8 JULY 2019
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A Royal naming.
On a glorious day last Friday (4 July), Camilla Duchess of Cornwall named the first of two Saga plc cruise ships, Spirit of Discovery, at its spiritual home at Dover Port. Both will have London painted on the stern and fly the Red Ensign.
Constructed at Meyer Werft shipyard in Papenburg (Germany), each ship can host up to 999 guests, supported by 533 crew members. Spirit of Discovery is 58,250 gross tons, making her very much into the boutique class.
The duchess joined more than 500 guests, in true British style, at what is thought to be the first ever garden party on a quayside. Grass grown in Yorkshire adorned the harbour, surrounded by traditional bunting and table settings, stunning foliage, florals, trees and parasols, plus an ample supply of superb ship’s catering.
During the official naming ceremony, the duchess and guests were entertained by the Band of Her Majesty's Royal Marines Collingwood and the Morriston Orpheus Choir. The ship was blessed by the Right Reverend Trevor Willmott, Bishop of Dover.
Saga Travel chief executive Robin Shaw said: “This is an immensely proud moment for Saga. We firmly believe that Spirit of Discovery creates a new British quality standard in the cruising market and we can’t wait to welcome guests on board.” He praised the choir for an unofficial rendering of Men of Harlech after dinner on board the previous night – 71 voices: “Wonderful!”
Camilla formally named Spirit of Discovery with a jeroboam of the specially-blended Hush Heath English sparkling wine, before an eco-confetti cannon fired across the proceedings.
The duchess is the patron of the charity the Silver Line, which provides a 24hr telephone service for older people who are feeling lonely or isolated, and is Saga’s first national charity partner.
During her speech she said of The Silver Line: “Since its launch in 2013, it has received more than 2m calls – and the support of Saga will ensure that its vital work can continue.” Dame Esther Rantzen, founder of Silver Line, was among the VIP guests.
See also JULY CRUISE NEWS I July 2019
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