The 46,052gt ship was built between 1982 and 1985. 3,800 people worked on the construction of the ship for a total of 2.5m work hours. It was the biggest contract at the time of ordering and is still the biggest ship ever built in Denmark.
The 222mtr ship was originally built for Carnival Cruise Line but became the flagship for Cruise & Maritime Voyages in early 2015. The former Grand Holiday carries 1,250 passengers and is homeported at London Tilbury.
A red carpet was laid out on the quayside for embarking passengers. A celebratory lunch was held onboard for 200 special guests from the city of Aalborg, these included dignitaries and people who had helped build the ship. Lars Bech, cruise manager, VisitAalborg said how important it was for the people of Aalborg to see the ship again after so many years.
Aalborg is the capital of the Northern Denmark region and has 110,000 inhabitants. It has the highest growth rate of any city in Denmark. The port will welcome 15 cruise calls in 2015 bringing over 14,000 passengers, a huge leap from 2014 when one ship visited bringing 800 passengers.
Of interest in the surrounding area is the Utzon Center, a tribute to Danish architect Jørn Utzon, architect of the Sydney Opera House. His architectural style originates in the maritime environment of Aalborg where his father Aage Utzon was a naval architect at Aalborg Shipyard. Also worth visiting is Lindholm Høje, Scandinavia’s largest Viking burial site, 682 graves and 150 stone ships have been found on the site.