February 27, 2004
Diamond Princess delivered
Under sunny skies in Nagasaki, Japan, the new Diamond Princess was named yesterday in a colorful ceremony which featured traditional Japanese festivities set against the state-of-the-art ship. The ship was delivered earlier in the morning to Princess Cruises by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd. (MHI).
Diamond Princess was named by Mrs. Yoshiko Tsukuda, wife of Kazuo Tsukuda, president of MHI. Dressed in a traditional kimono, Mrs. Tsukuda officially launched the ship in a ceremony that including such Japanese touches as a taiko drum performance, a traditional dragon dance and a Shinto-style blessing. Hundreds of guests from around Japan and other Asian regions attended the ceremony, which also featured a spectacular fireworks display and other touches designed to bring the ship good fortune.
The 116,000-ton, 2,670-passenger Diamond Princess launches a new ship design for Princess and is the first large cruise ship built in Japan in more than a decade. It is the first in a series of two ships of this size. By the way, that's 116,00 grt (there are 21,160 tons of steel in the ship, just to confuse travel writers who think that a ship's tonnage has something to do with its weight. If you wanted to come up with the weight, incidentally, you'd have to factor in things like the 2,718 lb of french fries used on board in a week!)
Originally, the ship should have been delivered in July 2003. However, on October 1, 2003, a fire broke out aboard the first newbuilding in the series. The yard was fully covered by builder's risk insurance and Princess and Mitsubishi agreed to a revised delivery schedule whereby the second ship in the series took the name Diamond Princess and it is that ship which was handed over yesterday. The other ship, which now takes the name Sapphire Princess, is scheduled for delivery in May.
The Diamond Princess incorporates Princess' trademark design philosophy -- including an abundance of balcony cabins, flexibility in dining and entertainment options, Princess' renowned service and a variety of intimate spaces -- giving the ship all of the choice of a large ship with the feel of a much smaller vessel.
Diamond Princess departed Nagasaki yesterday on a trans-Atlantic crossing as it positions to Los Angeles for its inaugural season of Mexico cruises, which begins March 13. The ship will be based in Seattle this summer for seven-day round-trip Inside Passage cruises to Alaska.
The ship has diesel gas turbine propulsion with two 9-cylinder Wartsila L46 and two 8-cylinder L46 medium-speed diesels plus one GE LM2500+ gas turbine in a CODAG arrangement.
The single LM2500+ is located in the stack. Interestingly, photographs of the stack show it to be embellished with what appear to be two jet engine pods, one port, one starboard, reminiscent of those on a Boeing airliner. Hmm.