Princess Cruises today marked the beginning of construction of the second of its new generation of ships with the official keel laying ceremony at the Fincantieri shipyard in Monfalcone, Italy. At the same time the line announced that the ship’s name will be Regal Princess.

Following a traditional blessing by a priest, the ship’s keel – which weighs approximately 500 tons – was moved into position by a huge crane onto the keel blocks. The computer-guided maneuver took only minutes, belying the more than 2 million man hours that will ultimately go into building the vessel. The 3,600-passenger, 141,000-ton ship will remain in the building dock until its float-out next summer.

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