Keel laying.jpg
Two rainy days, two cruise ships at the opposite ends of their lives, and two contrasting pictures. In a shipyard Italy yesterday a traditional ceremony marked the keel-laying of Royal Princess; thousands of miles away in a Chinese breakers’ yard, Saga Rose nears the end of her life.
The first 500-ton construction block for the new 3,600-passenger Royal Princess was blessed by a priest before being lowered into drydock at Fincantieri’e Monfalcone yard near Trieste (above).
The first in a new class of ships – a similar vessel will be built for P&O – Royal Princess will be floated out of dry-dock next summer and completed in May 2013.
“It’s always very exciting to mark this step in a ship’s construction, when several of the pre-built sections come together to form a new addition to our fleet, especially with a prototype design,” said Alan Buckelew, president and CEO of Princess Cruises, who travelled to Italy for the ceremony.
It will be some months before construction workers add one of Royal Princess’s most innovative features, the SeaWalk glass-floored walkway extending 20-feet beyond the edge of the vessel, 128-feet above the waves. On the opposite side it will be balanced by the SeaView Bar.
More details of the ship will be released over the next few months, and a video preview and computer images are available at
Meanwhile, after being retired from service in 2009 and having failed to find a new owner prepared to spend millions on a re-fit, Saga Rose is being scrapped at a yard on the Yangtze River, up-river from Shanghai (below).
Originally built as Sagafjord and entering service in 1965, the ship was acquired by Saga in1997. The ship holds the world record for the number of world cruises completed, at 44. But now she’s going nowhere.