Top of the World
Small Titles and Orders for Those That Cross Borders

Sailors crossing the Arctic Circle become members of "The Order of the Bluenose" (a/k/a "Order of the Top of the World" or "Order of the Polar Bear") and are entitled to receive a certificate. There are several more of these unofficial nautical recognitions. known as cruise certificates, that can be awarded to sailors at memorable milestones during their wide ranging travels.

Arctic Circle (Bluenose) Certificates

Bluenose Certificate

This certificate was awarded by MSTS (Military Sea Transportation Service), the Navy's very own steamship company, to those venturing above 66ª 33' North, the Arctic Circle.

UK Royal Navy Bluenose Certificate

Destroyer HMS Chaplet cruise certificate from 1961. It states: "Disobey Under Pain of my Royal Displeasure".

Realm of the Arctic Circle

Another Arctic Circle cruise certificate, this one supposedly awarded aboard a fictional submarine.


Norway's Hurtigruten ships make daily six day voyages north from Bergen to Kirkenes carrying passengers, mail and freight, regularly crossing the Arctic Circle. A crewmember portraying King Neptune supervises a crossing ceremony where passengers are doused with ice water. Those present are awarded a colorful souvenir certificate like the one pictured above.

In June 2011 Hurtugruten vessel MS Nordnorge was featured in the 135 hour live NRK-2 TV broadcast of the ship's voyage up the Norwegian coast.

Some Other Navy Cruise Certificates

There seems to be a small number of publishers of these less than official titles and awards, serving a diminishing Navy with customized cruise memorabilia.

Shellback Certificate

From 1980, for crossing the equator.

Shellback Certificate

Another example of Shellback Certificate, WW II carrier USS Essex, from 1943.

Golden Dragon Certificate

For those crossing the international date line.

Order of the Ditch

Awarded to those transiting the Panama Canal.

Order of the Ditch

Another Panama Canal transit certificate.

Round the World Certificate

Order of Magellan, for those who have circumnavigated te earth.

Order of the Rock

Issued to those who have passed the Rock of Gibraltar.

Suez Canal Certificate

For those who have sailed between the Med and the Red Sea.

Antarctic Circle Award

Knights of The Emperor Penguin have crossed the Antarctic Circle.

Persian Excursion Certificate

It appears that the elusive, perhaps fictional, sailor W. T. Hatch has been to the Persian Gulf.

Realm of the Czars Award

For those sailors who have ventured into the darkness of the Black Sea.

Plank Owner Certificate

Plank Owners are original crew members of a newly commissioned ship.

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