The ceremony saw the placing of the traditional lucky coins and then lowering of a 400t section onto the keel blocks.
It was attended by German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern’s Prime Minister Manuela Schwesig, Genting Hong Kong executive chairman, and CEO Tan Sri Lim Kok Thay.
Thay said: “We are pleased that after two years of design, we are now able to celebrate the keel laying of the ‘Crystal Endeavor’, the most valuable ship to be built at the Stralsund shipyard so far.
“We have also invested more than €20m in the Stralsund shipyard in order to facilitate the construction of state-of-the-art cruise ships at this location.”
Crystal Endeavor will be 164m long and will be able to carry 200 guests on-board. The 20,000t ship will be equipped with 100 suites between the sizes of 28m²-105m².
All suites of the luxury expedition yacht will include king-size beds, lighting, walk-in closets, as well as a separate wet unit with rain showers, as well as toilet and private balconies.
The Endeavor Class ship will also feature six gourmet restaurants, a spa and fitness centre and a two-story enclosed aft sun deck with a pool that will offer panoramic views of the surrounding destinations.
The vessel will comprise various improved features such as navigation technology, mini-submarines, helicopters, and Zodiacs, as well as designated areas for the preparation and storage of expedition equipment.
Delivery of Crystal Endeavor is expected to take place next year or early 2020 for a number of charters and an inaugural season that is set to begin after the Tokyo Olympics in August 2020.