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Special competition: ‘Today Sets Sail’

NBC’s ‘Today’ show and Royal Caribbean International launch an unprecedented search for godmother for Freedom of the Seas.
/ Source: TODAY

Royal Caribbean International is putting a new twist on a long-standing maritime tradition by launching a national search for the Godmother of Freedom of the Seas — the world’s largest and most innovative cruise ship scheduled to debut in May 2006.

Historically an honor reserved for heads of state, politicians and celebrities, Godmothers officially give ships their names and serve as guiding spirits. Royal Caribbean Godmothers include Her Majesty Queen Sonja of Norway, Rosalynn Carter, Lauren Bacall, Whoopi Goldberg, Gloria Estefan, Katarina Witt, Jackie Joyner-Kersee, champion wheelchair marathoner Jean Driscoll and 2004 Teacher of the Year Kathy Mellor.

Through an unprecedented partnership with NBC “Today,” Royal Caribbean now is seeking to honor all adults by searching for an outstanding  individual — someone who has demonstrated exceptional spirit, courage and integrity — to serve as the Godmother of Freedom of the Seas.The winner selected to be Freedom of the Seas’ Godmother will preside over the most forward-looking, exciting and innovative ship at sea. Freedom will feature the first-ever surfing simulator at sea, an interactive water park, two cantilevered whirlpools that extend 12 feet out from the sides of the ship and a pool deck with dedicated sports pool that transforms into an open-air nightclub each night. See rules below for complete details.

Official RulesNovember 4, 2005

HOW TO ENTEREntry By e-mailComplete the email entry form (at the bottom of this page) including your name address, telephone number and an original essay written by you, no more than 500 words in length (the "Essay"), telling us why you (or someone that you would like to nominate)(in either case, the “Nominee”) would be the perfect godmother for Freedom of the Seas, the newest ship in the Royal Caribbean International fleet of cruise ships. If you are nominating someone other than yourself, you must include the Nominee’s name, address and telephone number at the end of the Essay.  

Entry By Mail
Alternatively, print your name, address, email address (if any) and telephone number and, if you are not nominating yourself, the name address, email address (if any) and telephone number of the Nominee along with the Essay. Mail your entry to us at: The Freedom Godmother Search, Box 100, Royal Caribbean International, 1050 Caribbean Way, Miami, Florida   33132.  Each Essay must be original, truthful, unpublished, created solely by the person making the nomination, must not have been submitted in any other competition, and must not infringe upon any rights of any third party, including but not limited to copyright, trademark, and rights of privacy and publicity.  All Essays become the property of the NBC Universal, Inc. (NBC) and the Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. (Royal Caribbean) for use in all media now known or hereafter devised and will not be acknowledged or returned.  Limit one nomination per household.  Multiple nominations received from any household will void all such additional entries.  Nominations that are incomplete, illegible, postage due or corrupted are void and will not be accepted. All nominations must be received by 5:00 PM Eastern Time on Friday December 2,  2005, but please note that nominations will be reviewed and selected on a rolling basis as they are received.

ELIGIBILITY CRITERIA The Nominee must be a legal United States resident physically residing within the Continental United States, Alaska and Hawaii (residents of Puerto Rico and Guam are excluded from entry and participation) who are 25 years of age or older as of November 4, 2005.  Employees of NBC Universal, Inc., MSNBC Cable, LLC, and employees of Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. (“Sponsors”), their respective advertising and promotion agencies, their parent, subsidiary and joint venture companies, as well as members of their immediate families and households (including children, spouses and siblings and/or persons living in the same households as such persons (whether related or not)) are not eligible for consideration as Nominees. Nominees must also be of good moral character. TODAY and Royal Caribbean reserve the right to exclude anyone convicted of a crime (other than moving violations of a misdemeanor type that did not involve personal injury, drugs or alcohol).  Nominees must have nothing in their background that would be an embarrassment to NBC News, TODAY or Royal Caribbean, and Nominees may not be elected officials or currently running for any political office (local, state or federal). TODAY reserves the right to exclude Nominees for these or any other reasons, in TODAY’s sole editorial discretion. Prior to being considered a valid Nominee, the individual nominated must agree to undergo a background check conducted by Royal Caribbean and, if necessary, to sign waiver forms authorizing the release of personal and background information. 

Employees of TODAY and Royal Caribbean ("Judges") will review the qualifying Nominees and select up to five finalists (each a “Finalist”).  The selection and review process may occur by on a rolling basis as Essays are received, beginning on November 4, 2005, from eligible nominations received.  The judges will select in their sole discretion the Finalists based on the following criteria: 25% courage, 25% determination, 25% inspiration and 25% dedication.  Judging will be based on the Essays as well as optional telephone or personal interviews or other solicitations for more information that TODAY or Royal Caribbean may elect to conduct with some or all potential Finalists. In the event of a tie, judges will break the tie by selecting the tied entrant with the most creativity. Each Finalist may be required to submit to a background check.  All Finalists will be required as a condition of continued eligibility to complete and sign an Affidavit of Eligibility, Waiver of Liability, Publicity Release and a Godmother Participation Agreement (“Contest Documents”).  If for any reason any of the Finalists do not meet any of the above eligibility requirements or do not satisfactorily execute all of the Contest Documents, in either TODAY’S or Royal Caribbean’s sole discretion, the Judges may select an alternate Finalist based on the above judging criteria. The decisions of the Judges are final and Nominees must agree to be bound by these decisions. Nominees agree that TODAY may record and broadcast TODAY advising a Nominee that he or she has been selected as a Finalist, in TODAY’s sole discretion.

Each Finalist will be contacted during early January 2006 and each Finalist must agree to make themselves available to appear live on TODAY and to otherwise be available to be videotaped by TODAY, in their homes, or in the broadcast studio in New York (or in another location selected by TODAY in its sole discretion), on dates selected by TODAY (anticipated to be mid January 2006 Each Finalist must agree to keep in strictest confidence and not to disclose to any person, including other entrants, family members, or any other third party, any information whatsoever concerning the fact that they are potential finalists. 

Material about each Finalist selected in TODAY and Royal Caribbean’s sole discretion will be posted at the TODAY Web Site at Viewers will then be asked to visit the TODAY Web Site at and vote for the finalist they most want to win. Each viewer may vote only once.  Multiple entries from any email address will be voided. 

The Finalist who receives the most votes by the date and time specified on the website will be announced on TODAY during TODAY’s Olympics coverage currently scheduled for February 2006, but which is subject to change as necessary by TODAY.  The Finalist may, in the sole discretion of TODAY, appear on the TODAY show on that date, and may, in TODAY’s discretion, be announced live during the broadcast of the show. If there is a tie (if two Finalists receive an equal number of votes by viewers), the Finalist will be selected based on a final interview by the Judges, and will be in the sole discretion of TODAY and Royal Caribbean.  If winner is disqualified or otherwise unable to fulfill the requirements asked of them, Sponsors reserve the right to pick an alternate winner from among the remaining Finalists, selected by TODAY and Royal Caribbean in their sole discretion.

The Winner will receive from Royal Caribbean one cruise (each a “Cruise”) for Winner per year for the life of the Winner, subject to the following terms and conditions. Each Cruise will provide the Winner and up to one guest with a single double occupancy stateroom on a Royal Caribbean International 12-night or shorter cruise. Subject to availability, the Winner will be free to choose from any Category OS* (or the equivalent) or lower staterooms.

The Winner and guest all must have valid travel documents (such as a Passport). Each Cruise includes ship accommodations as described above, ocean transportation, most meals, some beverages, and most entertainment aboard the vessel.   Each Cruise does not include any air transportation, transfers to the port of embarkation or from the port of disembarkation, nor any items of a personal nature (including, but not limited to, shore excursions, gratuities, some beverages, photographs, service fees and medical services); these expenses are the sole responsibility of the winner. Each Cruise also does not include meals or beverages for which an extra charge is assessed, such as specialty restaurants or liquor or sodas. 

The Winner will receive his or her first Cruise on or about June 1, 2006. Thereafter, each Cruise shall become available to the Winner as of January 1 of each calendar year during the life of the Winner.  Each Cruise must be booked at least thirty days prior to sailing and sailing must commence during the calendar year in which the Cruise becomes available to the Winner.  Holiday and inaugural sailings cannot be booked as the Cruise. No Cruise may be given, transferred, bartered, sold, or exchanged for cash or another prize, except at Royal Caribbean’s sole discretion.  No Cruise may be upgraded except at Royal Caribbean’s sole discretion. The Winner and guest must meet Royal Caribbean’s applicable age requirements in effect at the time of the Cruise is booked. As of August 1, 2005, Royal Caribbean’s age requirements include the following: no individual (that is, prize winner or guest) under 21 will be booked in a cabin unless accompanied by an adult 21 years or older, except for married couples under 21 years old.  All guests under the age of 18 must be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian.  Other restrictions may apply. If only one person sails, the Winner will not receive compensation for the difference in value from the stated approximate retail value of such prize.  Each Cruise shall be subject to Royal Caribbean’s then current rules and regulations, including but not limited to, age restrictions and the obligation to sign the passenger cruise ticket contract. The prizes shall be non-transferable and shall have no cash value.

The normal taxes and fees charged by Royal Caribbean to fare paying guests for the stateroom booked by the Winner shall be borne by Royal Caribbean. In addition, Royal Caribbean will pay to Winner a specific amount designed to cover Winner's actual federal, state and local income taxes due and paid on the value of the Cruise based on the Winner's effective income tax rate.  No reimbursement for foreign taxes will be made.  That specific amount will be calculated in accordance with a tax gross up formula specified by Royal Caribbean. That formula may be adjusted, at Royal Caribbean's discretion, to account for changes in tax laws. A request for reimbursement must be made to the Cruise Line by April 30th of the year following the year in which the associated Cruise was taken.  All remaining taxes and other expenses and incidentals not specified herein are the sole responsibility of the winner. Royal Caribbean reserves the right to substitute elements thereof with a prize of equal or greater value at its sole discretion.

Acceptance of prize constitutes permission (except where prohibited) to use Winner’s name, hometown and likeness for purposes of advertising, promotion and publicity without additional compensation.  In the event that any prize component is unavailable for any reason, the remaining elements of the prize shall constitute full satisfaction of Sponsors’ obligation to Winner and no additional compensation will be awarded. 

If Winner is unreachable, or if prize notification is undeliverable, or in the event of non-compliance with any of these requirements, the prize will be forfeited, and an alternate winner may be selected at random from the remaining eligible entries.

TODAY and Royal Caribbean further reserve the right to postpone or cancel the broadcast of the appearance for any reason, in the sole discretion of TODAY. The winner shall be responsible for applicable taxes or other expenses not outlined in the description of the prize. 

1. By nominating yourself, you agree to participate in telephone interviews with TODAY, to appear on the TODAY show or be filmed and photographed for the initial Finalist introduction, to perform the tasks as directed by TODAY, to permit a film crew to shoot footage of you and your home, and to travel to New York and make yourself available to appear on TODAY at TODAY’s direction. If you are nominating another, that person must also agree to the terms of the preceding sentence.

2. By nominating yourself, you also agree that if selected as the Winner, you will make yourself available, at no additional compensation, for the following:

a. For at least two (2) days of media training prior to May 12, 2006;b. For a possible week-long trip to Europe for Freedom of the Seas events prior to May 12, 2006;c. From May 11 to May 15, 2006 in New York City for a sailing of the Freedom of the Seas;d. Public and other appearances as provided in the Godmother Participation Agreement.e. Use of your name, likeness, voice and other information in marketing/advertising/promotional materials of Royal Caribbean.f. For a TODAY show appearance, tentatively scheduled in mid-February 2006, for announcement of the Winner, which may be canceled in TODAY’s sole discretion.

If you are nominating another, that person must also agree to participate in the foregoing appearances, be subject to the “General Terms and Conditions” as well as the terms of these Official Rules.

3. By nominating yourself, your nomination constitutes permission (except where prohibited by law) to use your Essay, name, city, state, likeness, appearance and voice on TODAY for purposes of advertising, promotion and publicity without additional compensation. If you are nominating another, that person must also agree to the terms of the preceding sentence.

4. Except where prohibited, all issues and questions concerning the construction, validity, interpretation and enforceability of these Official Rules, or the rights and obligations of the entrant and NBC in connection with the Sweepstakes, shall be governed by, and construed in accordance with, the laws of the state of New York, without giving effect to any choice of law or conflict of law rules (whether of the state of New York, or any other jurisdiction), which would cause the application of the laws of any jurisdiction other than the state of New York.  If any controversy or claim arising out of or relating to the Official Rules, or the breach of any term hereof, cannot be otherwise resolved, it shall be resolved by binding arbitration conducted in the County of New York, and administered by JAMS in accordance with its Streamlined Arbitration Rules and Procedures or subsequent versions thereof (the “JAMS Rules”).  The JAMS Rules for selection of an arbitrator shall be followed, except that the arbitrator shall be an experienced arbitrator licensed to practice law in New York. 

All Nominees assume all liability for any injury or damages caused or claimed to be caused by their participation in this contest. All Nominees release NBC Universal, Inc. and Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. and their respective advertising and promotion agencies, their parents, subsidiaries and joint venture companies, as well as their respective officers, directors, and employees, from any such liability. 

Sponsors, or their respective advertising and promotion agencies, their parent, subsidiary and joint venture companies, as well as their respective officers, directors, and employees assume no responsibility for any injury (including but not limited to any personal injury that may occur while on NBC premises or during tasks performed in connection with this contest), damage or losses of any kind to any entrant, or to any entrant’s or other person’s computer, relating to or resulting from participating in this contest, including downloading materials or software.   Neither the Sponsors nor their respective advertising and promotion agencies, their parent, subsidiary and joint venture companies, as well as their respective officers, directors, and employees are not responsible for technical, hardware, software, or telephone malfunctions of any kind, lost or unavailable network connections, or failed incorrect, incomplete, inaccurate, garbled or delayed electronic communications caused by the user or by any of the equipment or programming associated with or utilized in this event or by any human error which may occur in the processing of the entries in this event.  If for any reason the Competition is not capable of running as originally planned, or if the Competition or if infection by a computer (or similar) virus, bugs, tampering, unauthorized intervention, actions by entrants, fraud, technical failures, or any other causes, in the sole opinion of Sponsors corrupts or affects the administration, security, fairness, integrity or proper conduct of the Competition, Sponsors reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to disqualify any individual implicated in such action and/or to cancel, terminate, extend, modify or suspend the Competition, and select the Winner from all eligible entries received.

NBC and MSNBC Cable, LLC and Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. are not responsible for errors or failures of any kind, for inaccurate transcription of entry information, for errors in any promotional or marketing materials, for errors in these rules, for any human or electronic error, or for entries that are stolen, misdirected, garbled, delayed by computer transmissions, lost, late, damaged, or postage due.

TODAY and Royal Caribbean reserve the right to terminate the entry period prior to its scheduled end date and to choose among entries received prior to the date of such termination.

Nominees and the person who nominated them both agree to be bound by these Official Rules and by the decisions of the judges whose decisions are final. Failure to comply with these rules may result in disqualification from this contest. NBC reserves the right to permanently disqualify any person it believes has intentionally violated these rules.

No purchase necessary. Void where prohibited or restricted by applicable federal or state laws and regulations.

*Category A originally stated in rules no longer exists. Category OS is its current equivalent.