(7:30 a.m. EST) -- Oceania Cruises' Marina, the line's first-ever new-build, will celebrate a major milestone on Friday when it's floated out at Fincantieri's Sestri shipyard in Genoa.
The float out, one of the most symbolic and most moving events in the construction of a cruise ship, symbolizes the transition from dry-dock, in which a vessel sits on industrial sized blocks, to floating on its own. It's the ceremony in which a ship goes from being merely a construction project to an actual sea-worthy vessel (it's at least the first big step, anyway -- sea trials, held much closer to actual launch, is the definitive test).
The 65,000-ton, 1,252-passenger Marina is Oceania's first purpose-built ship for the line, which launched with three nearly identical ships (Insignia, Nautica and Regatta) that had been previously constructed for the now-defunct Renaissance Cruises.
Just as exciting about tomorrow's event is the fact that invited guests, primarily travel agents and journalists -– including Cruise Critic! -- from the U.S., Canada and Great Britain, will also be able to climb onboard for a hard hat tour of Marina. The tour will take in areas such as the lobby, the martini bar, staterooms (including penthouses), the Canyon Ranch Spa, restaurants like the Grand Dining Room, Polo Grill and Toscana, the library and the culinary center.
It's important to note that the ship, which isn't due to launch until January 2011, won't look anywhere near finished –- but it's still fun to see these spaces as they evolve (and we'll include renderings so you can see both the "before" and "after").
And we'll be there to take you along with us, visually and virtually. We'll definitely be posting photos from the ceremony and Marina –- and hope to also feature video -- so stay tuned Friday for a visual spectacle on Cruise Critic.
--by Carolyn Spencer Brown, Editor in Chief
--Photo is courtesy of Oceania Cruises.
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Oceania Cruises' New-Build to Celebrate Major Milestone
February 25, 2010