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Monfalcone yard lays keel for Princess China newbuild

Lion dance for an auspicious occasion. From left, Princess officials Julie Benson, Cherry Wang and Tony Kaufman with Fincantieri's Attilio Dapelo (Photo: Fincantieri)
In a colorful ceremony featuring a traditional Chinese lion dance, the keel was laid at Fincantieri's Monfalcone shipyard for Princess Cruises' first newbuild designed for the China market.

The 143,000gt ship is built on the Royal Princess (2013) and Regal Princess (2014) platform and is due for delivery in 2017. It can carry 3,560 passengers.

Year-round deployment from Shanghai is planned.

Following the lion dance and a priest's blessing, the 500-ton keel was moved into position by crane onto the keel blocks in a computer-guided maneuver that took only minutes.

On hand for the festivities were Princess officials Tony Kaufman, svp Asia operations; Julie Benson, former long-time vp public relations; and Cherry Wang, country director-China. They were accompanied by Attilio Dapelo, director of the Monfalcone yard.

The lion dance is performed on auspicious occasions. According to traditional Chinese belief, the lion symbolizes courage, wisdom and good fortune and brings happiness, longevity and good luck.

'We believe this special ceremony will bring prosperity and good fortune to Princess Cruises and our guests in China,' Wang said.

Fincantieri has built 70 cruise ships since 1990, 47 of those since 2002, and 14 more are currently being designed or built in the group's yards.