On Wednesday, July 13 in Monaco, Princess Charlene christened "the most luxurious ship ever".
Accompanied by her husband and the reigning monarch of Monaco, Prince Albert II, Charlene who is former Olympic swimmer cut the red velvet ribbon to send the primat of Veuve Clicquot champagne crashing against the hull of Seven Seas Explorer, luxury line Regent's new ship.
The royal couple arrived at the black-tie christening event after more than 700 attendees had taken seats in front of a stage alongside the vessel. They promenaded down a center aisle, followed by Regent's top executives. The princess wore a floor-length silver gown.
The princess said just 17 words during the two-hour event, which was hosted by Entertainment Tonight's Kevin Frazier.
"I christen this ship Seven Seas Explorer. God bless her and all those who sail on her,"
the princess said after climbing onto the stage, uttering the traditional phrase delivered at so many ship launches. She then blew a kiss at the 750-passenger vessel, which was lined with crew members.
The christening was followed by a rousing, 45-minute performance by famed Italian tenor Andrea Bocelli, who sang many of the songs for which he is best known, including La Donna e Mobile and Time to Say Goodbye. Bocelli finished with Nessun Dorma, the well-known aria from Puccini's Turandot, eliciting a roar from the crowd.
Costing more than $450 million, Explorer is the most expensive luxury vessel ever built and boasts one of the highest ratios of space to passengers in the history of cruising. Built at a shipyard in Italy, it features some of the largest, most elaborate accommodations at sea, including a two-bedroom complex overlooking the bow of the ship that measures 4,443 square feet. That's more than 50% larger than the average house in the USA.
Explorer also has a wide range of upscale eateries including new-for-the-line contemporary French and Asian restaurants, and a newly designed version of Regent's signature steakhouse, Prime 7. A stylish spa operated by Arizona's Canyon Ranch; a two-tiered, 694-seat theater; and an opulent observation lounge that evokes the 1920s are other notable features.
In a speech during the event, Frank Del Rio, the CEO of Regent's parent company, Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings, said Monaco was the perfect setting for the christening of such a ship.
"This place, famed over decades for glitz and glamour, epic auto races, legendary casinos, a place where dreams come true, where 007 himself orders his martinis shaken not stirred ... can now add the christening of Explorer to her long list of accolades," Del Rio said.
"As that old Milwaukee beer TV commercial used to say, it doesn't get much better than this," he added.
Explorer is Regent's first new ship in more than a decade. It initially will sail in the Mediterranean, offering a range of eight- to 14-night sailings starting at $6,799 per person. It'll re-position to the Caribbean for the winter.