Artist rendering of Seven Seas Splendor

(4:45 p.m. EDT) -- Construction officially has begun on Regent Seven Seas Cruises' newest ship. The luxury line cut steel for Seven Seas Splendor -- slated to launch in early 2020 -- today at Fincantieri's shipyard in Ancona, Italy.

In attendance for the steel-cutting ceremony were Jason Montague, Regent Seven Seas Cruises' president and CEO; Robin Lindsay, parent company Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings' VP of vessel operations; Franco Semeraro, Regent's SVP of hotel operations; and Giovanni Stecconi, Fincantieri's shipyard director.

"This is truly an exciting moment for us and we are delighted to work with the skillful engineers of Fincantieri Shipyard to build our new ship that will again raise the standards of luxury for the industry," said Montague. "With the first steel cut for Seven Seas Splendor in Ancona, we are now underway to realizing our plans for the new ship that will perfect luxury."

Seven Seas Splendor will be a twin to Seven Seas Explorer, the line's largest and most luxurious ship currently sailing. Like its sister, it will have all-suite, all-balcony accommodations, multiple dining venues and inclusive fares.

Regent Seven Seas named the new ship based on suggestions submitted by past passengers, travel agents and employees.

--By Gina Kramer, Editor