(8:35 a.m. EST) -- Regent Seven Seas Cruises celebrated a major milestone on February 9 when its new ship -- Seven Seas Splendor -- touched the sea for the first time during a float-out ceremony at the Fincantieri shipyard in Ancona, Italy.
To kick off the ceremony, which occurs once a new ship's exterior construction is complete, a Champagne bottle was smashed against Seven Seas Splendor's hull for good luck. The ceremony proceeded with a ribbon-cutting by the ship's madrina, Francesca Giovagnoli, the daughter of a longtime Ancona shipyard employee, and a prayer by the shipyard chaplain.
"One year from now, guests will begin immersing themselves in elegance and hospitality, while fully discovering the hundreds of destinations around the world Seven Seas Splendor travels, returning home at day's end to the exquisite comfort and care on board with every luxury included," said the line's president and CEO, Jason Montague. "I'm excited for our guests to experience how Seven Seas Splendor will perfect luxury."
Seven Seas Splendor, sister ship to Seven Seas Explorer, will begin sailing in February 2020. The 750-passenger ship is now in its final stages of construction; shipyard workers will focus on the interior spaces, including suites, lounges and restaurants.
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The float-out comes only two weeks after Regent Seven Seas Cruises revealed Seven Seas Splendor would feature the largest suite on any luxury cruise ship.
Regent Seven Seas Cruises' fares cover flights, standard shore excursions, alcoholic beverages, gratuities and unlimited Wi-Fi, among other inclusions; passengers have the option to pay up for premium tours.