Regal Princess blessingMONFALCONE, Italy — After seven months of construction, the Regal Princess was floated off of its construction blocks in a ceremony at the Fincantieri shipyard in this small town near Venice.

Regal Princess is the sister ship to Royal Princess, which is on schedule to enter service in June.

“Today she is fully floated and moved out of the building dock,” said Carlo Di Marco, shipyard director for Fincantieri.

“In a little more than a year, the superstructure you see behind you will be transformed into another spectacular addition to the Princess Cruises fleet,” added Rai Caluori, Princess’ executive vice president of fleet operations.

Regal Princess is designed to carry 3,560 passengers at double occupancy. Upon delivery in 2014, it will initially sail Mediterranean itineraries.

Several hundred shipyard workers attended a ceremony in which the ship was blessed by a priest and a string was cut, opening a valve to release seawater into the building dock.

After floating out, Regal Princess will be moved to a different part of the shipyard to be finished.

Follow Tom Stieghorst on Twitter @tstravelweekly.

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