The sun was shining and the champagne was flowing - I can imagine the confusion amongst the patrons dining at Chinook's Restaurant. Right outside their windows, festive music was playing on the loud speakers, a crowd was gathering, and crew dressed in matching blue shirts were gathering on the bridge decks of two shining vessels parked side-by-side. On Friday, May 18, 2012 the Safari Endeavour and Wilderness Explorer were christened and welcomed into the UN-CRUISE fleet.
InnerSea Discoveries' CEO and Principal (and Captain) Dan Blanchard lead the festivities with a Tlingit drum beat. Dan has a certain way of presenting that can bring anyone to tears. Even my dad, standing behind me, was sniffling.
Tearing up, Dan presented Safari Endeavour captain Jill Russell (in below image right), and Wilderness Explorer Captain Marce Branniff (in below image left), each with a four-foot evergreen branch symbolizing dry land and a safe return home. “I ask that this be symbolic of us handing the keys over to you and giving you the responsibility. Bring these boats and our crew back safe.”
Longtime InnerSea & American Safari Sales Counselor Linda Reist christened the Wilderness Explorer. She had just returned from the Safari Explorer's last Hawaii departure. Needless to say, the amazing memories were fresh in her mind. "Every employee & every aspect of our company plays an integral part in making our cruises so amazing. The energy & enthusiasm of our Captain & crew on all our vessels make our trips so phenomenal.“ Linda doesn’t even like her birthday to be recognized because she doesn’t like the attention, however she graciously accepted the honor and did an excellent job.
Margret Propper, a travel agent at Brownell Travel in Birmingham, Alabama christened the Safari Endeavour. She's also now the godmother of the UN-CRUISE. She was a hoot to get to know in the days before and after the christening. Since she spent a little more time in town before the event, she actually offered to help answer phones in our sales office. Although we told her that wasn't necessary, it's obvious why she's such a successful travel agent - she has a great sense of humor and is fun to be around.
The ceremony concluded with cocktails and appetizers in the lounge on the Safari Endeavour. Everyone was still on a high from such a great event. If you didn't make it to this one, make sure you make it to the next...probably around this time next year for the Safari Legacy. Stay tuned!
Margret Propper (left) and Linda Reist (right) christening the boats
Images by David Julian