Sapphire Princess Completes Floating-Out

September 23, 2003

Princess Cruises' Sapphire Princess, under construction at Mitsubishi's Koyagi Shipyard in Nagasaki, Japan, was floated out last week. The ritual ceremony, which marks the end of construction and de-contamination work – and heralds the beginning of interior development – was celebrated with the traditional champagne-over-bow smash. Carnival Corporation's Micky Arison and Princess Cruises' Peter Ratcliffe were on hand for the event.

The ship was formerly called Diamond Princess before a shipyard fire made it necessary for Princess to swap it with its twin vessel (also under construction at Mitsubishi) and rename it Sapphire. The fire set the schedule of the newbuild, slated to be the first of two to be introduced, back a few months.  Still with us? And so the former Sapphire Princess was renamed Diamond Princess and will now receive first-launch honors.

The 113,000-ton, 2,670-passenger Sapphire Princess, which launches in June, will, like sister ship Diamond Princess, feature many of Princess' contemporary trademarks, including Skywalkers, the Wheelhouse Bar, Explorers Lounge, a wedding chapel and an extensive facility for children.