SESTRI PONENTE, Italy, June 3, 2010 â€“ A keel-laying ceremony to mark the start of construction for Oceania Cruisesâ€™ 1,258-guest m/s Riviera was held today at the Fincantieri shipyard near Genoa.
At the ceremony Frank Del Rio, the lineâ€™s founder and chairman and CEO of its parent company, Prestige Cruise Holdings, and Oceania Cruises President Bob Binder, welded four U.S. silver coins onto the keel. The welding of coins into a shipâ€™s keel is an age-old maritime tradition believed to solicit good fortune for the ship, its crew and its passengers.
The four coins â€“ dated 1997, 1998, 1999 and 2009 â€“ represent the years keels were laid for the four other vessels in Oceania Cruisesâ€™ upper-premium fleet: Insignia, Regatta, Nautica and Marina, respectively.
Once the coins were welded, the first of 55 steel blocks that will eventually comprise Riviera was lowered into the dock, thus marking the official start of the building process. The ship is scheduled to debut in April 2012.
â€œToday is a special day for Oceania Cruises,â€ stated Binder. â€œWe are grateful to Fincantieri, our loyal guests and travel partners, and the entire Oceania Cruises team at sea and shore-side for all of their efforts to make this new ship come to fruition.â€
Riviera is a sister ship to Marina, which launches in February 2011. She will feature 10 dining venues â€“ six of which are open-seating, gourmet restaurants â€“ including one by Master Chef Jacques PÃ©pin. Facilities will also include a Canyon Ranch SpaClubÂ® and gym, Bon AppÃ©tit Culinary Center, swimming pool and hot tubs. Interior design highlights include a Lalique-designed grand lobby, luxurious accommodations by Dakota Jackson as well as Ownerâ€™s Suites furnished exclusively in Ralph Lauren Home.
The preliminary cruise schedule for Riviera will be released in the coming months. For more information, call a travel professional or Oceania Cruises toll-free at or visit www.OceaniaCruises.com.