(10:01 a.m. EDT) -- Construction on Regent Seven Seas Cruises' newest ship is officially underway following a steel cutting ceremony at the Fincantieri shipyard in Genoa, Italy.
Kunal Kamlani, president of Regent Seven Seas Cruises, and Gabriele Cocco, senior executive vice president of merchant ships for Fincantieri, attended the ceremony, which culminated in a Champagne toast and confetti-filled celebration.
"Seven Seas Explorer will surpass the current standard in luxury cruising, offering a new level of grandeur throughout the ship from its lavish suites to its elegant public spaces and gourmet restaurants," Kamlani said.
The 54,000 gross ton Seven Seas Explorer will carry 750 passengers and is scheduled for launch in summer 2016.
The ceremonial first piece of steel will be incorporated into the ship's owner's suite.
Regent Seven Seas will begin taking reservations for the ship's maiden voyage and inaugural season in early 2015.
--By Dori Saltzman, News Editor