Princess Cruises newest ship to be named Royal Princess, feature some industry firsts

As the heads of the cruise industry meet in Miami this week, details about the newest Princess Cruises ship were revealed including the name.

Construction on the Royal Princess has just begun, with the first steel plate cut at the Fincantieri shipyards in Monfalcone. The 3,600-passenger, 141,000-ton vessel will debut in the spring of 2013.

If the name sounds familiar, it's because the line has had two other ships that previously used the name Royal Princess. The first Royal Princess joined the fleet in 1984, and was inaugurated by Diana, Princess of Wales, before being transferred to P&O Cruises in 2005 and renamed MS Artemis. The second Royal Princess joined the fleet in 2007 from Swan Hellenic sailing as MS Minerva II, but was originally built in 2001 for the now defunct Renaissance Cruises. The current ship is slated to be transferred to P&O Cruises in May 2011 and renamed MS Adonia.

"Princess passengers will easily recognize our next ship as a natural progression in our fleet," said Princess President and CEO Alan Buckelew. "We're taking the best features of our newest vessels that have been such customer pleasers, and taking them to the next level. Just as the original Royal Princess ushered in a new era for our company with its innovative design, we expect our new Royal Princess to do the same."

Some of the new design features worth noting are a see-through, glass-enclosed walkway called the SeaWalk that will venture out over the water from the top deck 128 feet above the water. That starboard-side feature will be coupled with the port-side SeaView bar, also featuring see-through glass flooring that juts out over the open water. The top deck will also be home to an adults-only pool, the highlight of which will be seven private cabanas that appear to float on the water. Two more pools will rest beside a tropical island that will be pool seating by day and an outdoor dance club at night.

The Movies Under the Stars screen popular on other Princess Cruises vessels will be present midship with the largest screen so far for the line and play high-definition features. Several other halmalk features of Princess Cruises will be expanded including The Sanctuary spa and Piazza atrium within the ship. The interior will include 260,000 square feet of public space. Also of note, all of the outside staterooms will have balconies.

The Royal Princess is the first of two ships being built for the line. The second is expected in spring 2014. The line currently sails 17 ships carrying 1.3 million passengers a year.

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