Princess Cruises has officially began construction of a third Royal Class vessel, which will enter service in 2017 offering year-round cruise holidays for Chinese holidaymakers.
During a prestigious keel laying ceremony at the Monfalcone Shipyard in Italy, in which the lowest part of the ship (the keel) is lowered into position, Carnival Corporation – owner of Princess Cruises – confirmed that the yet-to-be-named vessel will homeport in China upon its completion in 2017.
Officials at the shipyard, as well as delegates from Carnival Corporation, were in attendance at the keel laying ceremony, in which the 500 tonne keel was slowly lowered into position by a computer-guided crane. The manoeuvre took just minutes to complete, and was followed by a traditional Chinese lion dance in honour of the ship’s future home.
The ship, which will remain in the building dock until its float out in 2016, will weigh 141,000 tonnes and have a 3,600-passenger capacity upon its completion – making it one of the largest ships to offer year-round cruise holidays in China.
Antony Kaufman, Senior Vice President of Princess Cruises’ Asia operations, said: “We’re very pleased to be working with our long-term partner, Fincantieri, on our newest ship and we appreciate their partnership and collaboration to customise and tailor the ship for the Chinese market.”
Kaufman was joined at the Italian shipyard by Cherry Wang, Country Director of Carnival China, who said: “The lion dance has been part of the Chinese culture for thousands of years and is performed on various auspicious occasions and celebrations. According to traditional Chinese belief, the lion signifies courage, wisdom, and good fortune and brings happiness, longevity, and good luck. We believe this special ceremony will bring prosperity and good fortune to Princess Cruises and our guests in China.”
Upon delivery, Princess’ latest Royal Class ship will feature many of the facilities and amenities found aboard Royal Princess and Regal Princess, including a multi-storey atrium, a pioneering, over-the-ocean Sea Walk and an enchanting private dining suite which envelopes guests in a lavish curtain of light as they dine.
For further updates on the ship, including deployment details and information on exciting new developments, stay tuned to the Cruise1st Australia blog.
Images sourced via Princess Cruises and Flickr Creative Commons. Credit: Frans Berkelaar