Seattle-based Holland America Line today celebrated the handover of its newest vessel, ms Koningsdam, at the official handover ceremony which took place on Saturday at the Fincantieri shipyard in Marghera, Italy. The ship sailed from the yard, which is near Venice, with fanfare en route to Civitavecchia (Rome) where it will embark on its Premiere Voyage April 8.

Handover ceremonies are full of pomp and maritime tradition, and a tradition-minded company like Holland America Line is no exception. A video was shown of the lowering of the Italian flag (ships fly the flag of the country of construction until handed over to their purchaser) and being replaced with the Dutch flag, as all Holland America Line ships are registered in The Netherlands and fly the flag of that country. Shipbuilder Fincantieri also presented the master of Koningsdam, Captain Emiel de Vries, with a bottle containing the first water that touched the ship’s hull.

“The Official Handover Ceremony was a celebration of the years of planning and hard work that went into building our gorgeous new ship and a chance to honor all those who made this day possible,” said Orlando Ashford, president of Holland America Line. “Thank you to Fincantieri for being an exceptional partner. It was truly a heartfelt send-off on Sunday as Koningsdam sailed out of the shipyard. We look forward to beginning work soon on our second Pinnacle Class ship scheduled for delivery in late 2018.”

Holland America Line parent Carnival Corporation also finalized plans for five new build vessels at Fincantieri for deliveries in 2019 and 2020: two ships for Costa Asia, which will be deployed in China; two ships for Princess Cruises, and one ship for P&O Cruises Australia.

After the official ceremony, the shipyard employees who worked to build Konigsdam over the past two years were invited to share their accomplishment in nautical engineering with their families, who were invited to join them onboard the ship for the first time, enjoying dinner in the Lido Market, a performance in World Stage, and a tour of the ship. The keel of the Koningsdam (the first part of a vessel’s construction, also known as the “backbone of the ship”) was first laid down in August of 2014.

Koningsdam is the first ship in the new Pinnacle Class of ships; a second ship is slated to join her sister ship in November 2018. Public spaces on the Koningsdam were designed by maritime and hospitality design veteran Adam D. Tihany, and the ship will also debut Holland America’s first purpose-designed family and solo traveler staterooms.

Holland America Line traces its roots back to 1879, and today has 14 ships which cruise to more than 400 ports in 98 countries. After a series of introductory cruises in the Mediterranean, Konigsdam will sail to Rotterdam, the Netherlands, where her official naming ceremony will take place on May 20.