Hurtigruten’s Roald Amundsen
by Anne Kalosh.
All ship christenings are exciting and special. But that of Hurtigruten’s Roald Amundsen was also very unusual and historic.
On Nov. 7, the world’s first hybrid battery-powered cruise vessel was named in spectacular surroundings. Roald Amundsen became the first ship christened in Antarctica, in Chiriguano Bay, ringed by the snow-covered peaks of Brabant Island.
Passengers watched the naming ceremony from the water, in Zodiacs. They were joined by passengers and crew from another Hurtigruten ship, Midnatsol, also on an Antarctica expedition cruise.
Instead of Champagne, a Chunk of Ice
The godmother was Norway’s Karin Strand, 48, who has completed more than 140 expeditions to the White Continent, making her one of the most experienced explorers in adventure travel.
Instead of the traditional Champagne, she used a chunk of ice, a ritual invented by polar hero Roald Amundsen himself.
Standing in a Zodiac, Strand gave a rope tied to an upper overhang on the ship a mighty yank, sending the ice smashing against the hull.
She quoted Amundsen’s words when he christened the polar ship Maud in 1917: “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, in the ice you shall stay most of your life, and in the ice, you shall solve your tasks.”
The ship’s namesake is one of the greatest explorers of all time. Amundsen led the first expedition to traverse the Northwest Passage, the first expedition to the South Pole and the first expedition proven to have reached the North Pole.
Reduced Greenhouse Gas Emissions
“For all of us on board MS Roald Amundsen this is a very special day for a very special ship,” Capt. Kai Albrigtsen said. “She is the most innovative vessel to hit the waters in decades and we hope she will serve as an inspiration for others to follow.”
Roald Amundsen uses large battery packs to support its low-emission engines, reducing carbon-dioxide emissions by more than 20 percent compared to other cruise ships of the same size.
“I believe Roald Amundsen would be proud,” Hurtigruten CEO Daniel Skjeldam said at the festivities. “With the ship carrying his name and legacy, Hurtigruten is pushing borders, challenging the industry and pushing towards a greener and more sustainable operation. As Roald Amundsen was the symbol of a new era of exploration, MS Roald Amundsen is the symbol of a new era in the cruise industry.”
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