The Westerdam crossed the equator at 10:08 a.m. (one hour past GMT) and commemorated the special event with a “Crossing the Line” ceremony.
To a completely packed Lido aft deck, the Westerdam ‘troop’ translated the event in German for our guests and made this a very festive and playful occasion for all! It was a hit! ‘Pirates’ and ‘doctors’ all were in character as they inducted their victims (called Pollywogs)! Ekk!
Here is the background of the ceremony, according to Wikipedia.org:
The ceremony of Crossing the Line is an initiation rite in the Royal Navy, U.S. Navy, U.S. Coast Guard, U.S. Marine Corps and other navies that commemorates a sailor’s first crossing of the equator. Originally, the tradition was created as a test for seasoned sailors to ensure their new shipmates were capable of handling long rough times at sea. Sailors who have already crossed the equator are nicknamed Shellbacks, often referred too as Sons of Neptune; those who have not are nicknamed Pollywogs.
Equator-crossing ceremonies, typically featuring King Neptune, are also sometimes carried out for passengers’ entertainment on civilian ocean liners and cruise ships. They are also performed in the merchant navy and aboard sail training ships.
After crossing the line, Pollywogs receive subpoenas to appear before King Neptune and his court (usually including his first assistant Davy Jones and her Highness Amphitrite and often various dignitaries, who are all represented by the highest ranking seamen), who officiate at the ceremony.
Afterwards, some wogs may be “interrogated” by King Neptune and his entourage, using “truth serum” (hot sauce + after shave) and whole uncooked eggs. During the ceremony, the Pollywogs undergo a number of increasingly embarrassing ordeals, largely for the entertainment of the Shellbacks.
Once the ceremony is complete, Pollywogs receive a certificate declaring their new status.
Alexis Puma is one of HAL’s charter and incentive sales managers