Saga gears up for Freedom Day ship naming

The delayed naming of Saga Cruises new ship Spirit of Adventure is to take place on ‘Freedom Day’.

The vessel was handed over by the shipbuilder in September 2020 and was due to take to the waters last year but has remained anchored due to the pandemic.

The christening at 1pm on July 19 comes ahead of a maiden cruise on July 26. The ceremony will be available to view via Saga’s Facebook pages and on YouTube.

The new 999-passenger ship will be the first to be named at Portsmouth following the city’s investment in the extension of the port’s main cruise berth, which enables it to manage larger ships.

Recently retired head of the Royal Navy Medical Service, Commodore Inga Kennedy, will name the ship in recognition of the service given by medical professionals during the pandemic.

The inaugural cruise on July 26 from Tilbury will take in Newcastle, Belfast, Isle of Man, Liverpool, Holyhead, Bristol, Lundy Island, the north Cornwall coast, Isles of Scilly and Falmouth.

Saga Travel chief executive Nick Stace 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.”

He added: “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.”

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