Royal Caribbean Asks 'Boaty McBoatface' Guy to Help Name Ship
He's offered a cruise as publicity stunt
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 1, 2016 11:38 AM CDT
The Harmony of the Seas, under construction on Feb. 18, 2016, in Saint-Nazaire, western France.   (AP Photo/Laetitia Notarianni)

(Newser) – Royal Caribbean has crowdsourced the public before to help it name its cruise ships, but it's tapping into a rather unusual source this time around: the guy who came up with "Boaty McBoatface." The company invited British bloke James Hand—whose "whimsical moniker," as a press release puts it, for a $300 million UK research vessel was the most popular choice in an online Internet naming contest—to come for a sail in May on its new Harmony of the Seas, USA Today reports. But this is no simple pleasure cruise: RC apparently wants the 26-year-old Hand to help it brainstorm for a name for another upcoming ship. (The LA Times doesn't think it's an April Fools' joke, but a fan blog isn't so sure.)

"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," CEO Michael Bayley says. Hand, who has called his whole experience "bonkers," isn't granting interviews at the moment, but he tells USA Today in an email through a third party that "the offer came as a massive surprise, as has all of the interest since I submitted the name Boaty McBoatface." Meanwhile, Bayley says Hand could have a sweet future in the business of ship-naming: "Who knows, perhaps he could name all our future ships. James Hand, Chief Naming Officer, Royal Caribbean International. It has a nice ring to it."