Monday 1 July 2024

Naming ceremony for Seabourn Pursuit in Kimberley

#expeditioncruising .

Seabourn, a leading ultra-luxury and expedition cruise line, named Seabourn Pursuit in a unique and historic expedition naming ceremony at Ngula Jar Island, Australia, on June 29, 2024. With guests on Zodiacs alongside the ship and the onboard team lined up along the decks, the Wunambal Gaambera Traditional Owners named Seabourn Pursuit, marking the first time Traditional Owners named a ship.

Wunambal Gaambera Traditional Owners, painted in ochre, carried out the “Junba,” a traditional storytelling song and dance.

The day-long celebration and naming ceremony were thoughtfully planned to honor Wunambal Gaambera Country and people and Kimberley region, and guests were able to immerse themselves in the Aboriginal culture and history throughout the day. Guests took part in a remarkable Wunambal Gaambera welcome and smoking ceremony, “jimɨrri,” to welcome guests to the country and bid them safe travels. “Our smoking ceremony is done for visitors so that our old people’s spirits won’t follow them,” said Wunambal Gaambera Traditional Owner Lillian Karadada. Afterwards, the “Junba,” a traditional story-telling song and dance, was carried out by Wunambal Gaambera Traditional Owners, painted in ochre. Guests also visited ancient rock art sites and heard the cultural stories of that area. Artworks by Wunambal Gaambera artists were on display and for sale.

Seabourn and Wunambal Gaambera Traditional Owners exchanged gifts to celebrate their new relationship. In addition, Seabourn guests Vince and Jane Roig, who have sailed on every Seabourn inaugural voyage on the current seven-ship fleet, presented the Traditional Owners with a symbolic gift of art supplies as a token of appreciation for this new partnership together.

The day culminated with the naming ceremony in Wunambal Gaambera language and English, where representatives from the Wunambal Gaambera Aboriginal Corporation wished Seabourn Pursuit an abundance of blessings and extraordinary expeditions to come in Wunambal Gaambera Country. Seabourn used a specially made bottle crafted from sugar and coated with sand from Ngula, Jar Island, to further celebrate and show respect to the land. Keeping with the time-honored maritime tradition, guests and crew members both on board and on the Zodiacs cheered and celebrated the moment the bottle broke on the bow of the ship.

L to R: Handré Potgieter, Seabourn’s director of entertainment; Seabourn guest Jane Roig; Robin West, Seabourn’s vice president and general manager of expeditions; Natalya Leahy, president of Seabourn; Seabourn guest Vince Roig; Wunambal Gaambera Aboriginal Corporation Chair Catherine Goonack, Wunambal Gaambera Traditional Owners Maria Fredericks, Desmond Williams, and Rosa Marnga; and Seabourn Pursuit Captain Ertan Vasvi

Seabourn President Natalya Leahy shared her excitement about the special relationship Seabourn has built with the Wunambal Gaambera Traditional Owners - their country and people - whose rich cultural history, deep connection to the land and sea, and established sustainable tourism initiatives, combine to make them a natural fit to be godparents for Seabourn Pursuit.

“This day marks a very special event with the christening of Seabourn Pursuit, our newest ultra-luxury purpose-built expedition ship. This is a wonderful maritime tradition, and today is extra special for us because we asked the Wunambal Gaambera to be the ship’s godparents, which marks the beginning of long sustainable partnership between our brand and this community. We know our guests visit these wonderful places in the world because they believe in the transformative power of travel, and today we celebrate exactly this,” said Leahy.

“We are honoured to be the godparents of Seabourn Pursuit and share our culture with their crew and guests. It’s good to see our people working on Country and sharing our unique culture in the right way. Living and working on Country is important for us. When we are living and speaking language on Country, we are healthy. Thank you, Seabourn, for your support. Biyanga graa winya – Welcome,” said Catherine Goonack, Chair, Wunambal Gaambera Aboriginal Corporation.

Also in attendance were Ms. Divina D’Anna, MLA, and Parliamentary Secretary to Deputy Premier Hon. Rita Saffioti MLA (Deputy Premier; Treasurer; Minister for Transport; Tourism; Member for West Swan), and Di Bain, the Chair of Tourism Western Australia.

Seabourn chose the Kimberley for the site of the naming ceremony because the region represents everything for which the ship is intended, while also affording the opportunity for the line to create a lasting relationship with Wunambal Gaambera as an investment in sustainable tourism. The relationship with Wunambal Gaambera serves as a symbolic gesture of stewardship and responsibility toward the environment and the communities that Seabourn visits. As part of the alliance, Seabourn is making a donation to assist Wunambal Gaambera develop a self-sustaining industry, producing authentic works of art and craft by Wunambal Gaambera artists to sell. In addition, Seabourn is contributing pearl shells, various art supplies, and polishing materials to foster sustainable, commercial arts and craft initiatives year-round for Wunambal Gaambera artists and craft producers.

Seabourn further intends to work alongside Wunambal Gaambera as they share their unique Uunguu Experience, imparting Wanjina Wunggurr culture through welcome and smoking ceremonies; rock art tours; junba song and dance; and art and stories from the Uunguu Rangers who are looking after and keeping the country healthy.

Seabourn's monetary contribution adds to funding already received from the State Tourism Authority, Tourism Western Australia, that will assist Wunambal Gaambera’s development of tourism facilities and products for Traditional Owners to live on their country during the dry season when tourism operators can access the vast coastline of the Kimberley region. Wunambal Gaambera Aboriginal Corporation is to be commended on the implementation of their Uunguu Visitor Management Plan to reconnect with their country, to manage visitor access and take leadership in the tourism industry, and to engage with water-based visitors who arrive on their land, thus participating in the value chain that operators like Seabourn offer. Ngula Jar Island will be featured on all Seabourn itineraries in the Kimberley, ensuring consistent visitation to Wunambal Gaambera Country.

Seabourn Pursuit offers the same luxurious small ship experience that travelers have come to expect from Seabourn, enhanced by world-class equipment that allows the line to offer its widest range of expedition activities led by an expert 24-person expedition team of scientists, scholars, naturalists, and more. Designed and built for remote, diverse environments to PC6 Polar Class standards, the ship includes a plethora of modern hardware and technology that extends the ship’s global deployment and capabilities. There is close to 30,000 square feet of deck space and special touches at every turn, as well as indoor and outdoor guest areas with nearly 270-degree views. In addition, a 4K GSS Cineflex Camera is mounted on the mast of the Constellation Lounge and capable of broadcasting imagery from miles ahead on monitors located throughout the ship and in guest suites.

For more details about Seabourn, or to explore the worldwide selection of Seabourn cruising options, call Seabourn at 1-800-929-939, visit or contact a professional travel advisor.

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