(2 p.m. GMT) -- Saga River Cruises has named journalist and broadcaster Dame Jenni Murray as the godmother of its two new-build river vessels -- Spirit of the Danube and Spirit of the Rhine. The two ships will be named in an official ceremony in Arnhem, the Netherlands, on March 19.
The 182-passenger Spirit of the Rhine embarked on its inaugural cruise in September 2021, but due to COVID-19 disruption, has not yet been "officially" named.
Sister ship Spirit of the Danube, has not yet sailed and this Saturday will be the first opportunity for the traditional naming ceremony for both ships to take place.
Saga Cruises’ CEO, Nigel Blanks, said: "After the delays as a result of the pandemic, we’re delighted to formally name both ships.
"To see them side-by-side, after a challenging couple of years for the industry, it’s fantastic to reach this milestone, welcome two such stellar ships to our fleet, and enjoy the return to cruising Europe’s iconic waterways."
In line with tradition, a blessing will be offered for safe sailing and good fortune, marked by the smashing of a bottle on the ships' hulls, by Dame Jenni.
Built at the Vahali shipyards in Serbia and the Netherlands, the two 182-passenger ships will echo the boutique feel of the line's ocean-going ships, the 999-passenger Spirit of Discovery and Spirit of Adventure.
Spirit of the Danube will set sail on its inaugural cruise, the seven-day Dutch and Belgian Waterways, following the ceremony on March 21, while Spirit of the Rhine continues with its 2022 Rhine programme.