WORLD FIRST: MS Roald Amundsen christened in Antarctica

Naming ceremony for hybrid-powered expedition ship in Chiriguano Bay

Hurtigruten’s hybrid-powered expedition cruise ship MS Roald Amundsen has made history, becoming the first ship ever named in Antarctica.

“We could not think of a better location than Antarctica to name a truly unique ship like MS Roald Amundsen,” Hurtigruten CEO Daniel Skjeldam said.

With crew and guests from more than 20 countries taking part in the world’s first hybrid powered cruise ship’s maiden Antarctica voyage, MS Roald Amundsen was officially named in spectacular surroundings in Chiriguano Bay, Brabant Island, Antarctica on Thursday 7 November at 10am local time.

Roald Amundsen at Chiriguano Bay, Brabant Island, Antarctica for her christening | Image credidt: Shayne McGuire

Scrapping the traditional bottle of champagne with a chunk of ice, godmother and polar pioneer Karin Strand revived a ritual invented by polar hero Roald Amundsen himself.

As Strand crushed the ice against the hybrid powered ship’s raked bow, she chose Amundsen’s own words, first used when he christened the polar ship Maud in 1917:

“It is not my intention to dishonour 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.”

First ship in history named in Antarctica

“For all of us on board MS Roald Amundsen this is a very special day for a very special ship. 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,” said Captain Kai Albrigtsen.

Packed with groundbreaking green technology, MS Roald Amundsen uses large battery packs to support her low-emission engines, reducing CO2 emissions by more than 20% compared to other cruise ships of the same size.

“I am truly honoured to share a historical moment like this with likeminded explorers and colleagues, dedicated to exploring our oceans in a more sustainable way,” Godmother Karin Strand said.

Karin Strand at the naming ceremony | Image credit: Kim Rørmark

Creating history

As the guests of MS Roald Amundsen followed the naming ceremony from inflatable explorer boats, they were joined by guests and crew on board Hurtigruten’s MS Midnatsol – currently on an expedition cruise exploring Antarctica.

“I believe Roald Amundsen would be proud. With the ship carrying his name and legacy, Hurtigruten is pushing borders, challenging the industry, and keep 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,” commentd Hurtigruten CEO Daniel Skjeldam.

Roald Amundsen naming ceremony | Image credit: Andrea Klaussner

During the ceremony, Skjeldam revealed that Karin Strand had asked for the traditional godmother gift to be replaced by a donation to Hurtigruten Foundation, a foundation specially set up to contribute to areas Hurtigruten explores.

“We want to use this first ever Antarctica naming ceremony to pay our respects to our oceans, the environment and past and present explorers,” Skjeldam added.

In the wake of great explorers

Polar hero Roald Amundsen led the first expedition to traverse the Northwest Passage, the first expedition to the south pole, the first expedition proven to have reached the North Pole and created a legacy as one of the greatest explorers of all times.

Captain Kai Albrigtsen, watched on by Godmother Karin Strand; Hurtigruten CEO Daniel Skjeldam and passengers aboard Hurtigruten’s MS Midnatsol | Image credit: Kim Rørmark

This summer, MS Roald Amundsen made history as the first cruise ship to sail on battery power and became the first hybrid-powered ship to traverse the Northwest Passage.

After completing the 2019/2020 Antarctica season, MS Roald Amundsen will spend the summer of 2020 in Alaska.

A second battery hybrid-powered expedition cruise ship – MS Fridtjof Nansen – will join the growing Hurtigruten fleet next spring. She is currently under construction at Norway’s Kleven Yard and is expected to be delivered well ahead of her April 2020 debut.

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