Hurtigruten’s Roald Amundsen becomes first ship named in Antarctica

Instead of Champaigne, a chunk of ice was smashed on the hull of Roald Amundsen, emulating its namesake's christening of the polar ship Maud in 1917 PHOTO: Shayne McGuire

Hurtigruten’s hybrid battery-powered Roald Amundsen became the first ship named in Antarctica, in spectacular surroundings on Thursday morning.

Instead of Champagne, a chunk of ice

With crew and passengers from more than 20 countries on the ship’s maiden Antarctica voyage, Roald Amundsen was named by polar pioneer Karin Strand in Chiriguano Bay, Brabant Island.

Instead of the traditional Champagne, she used a chunk of ice, a ritual invented by polar hero Roald Amundsen himself.

Quoting Amundsen

As Strand crushed the ice against the raked bow, 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.’

‘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,’ Capt. Kai Albrigtsen said.

Reducing CO2 emissions

Roald Amundsen uses large battery packs to support its low-emission engines, reducing CO2 emissions by more than 20% compared to other cruise ships of the same size.

As Roald Amundsen passengers followed the naming ceremony from Zodiacs, they were joined by passengers and crew from Hurtigruten’s 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 pushing towards a greener and more sustainable operation,’ Hurtigruten CEO Daniel Skjeldam said. ‘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.’

Posted 7 November 2019

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Anne Kalosh

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Editor, Seatrade Cruise News & Senior Associate Editor, Seatrade Cruise Review Anne Kalosh covers global stories, reporting both breaking and in-depth news on cruising's significant people, places, ships and trends. A sought-after expert on cruising, she has moderated conferences around the world, including the high-profile State of the Industry panel at Seatrade Cruise Global. She created and led the acclaimed itinerary-planning case study for Seatrade's cruise master classes held at Cambridge and Oxford universities. She is the cruise columnist for, and her freelance stories have appeared in a wide range of publications, from The New York Times to The Miami Herald.

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