The Royal Princess, the new flagship of the Princess Cruises fleet owned by the Carnival Group, the world's largest cruise ship operator, was launched today at Fincantieri’s Monfalcone shipyard.

Delivery is scheduled for spring 2013, while its sister ship, whose construction will start this month at the same yard, will be delivered in 2014.

Attending the ceremony for Princess Cruises were Alan Buckelew, President and CEO, Rai Caluori, Vice President Fleet Operations, and Stuart Hawkins, Vice President Newbuilding.

Representing Fincantieri were, among others, Gabriele Cocco, Executive Senior Vice President Merchant Vessels, and Carlo De Marco, Shipyard Manager.

Godmother of the ceremony was Victoria Nash, Captain Nick Nash’s daughter, who was christened onboard of the first Royal Princess.

The construction of the Royal Princess consolidates Fincantieri’s primacy in building the largest passenger ships in Italian shipbuilding history.

In fact, at 141,000 gross tons, 330 metres long and 38 metres wide, the new ship is the largest ship ever built by Fincantieri.

It has 1,780 cabins, of which 1,438 with balconies (81% of the total), and is able to accommodate 3,600 passengers, with total capacity for over 5,600 people including crew.

.As an innovative prototype for a new ground-breaking class of ship, the Royal Princess stands out for its new "future-proof design", not only in terms of layout and state-of-the-art performance, but also because it complies with the most recent regulations in shipping.

Among the keystones of this trend are the rational use of space, with the aim of avoiding any wasted tonnage that would otherwise increase operating costs, and energy saving to reduce emissions into the  atmosphere and water. The ship will be able to adapt to every possible type of cruise, operating from Alaska to Australia, even in environmentally protected areas where navigation is restricted.

The ship therefore represents a major industrial investment, and as such is Fincantieri's best response to the world market crisis.

Fincantieri has built 63 cruise ships since 1990, including 13 only for Princess Cruises. Another 7 ships are being built or about to be built in the Group's yards.