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First look at Regal Princess

Ship will debut in spring 2014

Posted: August 30, 2012 2:00 a.m.
Updated: August 3, 2012 2:00 a.m.

Princess Cruises' newest ship, dubbed the Regal Princess, had its keel-laying ceremony this week.

Valencia-based Princess Cruises announced this week that it has begun construction of the second in its new generation of ships.

Christened the “Regal Princess” in a keel-laying ceremony, the newest ship is expected to debut in spring 2014.

Company and shipyard officials at the Fincantieri shipyard in Monfalcone, Italy, started the countdown to the ship’s launch as the keel — the bottommost part of the ship — was lowered into position in the building dock Tuesday.

In keeping with tradition, the ship’s 500-ton keel was blessed by a priest as it was moved into position by a huge crane onto blocks used for building. It is expected that 2 million worker-hours will go into building the 3,600-passenger ship.

“Just as ‘Royal Princess,’ (the first of its new generation ships,) 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 new building program.”

Princess Cruises released a series of time-lapsed video of the dry dock renovation of its Grand Princess last year, and the cruise company is releasing an ongoing video series of the planning going into the new ship, said company spokeswoman Karen Candy.

The new ship is expected to have many of the same features as its predecessor including the glass-enclosed “sea walk” extended beyond the edge of the cruise ship and suspended 128 feet above the ocean.

Upon completion of the ship’s construction, the 141,000-ton “Regal Princess” will be moved out of the building dock next summer in a process that involves slowly letting water into the building dock over a two-day period until the ship can be set afloat.

The ship is then moved to an outfitting dock, where the interior construction and design take place.



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