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Royal Caribbean courts Boaty McBoatface provocateur

Michael Bayley asked James Hand to share his suggestions for possible future Royal Caribbean ship names. Here, Harmony of the Seas reimagined (Photo: Royal Caribbean)
Crediting James Hand as forever altering the business of naming ships, Royal Caribbean International has invited the man behind the Boaty McBoatface sensation to help it choose future vessel names.

Hand jumped into the public eye with his wildly popular entry in the UK Natural Environment Research Council’s contest to name its new $290m Antarctic survey vessel.

'The people of the United Kingdom know the name of a great ship when they see it,' RCI president and ceo Michael Bayley said in an April 1 news release. 'Like the rest of the world, we fell in love with the name Boaty McBoatface when we heard it, and we knew immediately that Royal Caribbean could use James Hand’s talent to name our next ship.'

As a first step, the line invited Hand to sail on Harmony of the Seas when the ship enters service in Southampton this May. There, Royal Caribbean said, he could meet with the cruise line's own naming experts to discuss potential names for a future newbuild.