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Posted on Wednesday, March 27, 2013 by

Peter Knego visits the famed Monfalcone-based Fincantieri shipyard where so many illustrious Italian liners were “born” to witness the floating out ceremony of Princess Cruises newest ship, the 141,000 gross ton, 3,600 passenger REGAL PRINCESS.

Princess Cruises

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All photos by and copyright Peter Knego 2013 unless otherwise noted.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

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Fincantieri double take.

Few things excite me as much as a visit to a shipyard and very few of those have a pedigree like Fincantieri’s Monfalcone-based division.

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Now part of the Italian shipbuilding conglomerate Fincantieri, the former Cantieri Riuniti dell’Adriatico is where some of the most illustrious liners of all time were conceived and built. Magical vessels like SATURNIA, GIULIO CESARE, PILSUDSKI, STOCKHOLM and OCEANIC thundered down its slipways. At the entrance to the yard’s headquarters, there is an engraved steel panel showing all the liners, tankers, warships and massive modern cruise ships to have emerged from its portals.

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EUGENIO profile.

The last liner to be traditionally launched at Monfalcone was Costa’s gorgeous EUGENIO C in 1964. After that, a giant dry dock was built and all subsequent passenger ships were floated out.

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Hull number 6224 under construction.

Speaking of the floating out process, at the bottom of the giant Monfalcone “altar”, the outline of our subject, hull number 6224 awaited filling in. Laid down only seven months prior, it’s 30,000 ton (weight — not gross tonnage) shell had been basically completed and was now ready to be moved from the giant graving dock to be fitted out with the machinery, fixtures and fittings that will transform it from a mass of steel into Princess Cruises’ vibrant, state-of-the-art REGAL PRINCESS.

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Hard hats.

After an espresso (always the first priority in Italy) in the offices that were once home to Nicolo Costanzi and a cabal of the greatest marine architects the world has ever seen, we donned stylish blue hard hats and were escorted to the graving dock.

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REGAL PRINCESS at Monfalcone.

The seventeen deck REGAL PRINCESS towered over us like a massive skyscraper. She and her twin sister, the ROYAL PRINCESS (which was in the fitting out basin on the other side of the yard) are the largest passenger ships ever built in Italy, measuring 141,000 gross tons, with a length of 1,083 feet and a beam of 126 feet.

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Adding to her girth are the spectacular SeaWalk arcs of glass and steel that project from either side of the ship, giving her a full beam of 155 feet. More on those in the next report!

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REGAL bridge.

REGAL PRINCESS’ massive, angular bridge projects over the forward superstructure and extends well beyond the sides of the ship.

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Regale that PRINCESS!

Photos just don’t seem to convey the awesome scale of the ship and the giant blue crane that formed her by lowering huge blocks of steel into place like so many parts of a three-dimensional jigsaw puzzle.

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REGAL flanks.

Hundreds of workers and VIPs were assembled for the blessing by a local priest and the “launch” by the ship’s first madrina (godmother), Carolyn Spencer Brown, editor-in-chief of CruiseCritic.com.

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Left to right: Fincantieri manager Carlo De Marco, Cruise Critic’s Carolyn Spencer Brown, Princess’ Rai Calouri.

Carolyn is a diligent, thorough journalist that has guided CruiseCritic from modest beginnings into the cruise industry’s largest and most powerful website. She seemed genuinely excited to have been bestowed with the honor of floating out such an important ship.

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Post christening pose.

La Spencer Brown sent a magnum of champagne crashing into the ship’s port bow. A long whistle blast followed (presumably from the yard, itself, since the REGAL PRINCESS had not yet been fitted with one).

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REGAL P bulbous bow to ROYAL P.

REGAL PRINCESS introduces an entirely new look to the Princess fleet. Her hull design, with its particularly prominent bulbous bow and duck-tailed stern is more hydro-dynamic than the line’s prior ships, which will make her both more economical to run and a bit “greener”, due to fuel savings. Aesthetically, the team of architects that created her have given the new Princess ship a funnel similar to his design for RCI’s OASIS class and a stern somewhat reminiscent of Celebrity’s SOLSTICE class.

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Rising sun.

And yet, despite the new look, tradition reigns on with the P&O rising sun bow crest, which has been fitted to every Princess ship since the iconic British line’s purchase of then fledgling Princess Cruises in 1975. Now, of course, P&O is a sister cruise line to Princess, both of which are part of the Carnival Cruise Lines empire.

REGAL Ingress.

REGAL Ingress.

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History was in the making as the Adriatic waters began their trickle into the graving dock — a process that would take two days before the REGAL PRINCESS could be towed out to the fitting basin to begin the next stage of her construction.

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Matteo Martinuzzi and his book about Monfalcone.

Likewise, our group trickled back to headquarters where we nibbled away at hors d’oeuvres and sipped celebratory champagne. While Carolyn was presented with a silver box containing the neck of the bottled used to christen the ship, I had a chance to visit with Italian ship historian Matteo Martinuzzi, who wrote a wonderful book entitled “Cantieri 1908 — 2008: 100 Anni Di Navi Monfalcone” about the shipyard in our surrounds.

All this and the day had only just begun. We would continue our time in Monfalcone with an enticing visit to the under-construction ROYAL PRINCESSS.


Coming Next, a visit to the under-construction ROYAL PRINCESS at Monfalcone…

Very Special Thanks: Julie Benson, Karen Candy, Martin Cox, Brian Henriksen

18 Responses to REGAL PRINCESS Float Out

  1. Sherry

    March 27, 2013 at 8:44 am

    Great post, Peter. Thanks for sharing terrific coverage of the event.


  2. Peter Knego

    March 27, 2013 at 8:53 am

    Thanks so much, Sherry! Appreciate the tweet, too! :)

  3. Christine

    March 27, 2013 at 9:11 am

    Peter – as always thank-you! I have enjoyed reading your reviews and viewing your pictures for years! I have a great love for ships and you help feed my passion.


  4. Peter Knego

    March 27, 2013 at 9:15 am

    Christine, what a sweet and kind comment! Appreciate it very much! :)

  5. Teijo Niemela

    March 27, 2013 at 12:34 pm

    Hi Peter,

    Thanks for the great coverage so far!


  6. Hank

    March 27, 2013 at 12:39 pm

    Great article Peter!

  7. Peter Knego

    March 27, 2013 at 1:34 pm

    Teijo, we missed you! Hope all is well. Thank you, Hank! :)

  8. Kalle Id

    March 27, 2013 at 1:59 pm

    Delightful to see a new and somewhat different-looking Princess ship under construction. Regarding her stern, in your photo she doesn’t resemble so much the Solstice class as she does the fellow Fincantieri built Marina and Regatta. Or that’s what it looks like to me anyway.

  9. Andrew Naylor

    March 27, 2013 at 3:49 pm

    Yet another ship from the people who have given use the “Recent Procession” of cruise ships loosing power and having overflowing loo’s
    I hope they have updated the power management on this one, before its the black tank is FULL.

  10. Peter Knego

    March 28, 2013 at 1:40 am

    From my conversations with the people who built her, I understand this ship has complete redundancy. — Peter

  11. Doug

    March 28, 2013 at 11:46 am

    Great post my friend. Always enjoy your stories in pictures. Keep rocking and hope to see you soon.

  12. Jimmy Bonar, Jr

    March 28, 2013 at 1:09 pm

    I served on the original Regal Princess in 2005…a truly special ship…here’s hoping the new Regal will have that special magic too.

  13. Corey Abelove

    March 28, 2013 at 6:35 pm

    Is it just me, or does Regal Princess bear a striking resemblance to NCL’S new Breakaway class ?

  14. Tom Christman

    March 31, 2013 at 10:30 am

    Thank you Peter for your continued coverages of all ships. I’m a little disappointed in the design of the Regal-it looks like any of the other mega monsters now. At least the Grand Class had a distinct look-especially the bow walk around. As stated before, I hope this ship doesn’t suffer from total electrical failure since it is also made by Fincantieri.

  15. Kenenth Eden

    March 31, 2013 at 1:48 pm

    It seems to come down to this, STYLe

    Forget the demands of what passengers need and what his contained within the ships, it is the actual exterior style of the new ships.

    Not all ships were nearly identical in the not to distant past. Yet the ships had a certain flair, a beauty unto themselves, that set them apart fro all others, even rebuilt freighters and ferries became uique in their profiles and exterior appearance.

    I have tried to envision hundreds of balconied cabins set up high from the life boats and I honestly can not see anything that can possibly change the looks of the new ships.

    A cruise symposium held last month in March in Miami promised a “new look” for new cruise ships, as well as mid-keel propulsion. What this could mean or will be is totaly a wait and see, I feel.

  16. Pat Moser

    April 8, 2013 at 5:02 pm

    So exciting to see Carolyn Spencer Brown as Godmother to that magnificient ship, Regal Princess. I live in Chestertown; Carolyn lived here a dozen or so years back. I am so pleased for her. Hello Carolyn!

  17. Amy Elliott

    April 8, 2013 at 6:22 pm

    Hi Martin Cox,

    I love getting your e-newsletter! It’s amazing to see the passion and interest you had those many years ago burst out into the world and become so full and rich. Ah, the Regal Princess what a beauty.

  18. gordon

    June 22, 2013 at 7:48 am

    I have enjoyed reading your observations. I noticed in your report on the Royal Princess your cabin was D507 which is the new “deluxe” type. We are booked in D506 for the Regal which is the standard balcony. Did you like the location of your cabin? Was the extra 20 sq. ft. in the deluxe noticiable? Thanks for your help and keep up the good work!

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