It was late afternoon on December 29, 2012, and the sleek and stylish m/v Tere Moana glistened in the sun at the Galisbay Pier in Marigot, St. Martin, ready for her official christening ceremony.
The festive music of a Caribbean steel drum band played as ceremony attendees including cruise guests, dignitaries, and local media proceeded to their seats under white tents alongside The Moana. The genuine enthusiasm of the audience for this special event was felt by all.
The ceremony began with opening remarks from the Master of Ceremonies, Tim van Bladel, The Moana’s Cruise Concierge, from the stage. St. Martin dignitaries were introduced, and the national anthem of France, “La Marseillaise,” followed by St. Martin’s “O Sweet St. Martin’s Land” and Tahiti’s “Ira Ora O’ Tahiti Nui” were performed.
Richard Bailey, Chairman of Paul Gauguin Cruises and President and CEO of Pacific Beachcomber S.C., and Diane Moore, President of Paul Gauguin Cruises, gave heartfelt speeches encompassing what it meant to have The Moana in the fleet and their vision for this extraordinary ship.
The ship’s Master, Captain Rajko Zupan, introduced the senior officers of The Moana next.
In a presentation by St. Martin dignitaries, customary plaques commemorating the ship’s inaugural visit and maiden call to St. Martin were given to Captain Zupan by Guillaume Arnell, Second Vice President of the Collectivité and Vice President of the Port Board; Jean-David Richard, Port Chairman of the Board; Albéric Ellis, Port Director; and Silviane John of the St. Martin Tourist Board.
These tokens of goodwill and hospitality will be proudly displayed on The Moana.
The ship’s blessing was then carried out by St. Martin’s Father Samson Dorival.
Following the blessing, Mireille Bailey, The Moana’s godmother and wife of Richard Bailey, was introduced and delivered a moving speech.
Excerpt of Mireille Bailey's speech:
“It is truly a great honor and privilege for me to be godmother of Tere Moana. As you may know, Tere Moana means ‘Ocean Traveler’ in Tahitian. This is fitting for this beautiful ship, since the story of our company, and of Paul Gauguin Cruises, which began in the South Pacific, will now be carried proudly to other oceans and seas across the globe.
May this ship inspire and enrich the lives of those who sail with her. May they all know the joyful spirit and warmth of my Tahitian homeland, and may they all find beauty and wonder at each destination on which she calls. I wish this ship fair winds and a following sea—from this day on she will carry a piece of my heart.
On behalf of Paul Gauguin Cruises and all those who sail on her, I now christen the ship the m/v Tere Moana. May she always find grace and safety upon the ocean. God bless and forever protect the m/v Tere Moana.”
At the end of her speech, Mrs. Bailey christened the ship with a bottle of Veuve Clicquot La Grande Dame Champagne to rousing applause.
Closing remarks by Mr. van Bladel followed as white and blue balloons were released into the air.
Guests snapped photos in front of the ship and made their way to The Moana’s elegant Le Salon for a Champagne reception as the steel drum band played Caribbean favorites.
As they entered the ship, guests were greeted with flutes of Champagne and directed to Le Salon for the reception.
The ambiance onboard was celebratory with live piano music, tray-passed canapés, and conviviality.
Up on the pool deck, a jazz trio played as guests mingled enjoying stunning views of St. Martin. Following the reception, a Gala Dinner was held in L’Etoile and enjoyed by all. Below is the 6-course menu guests dined on.
Wild Mushroom Bruschetta
Dark truffle cream and demi-glace sautéed mushrooms on a herb brioche
Creamy Local Lobster Bisque
With cognac cream and finely chopped tarragon
Smoked magret, foie gras and walnuts tossed with raspberry vinaigrette garnished with quail eggs
Seared Tuna Steak
Sesame crusted yellow fin tuna and stir fried vegetables
served over jasmine rice with soy-ginger emulsion
Aged Prime Rib of Beef
Coated with our signature rub, served with chive and sour cream
Fork mashed potatoes, glazed baby carrots, green beans and pan gravy
Topfen Strudel with Ricotta and Raisins
After dinner, guests gathered in Le Salon enjoying drinks and live music as The Moana set sail on her inaugural 7-night Caribbean voyage to visit islands in the French West Indies, British Virgin Islands, and St. Kitts & Nevis.