MS Roald Amundsen docked in Antarctica for the boat naming ceremony.

Why do ships have godmothers?

A new ship is only official when it has been christened, typically by its Godmother and sometimes a Godfather. Learn more about the history of the naming ceremonies and meet some of our own inspiring godmothers.

What is a ship godmother?

A ship godmother is a civilian (typically a woman) who is invited to sponsor a new ship. They usually include royalty and celebrities. It’s believed that feminine energy brings good luck and protection for future sailings.

What’s the history of godmothers?

Superstition, religion, and rituals have long been ancient naval traditions. As long as there have been ships, there have been blessing ceremonies. Dating back thousands of years, the Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans all blessed their ships to keep the seaman safe during their voyages. Today’s naming ceremonies typically involve the godmother cracking a bottle of champagne against the ship’s bow to bring good luck.

What are the duties of being a ship godmother?

  • They will lend their good name to the vessel
  • They must attend the ship’s ceremonial ship launch and naming ceremony
  • They bless and officially name the ship
  • Originally, they would crack a bottle of champagne on the hull to bring good luck
Karin Strand celebrates with Hurtigruten CEO Daniel Skjeldam at the naming ceremony of MS Roald Amundsen in Antarctica
Karin Strand at the naming ceremony of MS Roald Amundsen in Antarctica.
Photo: Andrea Klaussner / Hurtigruten Group

Named in ice - with ice!

Ship: MS Roald Amundsen

Godmother: Karin Strand

Naming Ceremony: Antarctica, November 2019

The world’s first hybrid-powered expedition ship made history when it performed its naming ceremony in Antarctica – the first ship ever named in Antarctica. Not only that, but it also replaced the traditional bottle of champagne with a chunk of ice.

The ship’s godmother, Karin Strand has a passion for exploration, the oceans, and the communities we visit, as well as an ongoing will to innovate – making her the perfect choice for this remarkable ship.

Discover more about MS Roald Amundsen Discover more about MS Roald Amundsen
Karin Strand celebrates with Hurtigruten CEO Daniel Skjeldam at the naming ceremony of MS Roald Amundsen in Antarctica
Karin Strand at the naming ceremony of MS Roald Amundsen in Antarctica.
Photo: Andrea Klaussner / Hurtigruten Group
The godmothers Sunniva Sørby and Hilde Fålun Strøm in front of MS Fridtjof Nansen with Hurtigruten CEO Daniel Skjeldam and Asta Lass
Sunniva Sørby and Hilde Fålun Strøm in front of MS Fridtjof Nansen for the boat naming ceremony in Svalbard.
Photo: Hurtigruten Group

Named next to the North Pole

Ship: MS Fridtjof Nansen

Godmothers:  Sunniva Sørby and Hilde Fålun Strøm

Naming Ceremony: Svalbard, September 2021

Our second battery-hybrid powered ship MS Fridtjof Nansen made history with the most northernmost naming ceremony for a passenger ship – in spectacular Svalbard, the location where expedition cruising began in 1896.

Nansen was given not one, but two godmothers: Sunniva Sørby and Hilde Fålun Strøm. These incredible women dedicate their lives to inspire action and engage a local dialogue on climate change and made history as the first women team to overwinter in remote Arctic Svalbard.

Learn more about their inspiring work here.

Discover more about MS Fridtjof Nansen Discover more about MS Fridtjof Nansen
The godmothers Sunniva Sørby and Hilde Fålun Strøm in front of MS Fridtjof Nansen with Hurtigruten CEO Daniel Skjeldam and Asta Lass
Sunniva Sørby and Hilde Fålun Strøm in front of MS Fridtjof Nansen for the boat naming ceremony in Svalbard.
Photo: Hurtigruten Group

Our Destinations

Are you ready to explore? Take a read of our travel guides of Antarctica and Svalbard.

Our Destinations

Are you ready to explore? Take a read of our travel guides of Antarctica and Svalbard.

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Antarctica Travel Guide

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Svalbard Travel Guide