Oscar-winning actress and Grammy Award-winning singer Jennifer Hudson (left) poses Jan. 19, 2011 at Port Canaveral, Fla. with Walt Disney Company president and CEO Robert A. Iger (middle), Walt Disney Parks and Resorts chairman Thomas O. Staggs (right) and a ceremonial bottle of Champagne at the christening ceremony for the new Disney Dream cruise ship.

*PORT CANAVERAL, FL- Walt Disney Company president and CEO Bob Iger and Walt Disney Parks & Resorts chairman Tom Staggs joined a host of Disney characters to officially christen Disney’s newest gem in the ocean, Disney Dream, on Wednesday, Jan. 19, 2011.  The weather perfect day was filled with pomp, circumstance and wonderment!

Oscar-winning actress and Grammy Award-winning singer Jennifer Hudson, who was named Godmother of the 130,000-ton ship, attended the gala ceremony and joined scores of singers and dancers for a lively send-off which was attended by thousands of guests from all over the world including celebrities, media and members of the public.

Dream Come True-Fireworks light up the sky over the new Disney Dream cruise ship at gala christening ceremony.

After an explosive performance, Hudson, joined by Iger and Staggs, and surrounded by the Disney Family of characters, christened the new Disney Dream cruise ship.  The excitement mounted as a helicopter hoisted a 16-foot champagne bottle across the bow of the Disney Dream.  And as fireworks lit the sky and warmed the hearts of onlookers the newest luxury liner was welcomed to the Disney Cruise Line family.

Ironically, Hudson’s dreams of stardom began when she was a performer on the Disney Wonder ship in 2003 and went on to star in the “Dreamgirl” movie and win an Oscar for her dynamic performance.  After breaking the ceremonial bottle of Champagne, thousands set sail to Disney’s private island, Castaway Cay in the Bahamas.

“For over a decade, Disney Cruise Line has been making vacation dreams come true for millions of families and we continue that tradition today with the launch of the Disney Dream,” Iger said.  “The mix of imagination and innovation found on the Disney Dream is unparalleled and elevates the family cruise experience to new heights.”

The new, 130,000-ton ship accommodates up to 4,000 guests and features themed areas for children, teens and adults, and interactive entertainment throughout the ship, and industry firsts including the first “water-coaster” at sea.

The ship will sail three-, four- and five-night cruises to the Bahamas, calling Port Canaveral home.  The Dream is the newest Disney Cruise Line ship and will have its maiden voyage Jan. 26, 2011. The luxurious cruise liner joins the 2,700-passenger Disney Magic and Disney Wonder, with the Disney Fantasy scheduled to join the fleet in 2012.

“The addition of the Disney Dream provides an opportunity to extend our horizons and open up Disney cruising to more families,” Staggs said.   “From the majestic beauty of Alaska, to the culture and history of Europe, to the fun and sun of the Caribbean, families looking to take a Disney cruise have more options than ever before.”  (Photos courtesy Disney/Gene Duncan, photographer)

Audrey J. Bernard is an established chronicler of Black society and Urban happenings based in the New York City area.