Cruise ship article - - Anthem of the Seas - - Royal Caribbean - - Plaques and Keys
On most cruise ships, there is a wall covered with plaques, plates and trophies. Some of these are awards the ship has received from various trade associations or travel media. However, the majority of these are momentos of the ship's maiden calls at various ports.
There is often a ceremony associated with each of these plaques. When a ship arrives in a port for the first time, a delegation of government officials usually comes aboard. The size of the delegation and its composition depends upon such things as the importance of cruising to the local economy and the noteriety of the ship. Thus, if cruising is important to the port and/or if the ship has generated a lot of excitement in the press, the delegation will be large and headed by a high ranking official.
Once aboard the ship, the delegation meets with the captain and some of the ship's officers. The delegation gives the captain a plaque and the captain gives the delegation a plaque in return. This ceremony is often referred to as “plaques and keys.”
As a new cruise ship that has just entered service, maiden calls are a frequent occurance for Anthem of the Seas. Thus, when Anthem arrived in Gibraltar at the beginning of her first Mediteranean cruise, a sizeable delegation came aboard headed by the Minister of Tourism and the Port and including the captain of the port, the port agent, business executives and members of the loal media.
Capatin Claus Andersen and several of his officers met the delegation in the Boleros cocktail lounge. The visitors were offered champagne and after a short meet and mingle, the official ceremony began.
The Captain welcomed the visitors. “This is the fourth official sailing of Anthem of the Seas. She has been in service for just over two weeks now. We have had some [Northern European sailings] and now it is into the Med. It is nice to see the sea settle and the sun come out. We had a divine welcome into the port today. It is a beautiful place. It is a good start.”
Minister for Tourism and the Port Samantha Jane Sacramento responded: “Welcome to Gibraltar. It has been a very busy week but we have not had a vessel as big as this one, the biggest vessel we have ever had in Gibraltar port. It is a big moment for us. I think I have seen countless photos of the ship coming in on Facebook this morning. Everyone knew that you were coming in and were eagerly looking forward to it.”
After the physical exchange of the plaques, Captain Andersen observed: “We are extremely proud of the ship and all the support [we have received]. We truly believe that we are changing the cruise industry. I hope that you have time to tour the ship and see some of the things that we have to offer so you can really see that this ship is stepping away from the traditional way of cruising. It is a whole new way of cruising.”
The ceremony ended with the presentation of some additional plaques from other members of the delegation. The press took photographs of the participants and then the delegation were taken on a guided tour of Anthem of the Seas. It was a scene that would be repeated several times as Anthem sailed further into the Mediteranean.
Above: The familiar silhouette of Gibraltar.
Above: Capatin Claus Andersen and Minister for Tourism and the Port Samantha Jane Sacramento.
Above: The plaque Anthem received from Gibraltar.
Below: The plaque Anthem gave to Gibraltar.