It’s been a longstanding tradition for ships to have godmothers, a symbolic patron or sponsor through the ship’s life. The godmother symbolizes the spirit of the vessel.
In the mid-19th century, it became customary for a woman of distinction to be selected for the ship godmother honor.
If you’ve seen the MSC Divina, you know she is a beauty. But do you know who was chosen to be her godmother?
For a bit of cruise ship trivia, see if you can name the well-know godmother who launched this ship in May 2012. The age-old naming of a ship marks the birth of a vessel and asks for a blessing of good fortune and safety for the ship and its passengers and crew.
Don’t look at the answer below until you have formulated yours. As a hint, the MSC Divina godmother will turn 80 years old on Sept. 20. She certainly doesn’t look it.
(Answer) If you said legendary actress Sophia Loren, you are right. And if you are lucky, maybe you can book the Sophia Loren Suite, Room 16007 on the MSC Divina, for a cruise.
The suite was designed by Loren herself. I didn’t get to stay there but I did see it, really a beauty. Located within the Divina’s famous “ship within a ship” – the MSC Yacht Club – the suite has a rich luxurious red sofa and chairs, plus a lush red carpet topped by a swirly figured carpet in the living room.
Situated far forward on the ship, the suite has balcony openings from both the bedroom and the living room. A bottle of champagne was cooling in a bucket when I was there, with two glasses ready for a toast.
The bed has a plush red headboard, white bedcovers with a red fabric throw on the bottom of the bed and red pillows for accents. A replica of the special dressing table used in Sophia Loren’s own dressing room has been fitted for an extra touch of glamour.
My favorite décor items are the stunning black-and-white photographs of Loren’s most memorable movie roles decorating the walls. Movie buffs will love that, especially the one of Loren hoisting her honorary Oscar in 1991. She also won a 1962 Academy Award for best actress in Two Women.
In the Yacht Club Library, you can browse through a selection of Sophia Loren’s favorite novels. I think it would be fun to read the same 20 classics that sparked her imagination. Books often reveal something about the person who cherishes them so it might be possible to discover a little more about one of the greatest cinematic legends of all time.
Story and photo by Jackie Sheckler Finch