Last updated: 11:28 AM ET, Fri July 10 2015

Keel Laid on Princess Ship Bound for China

Cruise Line & Cruise Ship | Princess Cruises | Theresa Norton | July 10, 2015

Keel Laid on Princess Ship Bound for China

PHOTO: Traditional Chinese dragons flank, from left, Julie Benson, retired Princess Cruises executive, Cherry Wang of Carnival China, Fincantieri’s Attilio Dapelo, and Anthony Kaufman, senior vice president of Asia operations for Princess Cruises. (Courtesy of Fincantieri)

A keel-laying ceremony was held July 10 for the new 145,000-ton, 3,560-passenger ship that Princess Cruises will base in China when it enters service in mid-2017.

The new vessel, under construction at the Fincantieri shipyard in Monfalcone, Italy, is similar to the Royal and Regal Princess ships.

Based in Shanghai, the ship will be the first year-round international vessel designed and built specifically for Chinese guests, according to a press release from parent company Carnival Corp.

“Deploying our next new ship in China underscores our strong commitment to growing the China cruise market and providing discerning travelers with amazing holiday experiences at sea,” Princess President Jan Swartz said in an earlier press release.

Princess began cruising from a China homeport last year. The Sapphire Princess returned in June for a second season from Shanghai, which runs through October.

A special guest at the keel-laying ceremony was Julie Benson, the former vice president of public relations for Princess Cruises, who retired in late May. The festivities included a traditional Chinese lion dance for good luck.

The as-yet-unnamed ship will have a multi-story atrium, a top-deck glass-bottomed walkway, the largest pastry shop at sea, a water fountain and music show, and Lumiere, a private dining table surrounded by a curtain of light for chef’s table experiences.

The ship also will offer experiences designed to appeal to the Chinese market, including traditional English afternoon tea, a lobster grill, an ocean-view hot pot dinner option, ballroom dancing, and extensive duty-free shopping.

For more information on Princess Cruises, China, Italy

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