Oprah Winfrey officially named Holland America Line’s latest ship Nieuw Statendam at a glittering ceremony in Fort Lauderdale, Florida on Saturday.
The legendary broadcaster and actress dedicated the ship as its godmother with the traditional statement: “I name this ship Nieuw Statendam. May God bless her and all who sail on her.”
The ceremony concluded when Winfrey triggered the release of the traditional bottle of Champagne that broke against the ship’s bow.
Orlando Ashford, president of Holland America Line, said: “We are deeply honoured to have Oprah Winfrey serve as the godmother of our newest ship in a celebration of our shared belief that travel has the power to open minds, build connections and inspire shared humanity across cultures and people.
“Oprah’s magnetic energy and astounding ability to inspire others is admired around the world, and today was the perfect culmination of a memorable few days together on Nieuw Statendam and our ongoing partnership with O, The Oprah Magazine.”
Winfrey reflected on the Girls’ Getaway cruise that had just concluded on board Nieuw Statendam, saying “Everybody gathered, made friends and connected to people they didn’t know because they felt like they had met themselves on some level. I have never seen anything like it.”
During the ceremony, Ashford highlighted the connection between Nieuw Statendam, the legacy of the ship’s name and the stories of life-changing travel experiences for the officers and crew, travel professionals and guests, saying: “Nieuw Statendam represents our highest aspirations for connection and understanding in our world. She is a vessel for exploration and adventure across countries, languages, cultures and peoples, and — we hope — a source of joy for our guests for many years to come.”
The ceremony was a recreation of the bell ceremony on Holland America Line’s s.s. Statendam IV on January 23, 1957, when a then-18-year-old Dutch Crown Princess Beatrix poured Champagne over the bell to officially dedicate that new ship as it sailed in the North Sea.
Nieuw Statendam is the sixth ship in the company’s history to bear the name and the cruise line’s second Pinnacle-class vessel – the first was MS Koningsdam.
You can read a review of Nieuw Statendam here.