Fincantieri has started construction of the third Royal Princess-class cruise ship for Carnival’s Princess Cruises, following the keel-laying ceremony at its Monfalcone Shipyard in Italy.
The new 145,000gt vessel is the first ship to be designed and built specifically for the Chinese market, and is expected to be operational in 2017.
Princess Cruises Asia operations senior vice-president Anthony Kaufman said: "We’re incredibly excited to mark this step in the ship’s construction.
"We’re very pleased to be working with our long-term partner, Fincantieri, on our newest ship and we appreciate their partnership and collaboration to customise and tailor the ship for the Chinese market."
The vessel will be capable of accommodating up to 3,560 passengers.
Features of the new vessel include a multi-storey atrium serving as the social hub of the ship, an over-the-ocean SeaWalk, a top-deck, glass-bottomed walkway extending 28ft beyond the edge of the ship, as well as a Princess Live! interactive studio, and the special Chef’s Table Lumiere.
Fincantieri delivered the first two vessels in this series, Royal Princess and Regal Princess, in 2013 and 2014 respectively.
In May, Princess Cruises announced that its new ship will be based in China year-round after the delivery.
Princess Cruises president Jan Swartz earlier said: "Deploying our next new ship in China underscores our strong commitment to growing the China cruise market and providing discerning travellers with amazing vacation experiences at sea."
Based in Shanghai, it will feature a number of new innovations designed for the growing number of Chinese cruise vacationers.