A Princess with a Royal legacy

Five years ago on a cloudy day, the scene was brightened by a colourful event in the city of Southampton’s rich maritime history, the naming of a new ship, but not just any ship, one that continued a royal legacy…

This legacy goes back to 1984, when the late HRH Diana Princess of Wales named the first Royal Princess for Princess Cruises, then a P&O company and the first purpose designed and built cruise ship since the legendary liner SS Canberra.

The ceremony in Southampton was the first solo engagement carried out by the Princess of Wales since her marriage to Prince Charles in 1981.

This vessel had a number of industry firsts, but most notably, the first ship to have all outside cabins with a window or balcony.

It was extremely fitting therefore that the latest Royal Princess would continue the legacy of the first, with HRH Duchess of Cambridge being Godmother. In her last engagement before giving birth to Prince George.

I was the port photographer that day, and was afforded a unique angle for the traditional breaking of a bottle of champagne over the hull of the ship. My photo as the ticker tape began to fall with the Duchess still looking towards the ship remains one of my all time favourites.

Royal Princess is a very impressive ship with an atrium that is stunning,and also features the "Seawalk", which is a glass walkway that extends out over the ship 128ft above the ocean below.

Five years after the launch, Royal Princess is back home in Southampton for a series of summer cruises.

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© Andrew Sassoli-Walker 2016

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