Construction has begun on the Regal Princess, Princess Cruises’ second vessel in a new generation of ships. // © 2012 Princess Cruises
Princess Cruises has announced that its second vessel in the new generation of ships will be called Regal Princess. The announcement in late August marked the beginning of construction, with an official keel-laying ceremony at the Fincantieri shipyard in Monfalcone, Italy.
Scheduled to debut in spring 2014, Regal Princess is the sister ship to the new Royal Princess, which launches in June 2013. Although Regal is expected to have additional features, it seems likely that the general organization of Royal’s dining venues will continue: an aft traditional dining room with set times and seating, anytime dining in the two forward dining rooms or a special menu in a circular private wine cellar room and alternative choices, including a steakhouse, an Italian restaurant, a buffet and lots of snacking and nibbling options offering cookies, pastries, paninis and more.
The ship will bear the name of a former Princess vessel built in 1991.
“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.
Buckelew called the keel-laying an exciting event that marks a key milestone in Princess’ 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, a computer-guided maneuver that took only minutes. The remainder of the work will take much longer; it is calculated that more than 2 million man hours that will ultimately go into building the 3,600-passenger, 141,000-ton vessel, which will remain in the building dock until its float-out next summer.
Regal Princess will offer many of the same features as Royal Princess, including a greatly expanded atrium, designed to be the social hub of the ship with new casual dining options that include Gelato, an Italian gelateria, or the trendy Ocean Terrace Seafood Bar. Regal, like Royal, will also feature a dramatic overwater SeaWalk, a top-deck, glass-bottomed walkway extending more than 28 feet beyond the edge of the vessel.
The new design has private poolside cabanas that appear to be floating on the water, the new Princess Live! television studio, a dedicated pastry shop, balconies on all outside staterooms, and a special Chef’s Table Lumiere, a private dining experience with walls of light around the diners.
Meanwhile, Princess is extending its successful Entertainer of the Year cruise, held this past April, in which comedian Carlos Oscar was named the top entertainer across Princess’ fleet. The line has now scheduled its second cruise to determine next year’s winner. Passengers aboard the Feb. 9-16, 2013, Valentine’s Day cruise on Crown Princess sailing the Western Caribbean will cast their ballots to show their preference among four finalists.
“Passengers loved our first Entertainer of the Year competition, especially the opportunity to see all of the finalists on one cruise,” said Jan Swartz, executive vice president. “Many passionate fans were championing their favorites and the final performances onboard were hugely popular. We can’t wait to see to see who our passengers pick next year.”
To narrow down the field in advance of the cruise, the Princess Cruises entertainment team will select the four top finalists. Finalists will be announced on Princess’ Facebook page along with video clips so fans can see the entertainers who are up for the award. Onboard the Entertainer of the Year cruise, passengers will be able to see each finalist give live performances and then cast their ballot for their favorite. On the final night of the cruise at a special party, the new winner will receive a $5,000 cash prize and will hold the title of the 2012 Princess Cruises Entertainer of the Year.