Saga Cruises has announced in a press release that Commodore Inga J. Kennedy CBE QHNS QARNNS, senior Royal Navy officer and former head of the Royal Navy Medical Service and non-executive director of Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust, has been named as the godmother of Saga Cruises’ newest ship, the Spirit of Adventure.
She follows in the footsteps of HRH The Duchess of Cornwall, who was Godmother to sister ship Spirit of Discovery in 2019 and is currently Commodore-in-Chief of the Royal Navy Medical Service.
Saga said that Commodore Kennedy’s appointment is a “mark of respect to the medical profession that has worked so hard over the last 18 months dealing with the Covid-19 pandemic.”
According to the press release, Commodore Kennedy will officially name the Spirit of Adventure during a special ceremony in Portsmouth on July 19, coinciding with the UK’s ‘Freedom Day’ when coronavirus restrictions are scheduled to end.
In naval tradition, she will offer a blessing of safe sailing and good fortune, marked with the smashing of a bottle on the ship’s hull. Reflecting Saga’s British heritage, the jeroboam in question will be English sparkling wine from the Kent-based Balfour Hush Heath Estate. The ceremony will also be streamed on Facebook Live.
The Commodore will receive a full tour of the ship and the world-class features onboard. Like her sister ship, the Spirit of Discovery, Adventure’s design and layout challenges the conventions of cruise ship design at every turn. In line with Saga’s boutique cruising offer, she has been designed to feel small – holding a maximum of 1,000 guests – but also spacious. Each guest has the equivalent of a double decker bus of room onboard and every cabin has a balcony.
Commodore Kennedy has led a long and highly distinguished career, combining healthcare with service in the Royal Navy. Born in Aberdeen, she studied nursing at Queen Margaret College in Edinburgh followed by postgraduate studies in Edinburgh and London. A registered nurse, midwife and lecturer, she worked in the National Health Service between 1980 and 1998.
Having joined the Royal Navy Reserve in 1987, she undertook full-time reserve service between 1998 and 2000 as a senior midwife in the Royal Naval Hospital Gibraltar. In 2000, she joined the Queen Alexandra’s Royal Naval Nursing Service (QARNNS). After being promoted to Commander in 2005, she served in Afghanistan in 2011 and was made Captain in November of that year. She was promoted to Commodore in 2015 and began serving as Inspector General of the Defence Medical Services the same year. In 2017, Commodore Kennedy was appointed head of the Royal Navy Medical Service, a position she relinquished only recently.
“We are delighted and proud that Commodore Kennedy has agreed to be godmother to our newest ship. Nothing could be more fitting: everyone in the nation has been through the most trying 18 months and it is thanks to the hard work of our medical and scientific communities that we are starting to see light at the end of the tunnel,” Group CEO of Saga Euan Sutherland said.
“When considering our choice for godmother, we wanted to recognize this vital work and pay due respect to it. Commodore Kennedy has given a lifetime of service to nursing and our armed forces and it will be a privilege to watch her send the Spirit of Adventure on her way,” he added.
Commodore Kennedy said she was thrilled to be asked to become Spirit of Adventure’s godmother.”
“(I) feel I’m accepting this on behalf of the wider medical community who have worked so tirelessly throughout this pandemic and will continue to do so long after this crisis period fades … Personally, it is also a privilege to follow in the footsteps of Spirit of Discovery’s Godmother, HRH The Duchess of Cornwall, given her role as Commodore-in-Chief of the Royal Navy Medical Service. I wish the Spirit of Adventure, and all who sail on her, the very best voyages,” she noted.
Following her naming ceremony on July 19, the Spirit of Adventure will undertake her inaugural voyage on July 26, calling at some of Britain’s most famous ports. She will join sister ship Spirit of Discovery out on the waves, which will set sail on June 27.