(9:40 a.m. EST) -- Princess Cruises leveraged its "Love Boat" heritage on Valentine's Day by marking three shipyard milestones for their next new ships -- Sky Princess, Enchanted Princess and a third yet-to-be-named ship -- all of which will have the line's new Ocean Medallion technology. The events, spearheaded by Princess Cruises and Carnival Australia Group President Jan Swartz, took place in person at the Fincantieri shipyard in Monfalcone, Italy, with a live feed also broadcasting from the Italian company's yard in Castellammare di Stabia.In her remarks, Swartz celebrated the longtime partnership with Fincantieri, which started when the line built its original Crown Princess in 1990. Princess Cruises has five ships currently either in the works or on order with the yard, which will increase capacity for the line by 32 percent by 2025.Here's the ship-by-ship breakdown of the events:
Launching on Oct. 15, 2019, Sky Princess is the line's first new ship to have the ground-breaking Ocean Medallion personalization technology built right in. (Ocean Medallion has already debuted on Caribbean Princess and will be rolling out to three other Princess ships so far in 2019 -- Regal Princess, Royal Princess and Crown Princess).On Thursday, the line celebrated the upcoming 3,660-passenger ship with a madrina ceremony, complete with a Champagne bottle smashing across the hull. Kerry Ann Wright, a second officer for Princess who will be working on Sky Princess, served as the madrina.Wright was selected during a search throughout the company for an employee who personified the theme of the ship, "Reach for the Sky," Swartz said. A UK native, Wright began in the cruise industry as a spa therapist and then switched gears, training to become a deck cadet. She received her Chief Mates license in 2018 and is now a second officer on Royal Princess.Highlights of Sky Princess include the two-bedroom Sky Suites, which boast what the line is calling the largest balconies at sea (at 1,012 and 947 square feet, depending on what side of the ship you're on). The ship will also have MedallionNet highspeed internet that is supposed to rival the service that you find on land, more cabanas at its adults-only Sanctuary, more than 25 restaurants and bars, a new jazz lounge Take Five and the line's largest thermal suite.In an interview with Cruise Critic, Swartz highlighted the fact that Sky Princess passengers will all receive the Ocean Medallion experience right away; the other ships in the fleet had it added retroactively. Every guest has a favorite feature of Ocean Medallion, she said, whether it's being able to keep track of a spouse as they move about the ship or the speedy embarkation. She said she enjoyed the greetings from crew members as she celebrated a recent special anniversary onboard; because the Medallion contains the information, the crew are able to be more personal. "You can really relax on your vacation and spend more time doing what you love."After it launches in the Mediterranean, Sky Princess will move to its Fort Lauderdale homeport. The christening is scheduled for December 3, 2019.
Coming in June 2020, Enchanted Princess will also have Ocean Medallion technology built in -- a fact that the line celebrated by embedding one of the discs into the keel instead of a traditional coin."We hope the Ocean Medallion, which is now a permanent part of the ship, brings good luck during construction," said Keith Taylor, executive vice president of fleet operations.After the Medallion was welded into the keel, a local priest blessed it. Then the 500-ton block was lowered into construction position with a huge crane.Also with 3,660 passengers, Enchanted Princess will sail Mediterranean itineraries after a christening in Southampton.
The third part of the Princess "triple crown," the steel cutting for the sixth and final Royal-class ship, took place at a Fincantieri shipyard near Naples, witnessed by the crowd via a live feed.The ship, which is not yet named, is scheduled to launch in 2022.
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