In an industry-first, events took place at Fincantieri shipyard in Monfalcone, Italy, to mark the construction progress for each of the 3,660-guest Sky Princess, Enchanted Princess and a sixth Royal-class ship yet to be named. For Sky Princess, which will launch in October this year, a Madrina ceremony was held.
The ceremony saw Kerry Ann Wright, a Glasgow-based second officer for Princess Cruises, wish the ship a safe onward journey with a blessing at the shipyard. Wright began her career at sea working in the onboard hotel department before beginning her own deck cadetship.
After several years of study, she qualified as an officer of the watch in 2015 and gained her chief mates license in 2018, leading to her present role on sister ship, Royal Princess. She was nominated as Madrina by her fellow crew members.
For Enchanted Princess, which is due for completion next year, a keel laying ceremony took place.
Following a traditional blessing, executives from Princess Cruises and Fincantieri kicked off the countdown to completion of the fifth Royal-class ship by ceremoniously lowering a 500-tonne keel – the bottom-most part of the ship – into position in the dry dock.
Representatives and invited guests then participated in a traditional good luck coin ceremony, which comprised welding an Ocean Medallion into the ship. Enchanted Princess will launch in Southampton in June 2020.
Finally, a steel-cutting ceremony was held for the final Royal-class ship. The ceremony took place during a live broadcast from Naples, Italy, and marked the cutting of the first plates of steel. These signaled the beginning of construction of the ship scheduled to launch in 2022.
With two further ships on order for delivery in 2023 and 2025, Princess Cruises will increase its capacity by 32% over the next six years.
Jan Swartz, Princess Cruises president, said: “The number of people enjoying cruise holidays has increased, on average, by more than one million every year over the last decade, an increase of more than 68%.
“As we continue to grow our fleet with five new ships arriving by 2025 – maintaining our position as the fastest growing premium cruise line in the world – we’re proud to not only celebrate these three major construction milestones in the same day but also to continue to innovate our product with cutting-edge technology and elevated guest experiences that will be offered on all of these ships.”