Princess Cruises has celebrated significant milestones for each of its three ships currently under construction at Fincantieri in Italy.
The three ceremonies, each marking different stages of a cruise ship’s construction, were held on the same day at the same shipyard for each of the 3,660-guest Sky Princess, Enchanted Princess and an as-yet-unnamed sixth Royal-class ship.
The first ceremony was a traditional ‘madrina’ or blessing by the ship’s godmother for Sky Princess, which will launch in October this year. Kerry Ann Wright, a Glasgow-based second officer for Princess Cruises, did the honours.
Kerry Ann began her career at sea working in the onboard hotel department before beginning her own deck cadetship. After several years of study she qualified as an officer of the watch in 2015 and gained her Chief Mates license in 2018, leading to her present role on sister ship, Royal Princess.
She was nominated as Madrina by her fellow crew members.
After this, the keel was laid for Enchanted Princess, which will enter service next year. Executives from Princess Cruises and Fincantieri watched as a 500-tonne keel (the bottommost part of a ship) was lowered into position in the drydock.
Representatives and invited guests then participated in a traditional ‘good luck’ coin ceremony, which comprised welding an Ocean Medallion into the ship. Enchanted Princess will launch in Southampton in June 2020.
Finally a steel-cutting ceremony was held for the final Royal-class ship. The ceremony took place during a live broadcast from Naples, Italy, and marked the cutting of the first plates of steel. These signalled the beginning of construction of the ship scheduled to launch in 2022.
Princess Cruises in a statement said that the concurrent events were an industry first, but in fact MSC Cruises set the original record in June, 2018 at Chantiers de l’Atlantique, when it cut the steel for its next next Meraviglia-Plus class ship, held a coin ceremony for MSC Grandiosa floated out its newest ship MSC Bellissima.
Princess Cruises is, however, the first US-based cruise line to achieve the same feat during the newbuild process.
With two further ships on order for delivery in 2023 and 2025, Princess Cruises will increase its capacity by 32% over the next six years. According to Jan Swartz, President of Princess Cruises, there is more than enough demand for this expansion.
“The number of people enjoying cruise holidays has increased, on average, by more than one million every year over the last decade, an increase of more than 68 percent,” said Swartz, who is also group CEO for Carnival Australia.
“As we continue to grow our fleet with five new ships arriving by 2025 – maintaining our position as the fastest growing premium cruise line in the world – we’re proud to not only celebrate these three major construction milestones in the same day but also to continue to innovate our product with cutting-edge technology and elevated guest experiences that will be offered on all of these ships,” she said.
Recently-announced features to appear on Sky Princess and Enchanted Princess include two ‘Sky Suites’, the largest balconies at sea, the Ocean Medallion, which is around the same size as a 10p piece, new entertainment such as a jazz lounge Take Five, a re-designed Vista Lounge and an enhanced Princess Theatre and more than 25 dining venues and bars including the World Fresh Marketplace and speciality restaurants the Crown Grill Steakhouse and Sabatini’s Italian Trattoria.
Both ships will also feature a redesigned Sanctuary area, the spa-inspired top deck retreat reserved for adults. The Sanctuary will feature an upgraded, contemporary design including twice as many private cabanas as its sister ships, new lounge furniture and the option for guests to indulge in a spa treatment.
Full details of the features and amenities to be found aboard the sixth Royal-class ship will be announced in the coming year, according to Princess.