On Saturday, March 19, the two newest riverboats of Saga Cruises UK - the sisterships Spirit of the Danube and Spirit of the Rhine, will be officially named by Godmother Dame Jennifer Susan Murray (Jenni Murray) in an official joint ceremony in Arnhem (Netherlands).
The planned introduction of Saga's Spirit of the Danube was announced back in February 2021 and the vessel has since been under construction at the Vahali shipyards (Serbia) and The Netherlands (outfitting). Following the christening ceremony, the vessel will embark on her inaugural voyage along the Belgian and Dutch waterways.
Due to the COVID crisis, Spirit of the Rhine embarked on her inaugural voyage of the Moselle Valley in September 2021. This Saturday will represent the first chance for the traditional naming ceremony for both sisterships to take place.
With designs especially inspired by the nature and culture along the iconic waterways, both new riverboats have been built with passengers central to their design. Each riverboat has 4 passenger decks and 91 staterooms, and max capacity of 182 passengers and 50 crew.
The ceremony is to be held on Saturday afternoon in Arnhem. In line with naval tradition, a special blessing will be offered for safe sailing and good fortune, marked with the smashing of a bottle on the hulls of the ships - completed by Godmother, Dame Jenni Murray, who will be given a tour of the ships and their distinct features.
Dame Jennifer Susan Murray/Jenni Murray (1950-born) is an English journalist, broadcaster and author. She was appointed OBE (Officer of the Order of the British Empire) in 1999, and DBE (Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire) in 2011. Both are British orders of chivalry rewarding contributions to arts, sciences, charitable and welfare works, and public service outside the military. Jenni Murray is best known as the presenter/host of BBC Radio 4's 60-minute program "Woman's Hour" (health-education-culture-politics-themed topics aimed at women) in the period 1987-2020.
After the naming ceremony, Spirit of the Danube is due to embark on the 7-day "Dutch & Belgian Waterways" Maiden Voyage (March 21), before Spirit of the Rhine embarks on her next 7-night "Keukenhof & Dutch Delights" itinerary.