Saga’s new boutique cruise ship Spirit of Adventure has become the first-ever ship to be named at Portsmouth International Port.
The luxurious cruise ship was named with a traditional bottle smashing ceremony by Commodore Inga J Kennedy, the recently retired head of the Royal Navy Medical Service.
The blessing took place ahead of its inaugural round-Britain voyage on July 26 from Tilbury.
The ship was due to take to the waters last year after being handed over by the shipbuilder in September 2020, but it remained anchored due to Covid-19.
Nick Stace, Saga’s CEO of Travel, said: “Today has been a long time coming for everyone, so it feels symbolic that the naming of our brand-new cruise ship, ‘Spirit of Adventure’ will be part of such an historic day for the UK.
“Those who love to travel have waited patiently for it to resume, and what better way to mark a return to the freedom that travel gives us than with the launch of a new cruise ship.”
The bottle – a jeroboam of English sparkling wine from Balfour Hush Heath Estate – was smashed against the hull of the ship to offer a blessing of safe sailing and good fortune.
Kennedy was chosen to be the ship’s godmother in recognition of the countless hours of service given by medical professionals during the pandemic.
Stace said: “We felt it was important to recognise the outstanding work the medical profession has undertaken during the pandemic and wanted to pay our respects the best way we knew how. Commodore Kennedy has served in the Navy for 20 years and within healthcare for 40 years, so we felt she was the perfect choice for the role and we’re honoured that she accepted.”
The ceremony ended with Britain’s Got Talent winner Paul Potts singing the national anthem.
Spirit of Adventure has 10 passenger decks with 554 all-balcony cabins and a maximum capacity of 999 people.
The ship features five restaurants, including The Main Dining Room, The Grill, The Supper Club, Amalfi and Khukuri – the only Nepalese dining spot on the High Seas.
All restaurants are complementary to dine in. Facilities include an observation deck, full wraparound promenade and terrace, a lido, sports court and deck games.
There’s also a 444-seat theatre, a library and a spa with hydrotherapy pool, sauna, steam and treatment rooms.
Stace said: “Every aspect has been designed with our guests in mind, from the bold colours and the wrap-around promenade through to the numerous restaurants and entertainment facilities.
“Every cabin has its own private balcony with uninterrupted sea views and everything from the chauffeur service to meals and wi-fi are included in the price.”
All guests need be fully vaccinated to travel with Saga Cruises.