At 1300 hours (local time) on, Wednesday May 15 2013, a ceremony to mark the keel laying of the largest cruise ship ever built for the British market took place at the Monfalcone shipyard of Fincantieri near Trieste, Italy. The 141,000-ton cruise ship will enter service in 2015.
This next-generation ship will offer a stylish and innovative new design, with an unprecedented number of passenger facilities together with many iconic signatures of the P&O Cruises brand. She will offer the “best of the best”, combining favourite classic features of ships such as Oriana and Aurora, the wide choice and variety of Ventura and Azura and a host of new concepts which will include some yet-to-be-announced “sophisticated wows”. In delivering the ultimate P&O Cruises experience, the ship will be designed to attract many thousands of newcomers and will equally resonate with existing passengers by delivering the sense of P&O-ness for which the brand is held in such high regard. At the same time, the ship will be designed to deliver much greater levels of operational and environmental efficiency.
The keel laying will involve the placement in the dry dock of the first section of the ship’s hull weighing 500-tonnes. This section is made up of 6 pre-manufactured blocks, weighs 408 tons and is fitted with 214 tons of pipes, cables, insulation and other equipment.
The ceremony follows an intensive period of design and development. 74 sections will be used in the construction of the ship.
In a speech Carnival UK CEO David Dingle said: “Each of our new ships has been exclusively designed for the British market. We have ensured that each anticipates the subtly changing trends in what British passengers expect from their cruise holiday – and is equipped to meet those expectations for many years to come. Our success in adapting to the market’s changing needs is why our ships continue to fill and why the whole cruise sector ultimately continues to buck any downward trend. We cannot wait to see this ship finished and underway”.Fincantieri Shipyard Director Carlo De Marco said: “We are proud to be on the world stage together with P&O Cruises in this endeavour which will undoubtedly be a marvellous opportunity not only for Monfalcone shipyard but for Fincantieri as a whole. Indeed, this is another occasion to further strengthen our relationship with this well-established ship owner. It will be an honour and a pleasure, to celebrate in 2015 the delivery of this ship and together the tenth anniversary of the collaboration between P&O Cruises and Fincantieri, started in 2005 with Arcadia”. P&O Cruises Managing Director, Carol Marlow, will give the order to lay the keel with the words: “Diamo il via alla posa del primo blocco della più grande nave, la migliore, mai costruita per il mercato Britannico!” [Please lay the keel of the biggest and best ship ever built for the British market!]