The upcoming Royal Princess met water for the first time today at a ceremony overseen by her ‘madrina.’ Seventeen-year-old Victoria Nash kicked off the float out process for the new ship by cutting the rope to release the crashing bottle of champagne upon her bow.

Victoria – daughter to seasoned Princess Cruises’ captain Nick Nash – was christened herself onboard the original 1984 Royal Princess when she was a baby, and thus she was given the honor of being put in charge of the ship’s ceremonial well being. Today’s event was attended by Alan Buckelew, president and CEO of Princess Cruises; Victoria; Captain Tony Draper, the new Royal Princess‘ assigned master; and Nick Nash, the captain of the first Royal Princess from 2002 to 2003 (seen in the photo below from left to right).

(Copyright © Princess Cruises)

When Victoria was christened in 1996 (as seen in the photo below with now Captain Nick Nash, Sue Nash, and now Captain Alan Wilson from left to right), the ship’s bell from the original Royal Princess was used as the christening bowl, which later was even etched inside with her name to commemorate. That very bell was featured prominently in today’s ceremony as it will also be onboard the new Royal Princess.

(Copyright © Princess Cruises)

As Alan Buckelew explained, “Captain Nash was presented with the ship’s bell from our original Royal Princess following its decommissioning, and we are delighted that he has very generously offered this bell to be placed aboard our new Royal Princess, in honor of his daughter. Thank you Nick, for this wonderful gift.”

“The original Royal Princess left our fleet some time ago, but we wanted to bring the spirit of that much-loved ship, also a prototype design, to the new Royal Princess,” also said Buckelew. “And who better to do that than Victoria, who has grown up into a beautiful young lady who will now have a special connection with both vessels.”

This is an exciting piece of news for me too as I also have a history with the original Royal since that was the first cruise ship I ever sailed on before I was even two years old in 1984 (seen below, yours truly with the first Royal Princess behind me in a similarly “dated” photo as the one above).

The new Royal Princess – with now 95% of her steelwork complete – has been under construction for the last 10 months at the Fincantieri shipyard in Italy, and with Victoria’s cutting of the rope, water was released into the basin where she sits to begin the two day process of floating her out.

Once repositioned to the yard’s finishing berth, the vessel will finalize construction with detailing such as the installation of her staterooms. Then in June of 2013, Captain Tony Draper (seen in the photo below) will officially take the reigns of the Royal Princess when she is launched into passenger service. Exciting times are ahead for Princess Cruises and for the cruise industry as a whole thanks to her introduction.

(Copyright © Princess Cruises)

To view a sampling of today’s ceremony, click on over to Princess Cruises’ video here and explore the ship further at the line’s Royal Princess page here.

HEADER IMAGE SOURCE: PRINCESS CRUISES

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