When Dame Helen Mirren named P&O Ventura in
Southampton

When Dame Helen Mirren named P&O Ventura in Southampton

Several passengers were forced to isolate after reported bouts of sickness.

The Echo remembers when the liner was the newest thing ship to grace the seas.

Dame Helen Mirren, the esteemed actress known for her award-winning performances and for regally portraying the Queen in the film of the same name, was chosen to serve as the godmother to the impressive supership Ventura on May 16, 2008.

This honour has traditionally been fulfilled by members of the Royal family, showcasing a strong connection to regal traditions.

Daily Echo: Dame Helen Mirren with a bottle of Champagne in front of P&O Cruises Ventura ship ahead of the

P&O Cruises was determined to leave nothing by chance when in previous dockside ceremonies there were occasions when bottles failed to smash, which seafarers consider to be an omen of bad luck.

Dangling on ropes 120ft above the docks, two marines swung in to shatter the two ceremonial bottles of champagne with a resounding crash, and to everyone’s relief Ventura, the world’s newest cruise ship, was well and truly christened.

Upon arrival at the dock, Dame Helen encountered Alistair Burton and Carl Thurgood, the two marines who were set to embark on the daring descent down the ship’s side.

Daily Echo: Dame Helen Mirren is kissed by Marines Alistair Burton, left, and Carl Thurgood at the naming of

After Dame Helen said the famous words “I name this ship…” she did not simply press a button to send the champers cascading over the ship, but instead ordered the marines into action.

Upon receiving her orders, the two marine officers descended the ship’s exterior using ropes and shattered the champagne bottles to mark the commencement of Ventura’s journey.

Participating in the Ventura film were distinguished individuals such as Roger Moore, known for his portrayal of James Bond, and Jonathan Pryce, recognized for his role as the villain Elliot Carver in Tomorrow Never Dies. They were joined by Miranda Raison from the popular TV show Spooks, news anchor Selina Scott, and actress Patricia Hodge.

Daily Echo: Ventura naming The guests on deck

On the spacious deck of the luxurious Ventura, approximately 1,500 attendees, encompassing renowned personalities from TV, stage, and film, gathered to witness the one-of-a-kind event.

The remarkable proceedings culminated with a dazzling fireworks spectacle illuminating the night sky above the massive 115,000-ton vessel.

Among the distinguished guests invited to Ventura were renowned chef Marco Pierre White, famous comedian Rowan Atkinson, beloved star of Only Fools and Horses Nicholas Lyndhurst, talented actress Cherie Lunghi, known for her role in the drama series Casualty 1907, and esteemed radio presenter Sarah Kennedy.

Daily Echo: Fireworks at Ventura naming ceremony, Southampton

Others included Adele Silva from the TV show Emmerdale, Stephen Tomkinson known for his roles in Ballykissangel and Drop the Dead Donkey, Kate Ford who previously portrayed Tracy Barlow in Coronation Street, Graham Murty, the captain of Reading FC, and Bruce Oldfield, the British fashion designer who was raised and educated under the care of Barnardo’s, one of the three charities that received support from the grand event.

The two other charities were Naomi House, the children’s hospice near Winchester, and Kids Company, which supports vulnerable children in deprived areas.

Presented by Captain Alistair Clark, the first ship’s commander and resident of Warsash, Dame Helen received a set of exquisite diamond and pearl earrings.

Daily Echo: Dame Helen Mirren with children in Jumping Jacks play lounge at the naming of Ventura, Mayflower

Captain Alistair Clark, the initial commander of the vessel, gifted Dame Helen a set of exquisite diamond and pearl earrings from his residence in Warsash.

Ventura left on her maiden voyage to the Mediterranean Sea.

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