AUGUST 29, 2012 — Carnival Corporation's Princess Cruises brand yesterday marked the beginning of construction of the second of its new generation of cruise ships with the official keel laying ceremony at the Fincantieri shipyard in Monfalcone, Italy.
The cruise line said the ship's name will be Regal Princess. It will be the second of two ships ordered from Fincantieri in 2010, both of which use the same prototype design. It will therefore have the same record-breaking dimensions as its sister Royal Princess, the largest ship ever built by the Italian shipbuilding industry: 141,000 gross tons, 330 m long and 38 m wide, with a capacity for 3,600 passengers. Royal Princess was floated out earlier this month (see earlier story).
"Just as Royal Princess was named after one of our iconic early vessels, Regal Princess also takes a name from our past that we think is well suited for this spectacular ship," said Alan Buckelew, president and CEO of Princess Cruises. "Today's keel laying is an exciting event as it marks a key milestone in our newbuilding program."
Following a traditional blessing by a priest, the ship's keel – which weighs approximately 500 tons – was moved into position by a huge crane onto the keel blocks. The computer-guided maneuver took only minutes, belying the more than 2 million man hours that will ultimately go into building the vessel. The ship will remain in the building dock until its float-out next summer.