Recently, in the grand seagoing tradition of crossing the equator, King Neptune climbed aboard Zaandam to ensure that the vessel and its passengers and crew were fit to enter his domain. For those of you not familiar with this custom, allow me to briefly explain. Crossing the equator by ship is a big deal in maritime tradition and almost every ship, be it passenger, cargo, military or otherwise will hold a special ceremony to initiate the Pollywogs (those having never crossed) into the Royal and Ancient Order of Shellbacks (those who have). Though some ships do different things— like shaving pollywogs heads— cruise ships usually sacrifice a few crewmembers for everyone. Basically each department sends some candidates and they face King Neptune. The Prosecutor reads out their ‘crimes’ and Neptune will make them kiss the fish. After that they are covered in gunk and the ship’s senior staff decides if they have the right to jump in the pool right away or if they have to sit in the hot sun covered in gunk for the rest of the ceremony— guess which option they choose more? Anyway, it’s a whole lot of fun and a long standing tradition. Enjoy some photos from Zaandam’s ceremony.
Anthony Garofalo is Zaandam’s human resources manager.
Contact him at email@example.com.