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King Neptune Visits Zaandam

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.

King Neptune holds court at the Aft Pool.

King Neptune holds court at the Aft Pool.

The Pollywogs are led out by the Pirates.

The Pollywogs are led out by the Pirates.

Chief Electrician Andre licks the fish. (Neptune got a little creative.)

Chief Electrician Andre licks the fish. (Neptune got a little creative.)

The Pollywogs await their fate in the makeshift prison.

The Pollywogs await their fate in the makeshift prison.

Some Engineers covered in gunk.

Some Engineers covered in gunk.

Thumbs down for these engineers- To the wall! They’ve got to sit in the sun covered in gunk.

Thumbs down for these engineers- To the wall! They’ve got to sit in the sun covered in gunk.

The Ceremony finished with Captain Andre being pushed into the pool—in full uniform!

The Ceremony finished with Captain Andre being pushed into the pool—in full uniform!

Anthony Garofalo is Zaandam’s human resources manager.

Contact him at anthony@hollandamericablog.com.

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