After a last-minute hiccup during sea trials, requiring an unexpected return to dry dock for emergency repairs, Royal Princess is sailing to Britain.
With its air-conditioning compressors working properly again, the 4,000-passenger ship was handed over by its builders in Italy yesterday, and Capt Tony Draper is now at the controls.
The flags of Italy and Fincantieri were ceremoniously lowered before the flags of Princess and Bermuda – where the vessel is registered – were raised.
At 141,000 tons, Royal Princess is the largest ship ever built for Princess Cruises, and the biggest assembled at Fincantieri’s Monfalcone yard, near Trieste. The yard is now building Regal Princess, which will be launched next year, and a near-identical ship for P&O, who have not yet announced its name.
Royal Princess is due to arrive in Southampton next Friday
A week of special events and two mini-cruises are planned before the ship sets off on its maiden voyage on June 16.
NEXT WEEK: Take a guided tour inside Royal Princess