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Cruise Ship Names 2011

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Coming up with cruise ship names must be harder than it seems, because so many cruise lines do such a horrible job of it.

It is always hard to name things. I happen to play in a few rock & roll bands, and finding band names is next to impossible these days, and that says a lot when you can name a rock band almost anything. Those of you who have named children know how hard it is to find something you both like and that has meaning to you. I imagine cruise lines feel exactly the same way about their ships.

Or maybe not. Would you ever run a contest to name your baby? I know I would gladly accept suggestions, but running a contest? If you ask me, when Royal Caribbean ran its contest to name the Oasis-class vessels (sister ship, Allure) the results were less than stellar, frankly, I think they are awful names.

Royal Caribbean had a perfectly grand name for the world’s biggest passenger ship ever created – they called it the “Genesis Project.” Why didn’t they stick with that? When they had their contest I entered the name “Genesis” as my submission. It didn’t win. But I still think calling the ship just plain “Genesis” and finally doing away with all of that “…of the Seas” business was the best idea ever.

Now we have Norwegian (NCL) running a contest to name its two new ships from the “Breakaway Project,” in a contest in conjunction with USA Today, and they just announced the first five finalists. Significantly, one of them is “Norwegian Breakaway” – hey, I could have thought of that. I’m guessing NCL could have thought of that, too, so it probably won’t win, but I like the fact that they kept it as a possibility.

As you can see, the rules say the name must include the pre-fix “Norwegian”, so here are the final contestants!

Norwegian Bliss, first submitted by David Menker of Dallas, Texas.

Norwegian Breakaway, first submitted by Kimberly Powell of Lafayette, La.

Norwegian Escape, first submitted by Joseph Funigiello of Naples, Fla.

Norwegian Getaway, first submitted by Dennis Hultman of Vienna, Va.

Norwegian Journey, first submitted by Florence Pflaster of Carolina Shores, N.C

These are in alphabetic order, but I would personally pick “Norwegian Bliss” – why? It’s the only decent name there. It at least invokes an image. What does “Norwegian Bliss” look like to you? To me she is about 5’ 9” with long blonde hair, blue eyes and a figure that never stops… oops, I digress.

Norwegian Escape – sounds a bit criminal, Norwegian Getaway, same thing! I guess if you have to name a pair of ships they may as well sound like partners in crime.  The “Norwegian Brothers, fastest draws on the high seas.”

Norwegian Journey – I just can’t believe such a mundane name would make it to the final five. Royal Caribbean already established the rule here – NO cruise ship can be named after a rock band!

Okay, I am sorry but I have to say this. The company says they received over 230,000 entires. When I saw what they had picked I guessed it was more like 230 entires. Out of 230,000 those are the BEST suggestions? They are so indistinct, so non-evocative, so… mundane.

But mundane names do abound in the cruise ship world – here are some of the worst cruise ship names ever, in my opinion, and I am just trying to stick to names you have probably heard:

Azure Seas – this little tub ran day cruises from San Diego to Ensenada, Mexico, for almost two decades. It was a popular and fun voyage – and most people got pretty drunk, which made it the perfect name, as nothing sounds funnier than a person stewed to the gills trying to say “Azure Seas.”

Birka Princess: The Birka line is actually based in Sweden, but that name invokes visions of Arabian teenage girls shopping in the Dubai Galleria.

Black Watch – this one is with the Fred Olsen Line, a Norwegian company based in the U.K. – Why would anyone name a ship after what sounds like a satanic rite?

I have never liked Celebrity’s names much – you should never name a ship after terms that are the opposite of maritime. Summit, for example, is a terrestrial term, Solstice, Equinox, Eclipse – we know them well, but to first time cruisers I think the name “eclipse” sounds like you are taking something away.

For the record – I do like the idea of using ancients gods; Mercury, Jupiter, Mars, Venus. It was perfectly fine for our astronomers. There are many gods who do not have ships represented in the modern cruise fleet. We do have Minerva – but why? It sounds like the heroine from a Marx Brothers movie. There is even a Minerva II.

And a name that is unreasonably hard to pronounce should eliminated without prejudice; Adventurer is a good example. Armonia is another – how do you remember that? “It sounds like a cleaning product, but I have no idea what it means!”

Holland America – need I say more? Every ship in their fleet is impossible to remember:  You have the Maasdam, the Ryndam, the Veendam, etc.; all hard to remember, but at least pronounceable. There are the HAL ships that sound like they have an infestation, the Rotterdam and the Volendam. Finally there is the Nieuw Amsterdam, the Zuiderdam and the king of tongue twisters, the Oosterdam.

What do you think Norwegian should name its two new ships – two of the five listed names (here they are again) – or something completely different?

Norwegian Bliss

Norwegian Breakaway

Norwegian Escape,

Norwegian Getaway

Norwegian Journey

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Comment from Trip
Time September 7, 2011 at 12:52 pm

Well, needless to say I am upset that my choice of, NCL Harmony, was not among the top 5…hmmph!!! lol

Instead of letting the public take the blame when a ship’s name becomes an “oh my,”or copying another cruise line, which really gets my goat, go back into maritime history,and, pluck a good one, from back in the day..

Hal does this, but those names, are, oh no’s too!! I don’t care for them..see you can;t please everybody:)

Comment from Dave Beers
Time September 7, 2011 at 1:21 pm

When I got the press release this morning my initial thought was that it was a joke being played. Has creativity gone the way of the nickel bottle of Coke?

I do not like the lines having so much commonality in the names. We don’t need all of Carnival’s, Norwegian’s, or MSC’s ships having the company name in each name. I like Royal Caribbean a lot but the “of the seas” stuff got old after it was used the third time. What’s wrong with having another Sun Viking or a Nordic Prince? A Mardi Gras or a Tropicale? A Sunward or Skyward? At least those names had character.

Comment from Paul Motter
Time September 7, 2011 at 2:39 pm

Dave – I agree, I like ALL OF THOSE NAMES. I also meant what i said about god’s names – they are always classy for boats/ships.

Odyssey – for example (not a god, but an ancient word).

Apollo, Arielle, Arcadia, Angeline, Aurora – and that is just the A’s.

I really dislike the “of the Seas” monker, but I suspect they do it for trademark reasons. Carnival probably HAD to add all Carnival to all the ship names because somebady called their sailboat “The Fantasy” back in 1940 and tried to sue them.

But just officially name them “RCL Genesis” and then refer to it as “Genesis” in the media.

And all the copying of names; why?

Legend, Liberty, Pride, Splendor, Magic, Freedom, etc…

Bliss is also the name of the main nightclub on NCL (in case you forgot).

Costa has the worst names – even if you translate them:

Deliziosa, Luminosa, Magica (of course)

Does Disney have any ship name that has not been used before? The Magic, Wonder, Fantasy and Dream. I’m surprised they didn’t just go with the Micky, the Donald (wait, is that one trademarked already?), the Tinkerbelle and the Pluto.

Why does Royal Caribbean go with the Brit spellings? Grandeur, Splendour?

Good Celebrity names: Solstice, Horizon,
Bad: Summit, Eclipse, Reflection,

Silversea: Silver Whisper, Silver Spirit – I’m sorry but they all sound like vitamin formulas.

Windjammer had some good names: Legacy, Mandalay,

For NCL, I agree with the ‘ward names, they were classy and memorable.

Comment from Dave Beers
Time September 7, 2011 at 5:37 pm

Perhaps ‘Norwegian Gee’ and ‘Norwegian Whiz’ would have made the finals if they were submitted. At least they would flow. And, as an added plus Norwegian could have a contract with Kraft Foods to have a Cheez Whiz kiosk on the ships. Never doubt the revenue potential!

Comment from Kenneth Eden
Time September 8, 2011 at 6:11 am

Paul – you sound like Andy Rooney here.

Comment from Kenneth Eden
Time September 8, 2011 at 8:05 am

Gee whiz – and Cheez Whiz – couple that with Hamburger Helper, and the NCL crowd will feel right at home – how ’bout a Cosmo made with Kool Aid?

Comment from Maritime Lawyer
Time September 9, 2011 at 3:23 pm

The thing is that the purpose of this contest is purely commercial. Seeing Norwegian Breakaway among the finalists makes me think that all this fuzz its just a facade, a good marketing tool and the name was already chosen to be Norwegian Breakaway. Keep us posted on the subject, because i`m darn curious if i`m right or not about my guess. However out of these five names I like Norwegian Bliss the most. It makes me think of calmness, happiness. I hope this one wins.

Comment from Paul Motter
Time September 9, 2011 at 4:12 pm


My suspicion is that this little exercise of having five finalists is just another way to get the concepts of “Breakaway = escape & getaway” into the limelight again.

Mu guess is that ships will be named Bliss and Journey. Mostly because I think that when you put two words into a single name the phrase itself becomes the new – and hence has a cognitive meaning:

So what do these PHRASES mean to you:

Norwegian Breakaway
Norwegian Escape
Norwegian Getaway

They sound like criminal acts performed by Scandinavians.

But at least Norwegian Bliss and Norwegian Journey are somewhat meaningful names that evoke “real” images – not just kitschy, catchy phrases.

I mean “Norwegian Getaway” has the marketing punch of “Holiday Inn”

But Norwegian Bliss says “luxury” and happiness.

Comment from harm brink
Time September 10, 2011 at 10:37 am

“Holland America – need I say more? Every ship in their fleet is impossible to remember:
you forget that the HAL shipnames took a very long history. Fortunately, the HAL after takeover by Carnival maintained its historic names. The only exception is the Eurodam. The names have more meaning than many fancy names of current ships of other lines.
You might need to follow a course in Dutch.

Comment from Kenneth Eden
Time September 11, 2011 at 5:06 am

Does it matter what these things are to be called? They are about as NORWEGIAN as margarine is to buttrer, maybe not even that close. Whats in a nmae? BLISS – Hersheys candy, fem products – what a combo.

Comment from Kenneth Eden
Time September 13, 2011 at 5:47 am

Paul – got another cruise scam post card – will give you details, (we last discussed issue in May).


Comment from Mike cruiser
Time September 15, 2011 at 12:19 pm

Lol, Gee Wizz! Thats a good one! Kool Aid is definitely my favorite!

Comment from Paul Motter
Time September 15, 2011 at 12:45 pm

“Holland America – need I say more? Every ship in their fleet is impossible to remember”

You forget that the HAL shipnames took a very long history. Fortunately, the HAL after takeover by Carnival maintained its historic names. The only exception is the Eurodam. The names have more meaning than many fancy names of current ships of other lines. You might need to follow a course in Dutch.

I worked for Holland America in 1992-3 so I am well aware of where their names come from. It doesn’t change my point about how memorable they are or what they mean to Americans.

Most “average americans” who cruise on Holland Ammerica that I talk to can barely remember the line is called “Holland America” and they can NEVER remember the name of the ship unless it was the Rotterdam.

Comment from Kenneth Eden
Time September 16, 2011 at 5:53 am

Holland America- need I say more ….

The suffix DAM refers to rills, rivers and dykes used to keep water out of Holland – thus, such names are a tribute to the honor of the damming system. There was a POTSDAM – albeit a long time ago.

Two exceptions, EURODAM and WESTERDAM are obvious exceptions, maybe NIEUW AMSTERDAM. Of course ROTTERDAM and AMSTERDAM are city names. Don’t think there’ll be a Haarlem.

There is still a sense of heritage to be found on HAL ships, less so on the NIEUW AMSTERDAM – the new NIEUW! Incidently, most cruisers think Carnival took HAL in the past few years – no, 1987!

Of all ships names – from an old established cruise line, I abhore the Costa fleet names of today. Now, that is where Carnival shows its self. Once Costa ships were named from costa family members, EUGENIO, ENRICO, CARLA et cetera….

Comment from Kenneth Eden
Time September 16, 2011 at 9:02 am

ps to my above rant – in no way did I intend to diss Carnival – they (Carnival) have literallly saved not only cruise lines, but ships, created moew ships, and have created thousands of jobs.

Comment from Kenneth Eden
Time September 17, 2011 at 8:21 am

I have it! Here is what will never be taken into consideration by the Singapore-owners of NCL, Star Cruises. Names, and quality, that is.

Why not go back to the good old days, say, when the NCL experience was sublime, and had some class, maybe not ultra chic, but with some demeaner of tastfullness.

Why not create a new level of NCL, slot it into the PREMIUM Class level of cruising, say, with the likes of Celebrity and Oceania, and simply reflect on the past, and call these two new ship:

drum roll, please………


Comment from Kenneth Eden
Time September 21, 2011 at 5:25 am

So, Getaway and Breakaway got the nod –

Hardly innovative, I suppose, grb the names beforwe anyone else dared to use the lets see how that COULD have played out”

Crystal Breakaway or Getaway

Carnival Breakaway or Getaway

Celebrity Breakaway or Getaway

Costa, Aida, get the picture. How DROLL

Comment from ralphj
Time October 30, 2011 at 8:54 am

I like that HAL reuses names, although the chutzpah of naming a ship after a predecessor that sank is a bit much(they even have a painting of it in the stairwell)
If Celebrity would follow suit and reuse
Horizon, Zenith and Galaxy, we would be spared horrors like Silouette (sounds like those cutouts people made in colonial times before cameras were invented…)

Comment from Ian
Time September 28, 2012 at 11:00 am

…………..”Azure Seas – this little tub ran day cruises from San Diego to Ensenada, Mexico, for almost two decades. It was a popular and fun voyage – and most people got pretty drunk, which made it the perfect name, as nothing sounds funnier than a person stewed to the gills trying to say “Azure Seas.” …………..

Just for the record, the Azure Seas never ran day-cruises from San Diego to Ensenada. She ran 3 & 4 day voyages out of Los Angeles to Catalina, San Diego & Ensenada. Further more, having worked on board that ships for four years I can say without hesitation that she was definitely not a little tub. Do some research into the history of that vessel and get your facts straight before you start spouting your ill-informed drivel.

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