Oprah Winfrey christens Nieuw Statendam at Port Everglades

Oprah Winfrey christens Nieuw Statendam at Port Everglades
Oprah joins the ship's captain and Holland America's Orlando Ashford to christen Nieuw Statendam (Image:Holland America Line)

Holland America Line officially welcomed Nieuw Statendam to its fleet with the help of Oprah Winfrey – philanthropist, actress, TV presenter, and founder and editorial director of O, The Oprah Magazine – during a ceremony at Port Everglades, Florida on 2 February.

Serving as godmother, Winfrey officially christened Nieuw Statendam during a ceremony held in her onboard theatre, World Stage. In accordance with maritime tradition, Winfrey blessed the ship, her crew and future guests, before triggering the release of a bottle of champagne which broke against the ship’s hull.

Winfrey was joined on stage by Orlando Ashford, president of Holland America Line; Stein Kruse, president of Holland America Group and CEO of Carnival UK; and Arnold Donald, president and CEO of Carnival Corporation.

“We are deeply honored 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,” said Ashford. “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.”

Ashford also highlighted the connection between Nieuw Statendam and the legacy of her name. “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.”

Following the ceremony, Holland America held a gala dinner where guests were invited to bless the ship by pouring champagne over the ship’s bell. This was designed to recreate the bell ceremony that took place onboard Holland America’s Statendam IV on 23 January 1957, when the then Dutch Crown Princess Beatrix poured champagne over the bell to officially dedicate the ship.

Nieuw Statendam’s inauguration ceremony took place after a three-day ‘Girls’ Getaway’ cruise to the Caribbean, which “celebrated the power of female relationships”. Winfrey and her best friend Gayle King, who is also editor-at-large of O, The Oprah Magazine, joined the cruise alongside several other senior editors from the magazine.

“It’s been an incredible experience to see people from across the world come together with one mind and celebrate themselves, honour themselves and honour each other,” said Winfrey. “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.”

Delivered by Fincantieri on 30 November 2018, the 2,666-guest Nieuw Statendam features interiors by hospitality designer Adam D. Tihany and Bjørn Storbraaten and is the second in the Pinnacle Class.

The vessel is part-way through sailing a series of inaugural cruises from Port Everglades to the Caribbean. In April, the vessel will operate a transatlantic crossing and begin a summer season from her new homeport in Amsterdam, Netherlands. Roundtrips from Amsterdam will take guests to destinations in Norway, the Baltic and Iceland. Following this, Nieuw Statendam will spend autumn offering roundtrips from Civitavecchia (Rome), Italy.

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Rebecca Gibson
By Rebecca Gibson
Tuesday, February 5, 2019