(7:45 a.m. EDT) -- Princess Cruises has announced the name of its newest ship in a keel-laying ceremony at Fincantieri shipyard in Italy.
Set to begin cruising in 2014, Regal Princess will be the second ship to join the Royal Class of Princess' fleet. Princess named the ship just two weeks after floating out sister ship Royal Princess.
The name Regal Princess, like Royal Princess, is a moniker that Princess has used in the past. When Princess acquired the Sitmar Line in 1988, two still-under-construction ships were part of the deal. One of the two ships ultimately became the first Regal Princess, and sailed with the fleet until it was transferred to P&O Cruises Australia in 2008. It now sails Australia and New Zealand cruises as the Pacific Dawn.
As sister ship to Royal Princess, Regal Princess will share many of the same amenities and characteristics. Capacity is identical at 3,600 passengers, as is tonnage, at 141,000 -- making the ship some 20% larger than Princess' next largest ships. Additional similarities include an expanded atrium, known as the Piazza; the SeaWalk, a cantilevered, glass-enclosed, glass-floored walkway that will extend 28 feet beyond the edge of the ship and 128 feet over the water; and private, for-fee poolside cabanas. For renderings of the soon-to-launch Royal Princess click on the image at left.
Although Princess has yet to release details concerning itineraries for Regal Princess, Royal Princess' plan is to debut with a series of Mediterranean cruises beginning in June 2013.
--by Jamey Bergman, U.K. Content Producer