April 18, 2003
Princess Cruises' 113,000-ton, 2,600-passenger Diamond Princess, the cruise
line's newest new build, was "floated out" last weekend at its shipyard in
Nagasaki, Japan. There were the usual "traditional" festivities which,
unlike inaugural celebrations few cruise passengers ever see and these
included breaking a bottle of champagne over the bow and sounding the ship's
horn as it was towed from drydock.
A Princess Cruises statement mentions that, while being towed for the
float-out, the Diamond Princess was "flanked by fireboats spraying green,
red, blue and yellow-colored water into the air." That's an eerie reminder
that this Diamond originally was named Sapphire Princess until a
near-devastating fire in the shipyard last fall severely damaged the
original Diamond Princess (now known as Sapphire Princess and under
construction as well).
The "new" Diamond Princess will debut next March and sail a series of
Mexican Riviera itineraries from its seasonal homeport in Los Angeles. Then
the ship will head north, where it will offer Alaska cruises from Seattle.