Hurtigruten to hold Antarctic ceremony

Christened by ice

MS Roald Amundsen

Photo courtesy of Hurtigruten
In honor of its namesake, the MS Roald Amundsen will make history with the first ever naming ceremony held in Antarctica.

Seattle, Wash.

Hurtigruten, the world leader in exploration travel, will christen the world’s first hybrid electric–powered expedition cruise ship this fall in Antarctica.

MS Roald Amundsen was named after the polar hero who led the first expedition to cross the Northwest Passage, the first expedition to the South Pole, and the first expedition proved to have reached the North Pole. The ship’s naming ceremony is set to honor his legacy with a ritual invented by Amundsen.

“We can think of no better place to name the truly unique MS Roald Amundsen than the waters of Antarctica, where no ship has ever been christened before,” Hurtigruten CEO Daniel Skjeldam says.

When christening his famed expedition ship Maud in 1917, Roald Amundsen switched from using the traditional bottle of champagne to a chunk of ice. Before crushing the ice against its bow, he said:

“It is not my intention to dishonor the glorious grape, but already now you shall get the taste of your real environment. For the ice you have been built, and in the ice, you shall stay most of your life, and in the ice, you shall solve your tasks.”

Hurtigruten, and the yet-to-be disclosed godmother, will use the same ritual when christening MS Roald Amundsen.

“To honor Roald Amundsen and his explorer heritage, we will revive his ritual. With over 125 years of polar experience, Hurtigruten will use the first-ever ship naming ceremony in Antarctica to pay our respects to the oceans, environment, and past and present explorers,” Skjeldam said.

MS Roald Amundsen made maritime history by being the first cruise ship in the world to sail purely on battery power, as it left Kleven Yard for its first voyage off the coast of Norway in late June. Designed for exploring some of the most spectacular waters of the planet, MS Roald Amundsen features groundbreaking green technology. The hybrid electric–powered expedition cruise ship uses battery packs to support its low-emission engines and will reduce CO2 emissions by more than 20%, compared with other cruise ships of the same size.

“This opens a new chapter in maritime history. MS Roald Amundsen is the first cruise ship equipped with batteries, something deemed impossible just a few years back. With the introduction of MS Roald Amundsen, Hurtigruten sets a new standard not only for cruising, but for the entire shipping industry to follow,” said Skjeldam.

MS Roald Amundsen’s first season includes expedition cruises along the Norwegian coast and up to Svalbard and Greenland, before becoming the first hybrid electric-powered expedition ship to attempt a traverse of the legendary Northwest Passage, following in the wake of the namesake explorer Roald Amundsen’s famed journey.

In addition to eco-friendly expedition cruises along the west coast of North and South America—with destinations larger cruise ships cannot reach—MS Roald Amundsen will head to the extreme south for a full 2019-2020 Antarctic season.

This article originally appeared in the July 26, 2019, issue of The Norwegian American.

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The Norwegian American

The Norwegian American is North America's oldest and only Norwegian newspaper, published since May 17, 1889.