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Olympic flame makes its way to Cherbourg passenger terminal

PHOTO: JULIEN BOUGON Cherbourg-Olympic-torch-France.jpg
The Olympic flame passes through Cherbourg, Cunard's Queen Mary 2 visible in the background
The grand arrival of the Olympic flame to Cherbourg Terminal Building took place on May 31 to the excitement of passengers aboard Cunard’s Queen Mary 2 during an unplanned call.

The flame, which began its journey to France aboard the late 19th century three-masted barque Belem in April, will be the centrepiece at the Paris Olympics opening ceremony on July 26. 

Inaugurated in 1933, the passenger terminal has a rich history, including being occupied by German then American troops successively during World War Two, and rebuilt and re-inaugurated in 1952.

The Port of Cherbourg is gearing up for a series of noteworthy occurrences, is on track to set another passenger record in 2024, and has plans for shore power.  

80th anniversary of D-Day

Adding to the port's historic program this week is the arrival of Seabourn Ovation, docking on June 5, 6 and 7 as part of the National WWII Museum of New Orleans’ 80th-anniversary D-Day memorial charter cruise. The ship’s arrival into Cherbourg coincides with the D-Day Festival Normandy which covers the entire coastline where D-Day and the Battle of Normandy took place - from Pegasus Bridge to Sainte-Mère-Eglise, including Ouistreham, Arromanches, Pointe du Hoc, and the five iconic sectors of Utah Beach, Omaha Beach, Gold Beach, Juno Beach, and Sword Beach.

The festival hosts over 100 events and activities include parachuting, parades, concerts, historical re-enactments, fireworks, exhibitions, and projections. 

The voyage left from Hamburg on May 29 carrying world-renowned historians, with 10 WWII veterans and Holocaust survivors expected to join the voyage. 

Preparations for shore power

In sync with these events, the port is undergoing notable enhancements aimed at improving accessibility and sustainability. The completion of upgraded access to the city centre and the imminent launch of a more environmentally friendly shuttle bus service are poised to enhance the overall passenger experience. Preparations are also underway for shore power, set to be installed at the Cherbourg cruise and ferry terminals in 2026. 

Record number of passengers predicted 

Amidst these developments, the Port of Cherbourg is on track to set yet another passenger record in 2024. Building upon the milestone of welcoming over 100,000 passengers in 2023, the port expects to host 120,000 passengers this year, facilitated by 57 cruise ship arrivals, including eight inaugural voyages.

Looking ahead 

Beyond these plans, the port aims to cement its reputation as a cultural and historical hub with its sights already set on the commemoration of the 1000th anniversary of William the Conqueror's birth in 2027. With plans underway to curate a program of events spanning the wider Normandy region, the port aims to engage cruise passengers of all ages and interests.

TAGS: France