Princess Cruises and shipbuilder Fincantieri Shipyard recently commemorated the beginning of Star Princess’s construction with a keel-laying ceremony in Monfalcone, Italy.
The vessel’s 500-ton keel, or the lowest part of the ship, was ceremoniously lowered by crane. A computer helped guide it into place as it was positioned atop the keel blocks inside the dry dock. The keel is the first part of the ship that is built.
Locking it into place is an important part of construction as it signified the start of over two million hours of work that’s needed before it’s ready for the next steps: the float-out, sea trials, and handover.
After the blessing and ceremony, executives from the cruise line and shipyard welded a Princess Medallion onto the keel, a tradition that hopes to bring good luck to the vessel and its passengers.
Scheduled for a summer 2025 debut, Star Princess is the second Sphere-class ship after Sun Princess and the cruise operator’s first LNG-powered ship.
Once built, it will be the cruise line’s biggest vessel at 175,500 tons and 1,133 feet—20% bigger than the company’s existing vessels. It will accommodate up to 4,300 passengers—800 more than Princess’ previous Royal-class cruise ships.
Inside, guests can look forward to an entertainment venue called “The Dome,” a piazza enclosed by a glass sphere, a state-of-the-art theater, and a 3-story dining area with spectacular views from the stern.
Company President John Padgett described its design: “Our multi-decade shipbuilding collaboration continues to progress as we build spectacular ships that are enabled by the most advanced technology available while infusing magnificent Italian craftsmanship and respecting beautiful Princess design heritage.”
During the Princess’ inaugural season, it will sail from Fort Lauderdale to the Caribbean, Panama Canal, Mexico, California, and Hawaii.
Sister ship Sun Princess, will debut early next year, sailing a season in the Med before repositioning to South Florida.