AUGUST 20, 2012 — Princess Cruises' newest ship, Royal Princess, reached a significant construction milestone last week when the vessel was "floated out" at its building dock at Fincantieri's Monfalcone shipyard in Italy.
Royal Princess, will be the new flagship of Carnival Corporation Princess Cruises fleet.
Delivery is scheduled for spring 2013, while its sister ship, whose construction will start this month at the same yard, will be delivered in 2014.
At 141,000 gross tons, 330 m long and 38 m wide, the new ship is the largest ship ever built by Fincantieri. It has 1,780 cabins, 1,438 of them with balconies (81percent of the total), and is able to accommodate 3,600 passengers, with a total capacity for over 5,600 people including crew.
Among the special features found on board will be a greatly expanded atrium; a dramatic over-water SeaWalk, a top-deck glass-bottomed walkway extending more than 28 feet beyond the edge of the vessel; plush private poolside cabanas that appear to be floating on the water; the new Princess Live! television studio; a pastry shop; a special Chef's Table Lumiere, a private dining experience that surrounds diners in a curtain of light; and balconies on all outside staterooms.
Fincantieri describes Royal Princess is an innovative prototype for a new ground-breaking class of ship designed to be "future-proof," not only in terms of layout and state-of-the-art performance, but also in complying with the most recent regulations in shipping.
Among the keystones of this trend are the rational use of space, with the aim of avoiding any wasted tonnage that would otherwise increase operating costs, and energy saving to reduce emissions into the atmosphere and water. The ship will be able to adapt to every possible type of cruise, operating from Alaska to Australia, even in environmentally protected areas where navigation is restricted.
Princess President and CEO Alan Buckelew and Royal Princess Captain Tony Draper attended the float out, as did long-time Princess master Captain Nick Nash and his daughter, Victoria, who served as the ship's "madrina" (or "godmother").
Following the Italian shipbuilder's tradition, the float out of a ship is celebrated when the madrina cuts the cord that begins the flow of water into the ship's dock. Victoria Nash was chosen to serve as madrina because she has a special connection to the first Royal Princess -- as a baby, she was christened aboard the ship.
"The original Royal Princess left our fleet some time ago, but we wanted to bring the spirit of that much-loved ship, also a prototype design, to the new Royal Princess," said Buckelew during the ceremony. "And who better to do that than Victoria, who has grown up into a beautiful young lady who will now have a special connection with both vessels."
As is tradition, the ship's bell was used as her christening bowl during that ceremony in 1996, and Victoria's name was subsequently engraved inside the bell to commemorate the occasion. Thanks to the Nash family, this same bell will be aboard the new Royal Princess.
"Captain Nash was presented with the ship's bell from our original Royal Princess following its decommissioning, and we are delighted that he has very generously offered this bell to be placed aboard our new Royal Princess, in honor of his daughter," said Buckelew. "Thank you Nick, for this wonderful gift."
The two-day float-out process involves slowly letting water into the building dock to set the vessel afloat. The ship is then moved to the outfitting dock where final construction and interior outfitting will take place until the ship debuts in June 2013.
The ship's 2013 maiden season will include cruises on the line's signature Grand Mediterranean itinerary throughout the summer, followed by Eastern Caribbean cruises beginning in the fall.