Queens Wharf, Auckland: Day One – Have you ever attended an inauguration ceremony?

It’s one of the most exciting moments in a ship’s history.

It marks the end of years of planning and the beginning of a new era, which all starts the moment that champagne bottle cracks on the ship’s bow.

Some lines celebrate a ship’s inauguration by inviting celebrities to perform for thousands of viewers. Others try to squeeze as many ship christenings as they can into one day.

But for us, yesterday’s ceremony was about ensuring our guests felt a part of the history making moment when Australia’s favourite adventure ship, the Orion officially became the National Geographic Orion.

Held at the Queens Wharf, Auckland, myself, the ship’s captain Mike Taylor, expedition leader Tim Soper and famous diver Valerie Taylor were on the bow of the ship, as our 102 first guests watched on the quayside.

Valerie announced the name of the ship and said ‘god bless her and all that sail in her’ before smashing the champagne bottle on the bow.

Seeing our guests breakout into a loud applause was a thrilling moment, which was made even more exciting when Glen, our on board musician, started playing the National Geographic theme music.

We then joined our guests for a toast, before embarking on the ship for her inaugural voyage to the Solomon Islands.

Click here for day two of the ship’s inaugural journey as we explore our first stop – Russell in the Bay of Islands.

Otherwise, click here to see more images from yesterday’s inauguration.

WORDS: Jeremy Lindblad