ROYAL PRINCESS Pre-Decked!, Part One (Top Decks)

Peter Knego continues his visit to the famed Monfalcone-based Fincantieri shipyard with a press tour of Princess Cruises’ under-construction, 141,000 gross ton, 3,600 passenger ROYAL PRINCESS. Part one covers the massive new ship’s top deck areas.

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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ROYAL PRINCESS aerial rendering, courtesy of Princess Cruises.

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ROYAL PRINCESS 3/4 bow view rendering, courtesy of Princess Cruises.

Here are some views of the ROYAL PRINCESS as she will appear in June when the ship embarks on her maiden voyage from Southampton to Iberia. At the yard, she was so large, there was no time to get far enough away for a proper overall view.

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Flanks of ROYAL.

Our consummate hosts at Princess and Fincantieri managed to squeeze a lot of events into one short but exhilarating day. After our brief break following the REGAL PRINCESS’ floating out ceremony, we were taken across the yard to her slightly older sister, the ROYAL PRINCESS (which was floated out last August 16). It was such an honor to be able to “preview” a ship that is three months away from completion, especially in the company of the executives, designers and architects that conceived her.

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Under the cranes.

The utter scale of these two ships is breathtaking. Not only are they more than a fifth of a mile long but they are 217 feet tall, the height of a twenty story building. And the cranes that are building them soar much higher.

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You lift me up!

We immediately boarded on Deck 4 and were taken via lifts (remarkably finished ones at that) up to Deck 14.

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Wired beyond imagination!

We crossed through a construction zone that will soon be guest staterooms and into the wheelhouse.

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Captain Tony Draper sounds an exciting and new whistle.

As workers scurried about connecting instrument panels and electrical fittings, we huddled around Cornwall-based Captain Tony Draper, who joined Princess as a navigator on board the original ISLAND PRINCESS (now sailing as DISCOVERY). Before taking the helm of the new ROYAL PRINCESS, he mastered RUBY, EMERALD, CROWN, CARIBBEAN, DAWN, SUN and CORAL PRINCESS as well as ships for sister company P&O Australia. After a short introduction, he sounded the ROYAL PRINCESS’ whistle for the very first time — no “ordinary” whistle, it played the first notes of the “Love Boat” theme song!

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Bridge, facing port.

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Giacamo Mortola.

In the wheelhouse, marine architect Giacomo Mortola was also inspecting the hardware. Mortola began working with Sitmar Cruises in 1974 and rose through the ranks to become the principal designer of the FAIRSKY of 1984 (which last sailed as the ATLANTIC STAR and is now under tow to what will likely be her final resting place at Alang). In the interim, Mortola not only has contributed interior design to all of the recent Princess newbuilds but also to several smaller, deluxe ships for Silversea Cruises.

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Chart Room, facing aft.

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“Attenzione Vetri, Attenzione.”

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Blank stairs.

From the bridge, we headed aft through the incomplete canvas of the Chart Room and up two levels to the Deck 16 (Lido) Pool Area.

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Pool area, facing aft from Deck 16.

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Fountain Pool area, facing aft. Rendering courtesy of Princess Cruises.

We emerged to find many of its basic elements, including pools and Jaccuzis, in place. When it is finished, the area will boast palm trees, and two fresh water pools flanking an island between them. During the day, there will be a variety of seating options, including circular loungers, garden-style furniture, bar-height tables and stools, and chaise lounges.

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Pool area, facing aft from Deck 17.

And another view, this time from Deck 17 (Sun), where the scope of the massive Movies Under The Stars LED screen could be fully taken in. Even passing ships should be able to see what is being broadcast on board ROYAL PRINCESS!

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Movies Under The Stars rendering, courtesy of Princess Cruises.

At night, the top deck of ROYAL PRINCESS will transform with architectural lighting effects to set the mood. The island area between the two pools will become a stage showcasing an interactive sound and light show featuring computerized dancing fountains featuring 85 water jets that will shoot up to 33 feet into the night sky.

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And across the way, with just enough of her grilled funnel casing in place to host Princess’ iconic sea witch logo, the REGAL PRINCESS beckoned.

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Deck 17, facing forward.

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ROYAL radio mast.

On forward Deck 17, we had new architectural forms to behold, including a dynamic new radio mast spire that towers over the swim-against-the-current forward pool.

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Sanctuary, facing port.

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Sanctuary, facing starboard. Rendering courtesy of Princess Cruises.

From there, we walked forward to the Sanctuary, already recognizable for its cocoon of glass and trademark awnings. The ROYAL PRINCESS marks an advance in style for Princess without abandoning the features that have made the fleet so popular with regular guests.

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Movies “Under The Stars LED screen.

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Midships pool area, facing port.

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Starboard Deck 17, facing aft.

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Midships pool area, facing forward from Deck 17.

As the “Love Boat” jingle echoed across the skies of Monfalcone, we continued aft on Deck 17 with more views of the midships pools and futuristic funnel.

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SeaWalker.  Photo by Matteo Martinuzzi.

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SeaWalk from below, rendering courtesy of Princess Cruises.

Decks 16 and 17 feature a spectacular first for Princess, a cantilevered arc of glass and steel called SeaWalk, projecting 28 feet beyond the starboard side of the ship,

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SeaWalk interior, rendering courtesy of Princess Cruises.

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Trepidatious toes in the SeaWalk.

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SeaWalk overhang.

At 60 feet long and hovering 128 feet above the ocean, this dramatic glass-bottomed walkway offers unparalleled views unlike those on any other ship.

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Seaview Bar.

On the port side, the SeaView Bar also projects over the ocean for cocktails with vertiginous vistas.

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Forward Horizon Court, facing aft.

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Horizon Court signage.

The aft portion of Deck 16 is dedicated to an expanded Horizon Court casual dining area. It will be an improved version of those on the Grand Class ships with an emphasis on action stations with specific offerings, helping offset long queues. In the forward portion, there will be new bistro options, like a crab shack complete with mallets and bibs, or an opportunity to try fondues from around the world.

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Horizon Court Buffet rendering, courtesy of Princess Cruises.

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Aft Horizon Court, facing aft.

New choices such as Asian cuisine, Mediterranean dishes, a pasta corner and salad-tossing stations will be featured in the Horizon Court. For dinner on certain nights, guests may find a Brazilian churrascaria, Argentine gaucho theme, a European bistro or British pub.

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Teresa Anderson, VP of Design.

In addition to Giacomo Mortola, Princess VP of Interior Design, Teresa Anderson was on hand to not only answer our questions but inspect the wares. The Peruvian-born Anderson joined Princess in 1994 and has overseen the interior design development for all newbuilds and ship refurbishments since. When asked about her design concept for ROYAL PRINCESS, Anderson stated that the new ship’s styling is based on a concept of “‘global chic’, taking influences from fashion, art and history… what you capture when you’re traveling the world.”

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Center Court from above. Rendering courtesy of Princess Cruises.

Our last stop before heading into the heart of the ship was the Center Court sports area way up on aft Deck 18 (Sky). It will feature a volleyball/tennis/basketball/badminton court in the shelter aft of the funnel casing. Nearby, there will be a (baseball) batting cage, a double-lane jogging track with separate paths for runners and walkers and a golf driving area.

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Roberto Bruzzone in Center Court,

Roberto Bruzzone, the young wunderkind who is in charge of all Fincantieri ships built by the Carnival Corporation was among our ship inspecting caucus. Although Bruzzone’s current task of managing the two biggest passenger ships built in Italy might seem daunting, he was juggling no less than three behemoths (CARNIVAL MAGIC, AZURA and QUEEN ELIZABETH) when I last saw him.

End of ROYAL PRINCESS Pre-Decked!, Part One (Top Deck Areas)

Much More To Come…

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

Peter Knego

Peter Knego

Having documented over 400 passenger ships and taken more than 200 cruises, MaritimeMatters’ co-editor Peter Knego is a leading freelance cruise writer, a respected ocean liner historian and frequent maritime lecturer both on land and at sea.  With his work regularly featured in cruise industry trades and consumer publications.  Knego also runs the website which offers MidCentury cruise ship furniture, artwork and fittings rescued from the shipbreaking yards of Alang, India.  He has produced several videos on the subject, including his latest, The Sands Of Alang and the best-selling On The Road To Alang."
Peter Knego

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