New Saga river cruise ships Spirit of the Danube and Spirit of the Rhine will be officially named by broadcaster Dame Jenni Murray in a ceremony in the Netherlands on 19 March.
In line with naval tradition, a blessing will be offered for safe sailing and good fortune and will be marked with the smashing of a bottle on the ships’ hulls. Murray will then be given a tour of both ships.
Spirit of the Danube’s planned introduction to the fleet was announced in February 2021 and it has since been under construction at the Vahali shipyards in Serbia and the Netherlands.
Spirit of the Rhine, meanwhile, embarked on its inaugural cruise of the Moselle Valley in September 2021.
Each vessel has four passenger decks and 91 cabins, hosting up to 182 guests and up to 50 crew.
The ‘perfect’ Saga godmother
Saga Cruises CEO Nigel Blanks said: “After the delays as a result of the pandemic, we’re delighted to formally name both ships.
“To see them side-by-side, after a challenging couple of years for the industry, it’s fantastic to reach this milestone, welcome two such stellar ships to our fleet, and enjoy the return to cruising Europe’s iconic waterways.
“Following her extensive broadcasting career, including the fantastic BBC’s Woman’s Hour, Dame Jenni Murray is a perfect godmother for Spirit of the Danube and Spirit of the Rhine.
“We already know that she is a firm favourite with our customers given her regular column in Saga Magazine, and we are honoured to have her involved.”
Dame Jenni Murray added: “I am delighted to be involved in the naming ceremony of Spirit of the Rhine and Spirit of the Danube.
“As a keen cruiser myself it is an honour to be involved in this maritime tradition. I wish all who sail on these ships a wonderful time.”
Spirit of the Danube will embark on its seven-day Dutch and Belgian Waterways inaugural cruise on 21 March, before Spirit of the Rhine embarks on its next cruise, Keukenhof and Dutch Delights, again for seven nights.