The Duchess of Cornwall has named Saga’s new ship Spirit of Discovery in Dover on Friday – the first cruise liner to be named in the port for over a decade.

The Duchess joined more than 500 guests for the quayside ceremony on Friday.

Yorkshire-grown grass was laid down on the harbour with bunting, florals, trees and parasols.

The Duchess was given a tour of the ship, which is the line’s first new-build vessel and the first to be build especially for the UK market since P&O’s Britannia in 2015.

She met the ship’s captain Julian Burgess and crew on the Bridge and entertainers in the Playhouse, the ship’s theatre. She also met Jools Holland, who has partnered with the line to perform on a number of sailings.

Pictured: The Duchess of Cornwall with Jools Holland
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Following the tour the Duchess of Cornwall cut a two-metre long replica of Spirit of Discovery cake and watched a performance by The Band of Her Majesty’s Royal Marines Collingwood and the Morriston Orpheus Choir. The ship was blessed by The Right Reverend Trevor Willmott, Bishop of Dover.

She formally named Spirit of Discovery with a jeroboam of Hush Heath English sparkling wine being smashed on the ship’s hull.

Robin Shaw, chief executive of Saga Travel, said: “This is an immensely proud moment for Saga. We started this journey to build something special some three and a half years ago, and today, we are honoured to be joined by our Godmother, HRH The Duchess of Cornwall. We firmly believe that Spirit of Discovery creates a new British quality standard in the cruising market and we can’t wait to welcome guests on board.”

Sister ship, Spirit of Adventure, will launch next year.

The naming followed a two-day preview sailing for 700 travel agents last week.

Take a tour of Spirit of Discovery:

More: Saga’s Sprit of Discovery will ‘tackle brand perception’

Gallery: Saga Spirit of Discovery trade preview sailing