokesman said: "Adonia will be the jewel and the smallest ship in the P&O Cruises crown, offering a refined cruise experience for 710 adult-only passengers.''
The ship features a Marco Pierre White restaurant and three quarters of its cabins have a private balcony.
P&O Cruises managing director, Carol Marlow, said: "We are delighted to welcome Adonia into her homeport for the very first time. She is the perfect addition to our fleet and will celebrate all those things our regular passengers love about cruising with us - a classic dance floor, Crow's Nest observation lounge, formal nights, classical music recitals, guest speakers, silver service dining and a dedicated card room"
Adonia left on her maiden voyage on Sunday 22nd May: a 16 night cruise to the Western Mediterranean, including calls to Alghero in Sardinia; Portofino in Italy; Sete in France; Port Mahon in Menorca and Barcelona in Spain.