Seabourn Pursuit ship named in Kimberley by Wunambal Gaambera Traditional Owners

   July 1, 2024 ,   Cruise Industry

Seabourn, renowned for ultra-luxury voyages and expedition travel, named its latest vessel, Seabourn Pursuit, in a historic ceremony at Ngula Jar Island, Australia, on June 29, 2024. In a first-of-its-kind event, the Wunambal Gaambera Traditional Owners named the ship. Guests attended the ceremony aboard Zodiacs, while the onboard team lined the decks. The ceremony honored the Wunambal Gaambera Country and people, and guests immersed themselves in Aboriginal culture and history throughout the day.

The event began with a traditional Wunambal Gaambera welcome and smoking ceremony, "jimɨrri," ensuring the spirits of the ancestors would not follow the visitors. This was followed by the "Junba," a traditional story-telling song and dance, performed by Wunambal Gaambera Traditional Owners. Guests also explored ancient rock art sites and learned about the area's cultural heritage. Artworks by local artists were on display and available for purchase.

Seabourn and the Wunambal Gaambera Traditional Owners exchanged gifts to celebrate their new relationship. Seabourn guests Vince and Jane Roig, who have sailed on every Seabourn inaugural voyage, presented art supplies to the Traditional Owners as a token of appreciation.

The naming ceremony, conducted in Wunambal Gaambera language and English, concluded with blessings for Seabourn Pursuit. A bottle made from sugar and coated with sand from Ngula Jar Island was broken on the ship's bow, adhering to maritime tradition.

Seabourn President Natalya Leahy expressed excitement about the special relationship with the Wunambal Gaambera Traditional Owners, whose rich cultural history and sustainable tourism initiatives make them ideal godparents for Seabourn Pursuit. The Kimberley region, chosen for the ceremony, symbolizes the ship's mission and allows Seabourn to invest in sustainable tourism. Seabourn is making a donation to support the Wunambal Gaambera in developing a self-sustaining industry producing authentic art and craft.

Seabourn plans to collaborate with the Wunambal Gaambera through the Uunguu Experience, offering welcome and smoking ceremonies, rock art tours, junba song and dance, and stories from Uunguu Rangers. Seabourn's monetary contribution, along with funding from Tourism Western Australia, will aid in developing tourism facilities and products, enabling Traditional Owners to live on their land during the dry season.

Ngula Jar Island will be featured on all Seabourn's Kimberley itineraries, ensuring consistent visitation to Wunambal Gaambera Country. Seabourn Pursuit, built to PC6 Polar Class standards, offers luxurious small-ship experiences with modern equipment for a wide range of expedition activities. The ship features ~30,000 square feet (2,787 m2) of deck space, 270-degree views, and a 4K GSS Cineflex Camera for broadcasting imagery on monitors throughout the ship and in guest suites.