In a scene that has been played out since men first ventured to sea aboard ships, Carnival Spirit’s guests and crew witnessed a traditional maritime ceremony during their 16-day trans-Pacific crossing to Australia. The time-honored ceremony involves converting “pollywogs” — crewmembers and junior officers who have not crossed the equator on a ship — into “shellbacks,” or seasoned sailors.
The crossing was achieved at 9:46 p.m. on Oct. 4 and the ship’s horn blared to announce the event and called guests to the Lido Deck for the ceremony. Stuart Dunn, Carnival Spirit’s cruise director, playfully explained why the captain sounded the horn: “Normally you can see the line of the equator in the water, but it was the dark that night.”
A band of would-be pirates from the Carnival Spirit crew dragged the hapless pollywogs through the crowd and into the presence of King Neptune, who presided over the ceremony. The crowd booed, cheered and demanded the pollywogs “kiss the fish,” a dead specimen of which was provided for that purpose.
The pollywogs then were soaked with a puree of “galley-left-overs” bisque. The crowd roared, cameras flashed and the captain and his officers signaled the end of the ceremony with gales of laughter.
King Neptune spoke: “As you sail my seas, all guests and crew of Carnival Spirit have now crossed the equator and are worthy of the title Trusty Shellback.”