/ The Cruise Traveler
Cruise — By Liz Lewis on June 1, 2010 at 10:06 am
Filed under: event, featuredarticle, maritime history, sea

Crossing the Equator

Mariners call it ‘the line’. The rest of us call it the latitude 0 or the equator, an imaginary line on the earths surface from the north and south poles that divides the earth into the northern and southern hemisphere.

Today, the Dawn Princess World Cruise crossed over the line and marked the occasion with The Solemn Mysteries of the Ancient Order of the Deep ceremony. This ancient pagan ritual, involving a visit from an imaginary King Neptune while the ship is crossing over the equator, was, in bygone days,  taken very seriously by sailors.

These days, however, the ceremony is performed mainly for it’s entertainment value, with passengers who have never crossed the equator before encouraged to participate in the fun. Otherwise known as ‘pollywogs’, these passengers were herded into the ‘jail’ just before noon to await their initiation.

Meanwhile, the swimming pool deck of the Dawn Princess was cleared in preparation for the arrival of King Neptune (aka Cruise Director Warren), his wife Queen Nephritite, and their guards and nymphs.

On the dot of noon, the King and his entourage arrived and the initiation began. The pollywogs were marched into the King’s court by fierce looking guards where, under the direction of King Neptune, the nymphs encouraged the  pollywogs to ‘kiss the fish’ and endure all sorts of substances, from spagettii and raw eggs, poured over their heads.


Amid squeals and laughter, the ceremony continued until all willing pollywogs were initiated and transformed into ‘trusty shellbacks’, the name given to those initiated at the crossing of the equator.

(photo credit: Liz Lewis)

Tags: event, featuredarticle, maritime history, sea

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