Soprano Sarah Brightman with Seabourn president Rick Meadows (right) and Seabourn Encore captain Mark Dexter at the christening of the ship in Singapore on Jan. 7, 2017.(Photo: Seabourn Cruise Line)
SINGAPORE -- Luxury cruise line Seabourn on Saturday officially welcomed its biggest ship ever during a Southeast Asia-themed christening ceremony along Singapore's waterfront.
Lion dancers, dragon dancers and a local Singaporean drum troupe performed for more than 1,000 invited guests during the hour-long event to cheer the arrival of the 600-passenger Seabourn Encore.
Famed soprano Sarah Brightman served as godmother for the vessel, pulling a lever to send a Nebuchanezzar of Nicolas Feuillatte Champagne crashing against its hull.
Three-star Michelin chef Thomas Keller, who has a restaurant on Encore as part of a new partnership with Seabourn, also was on hand as was wellness guru Andrew Weil. Weil is partnering with Seabourn on an overhaul of the line's shipboard spa and wellness offerings.
To the disappointment of some in the audience, Brightman did not sing at the event, which was heavy on speeches and promotional video.
Among those addressing attendees were Seabourn president Rick Meadows and Carnival Corp. CEO Arnold Donald. Carnival Corp. is the parent company of Seabourn. Carnival Corp. chairman Micky Arison also was in attendance along with his wife, Madeleine.
"The launch of Seabourn Encore marks the start of a new era of ultra-luxury cruising," Meadows said from a stage moments before the bottle broke. He added that the ship "marks a major step forward in terms of growth for our company."
The evening ceremony took place in a cavernous hall within Singapore's Marina Bay Cruise Centre, just steps away from the vessel. Invited guests included passengers from Encore as well as the six-year-old Seabourn Sojourn, which also was visiting Singapore.
Billed as one of the most upscale cruise ships of the modern era, Encore is a larger version of Seabourn's three existing vessels, which include Sojourn and the nearly identical Seabourn Odyssey and Seabourn Quest.
While based on the design of the earlier "Odyssey class" ships, Encore has one more deck and expanded public areas. At 40,350 tons, it's about 26% larger than its siblings and holds about 33% more passengers.
Encore offers elegant, contemporary spaces designed by noted hospitality designer Adam Tihany, who also was in attendance at Saturday's christening. The spaces include an airy main dining room and a version of the club-like social hub called Seabourn Square found on other Seabourn ships.
In addition to the Keller restaurant, new-for-Encore venues include a sushi eatery and a private, deck-top sanctuary called The Retreat. Featuring a whirlpool and 15 private cabanas, The Retreat only is open to passengers who pay an extra charge of $249 to $349 to book one of the cabanas.
A sister ship to Encore called Seabourn Ovation is on order for delivery in 2018.
Encore departed Singapore late Saturday on a 10-night inaugural voyage to Indonesia. It'll spend the coming months visiting ports in Asia, Australia and New Zealand before heading to the Mediterranean for the summer.
Confetti rains down upon attendees during the christening ceremony for Seabourn Cruise Line's new Seabourn Encore in Singapore on Jan. 7, 2017. (Photo: Alan Lim)