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.

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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

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

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 inspiring action and engaging a local dialogue on climate change and made history as the first women team to overwinter in remote Arctic Svalbard.

Discover more about MS Fridtjof Nansen