Friday, February 7, 2014

A British Art Historian and Collector Monuments Man: Douglas Cooper

English: Kenneth Strong, Assistant Chief of St...
English: Kenneth Strong, Assistant Chief of Staff (G-2) at Supreme Headquarters Allied Expeditionary Force (SHAEF) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This is the tenth in a series of posts on real-life Monuments Men. Today’s post is by Dr. Greg Bradsher. See related posts on Sir Charles Leonard WoolleyWalter J. HuchthausenSeymour J. PomrenzeMason HammondEdith StandenKarol EstreicherS. Lane FaisonSir Hilary Jenkinson, and Walter Horn.
The forthcoming movie, The Monuments Men, has focused great attention on the Monuments Men (and women) and their work during and after World War II.  Of course the movie cannot tell the story of the over 300 individuals involved in Monuments, Fine Arts, and Archives (MFA&A) work, so focuses on three: George Stout, James Rorimer, and Rose Valland, played by George Clooney, Matt Damon, and Cate Blanchett respectively.  Over the past two months, I discussed some of the lesser known individuals.
This post focuses on Douglas Cooper of the Royal Air Force, and is the tenth in the series of blogs on the Monuments Men.
Arthur William Douglas Cooper was born to an extremely wealthy family in London on February 20, 1911. He was educated at Cambridge, Marburg and the Sorbonne, and at the age of twenty-one came into an inheritance of £100,000.  After a short stint as an art dealer in London in 1933, he pursued a career as an art historian and collector.  By 1939 he had amassed a collection of 137 cubist works primarily focused on the works of four avant-garde artists: Juan Gris, Georges Braque, Fernand Léger, and Pablo Picasso.
At the outbreak of World War II he joined an ambulance unit in Paris and earned the Médaille Militaire for his work moving the wounded to safety in Bordeaux.  Back in England he joined Royal Air Force Intelligence and was sent to Cairo to interview prisoners of war.  He also interrogated prisoners of war at Malta.
By the late spring of 1944, Cooper had joined the MFA&A Section of the Operations Branch, G-5 Division of SHAEF (Supreme Headquarters Allied Expeditionary Force) and was serving with the German Country Unit, under Major Mason Hammond, developing policies and procedures for use in Germany.  He also became involved with intelligence matters as it related to German looting of cultural property.  In the latter part of August Cooper, recently promoted to Squadron Leader (equivalent of a major in the Army),  was reassigned to the Control Commission for Germany (British Element), headed by Lt. Col. Sir Leonard Woolley, who also served as Adviser on Art and Archaeology to the War Office.  In his new capacity Cooper worked closely with the Americans serving with the MFA&A Section (headed by Hammond) of the newly established United States Group Control Commission (USGCC) as well as with the SHAEF MFA&A personnel, as the respective organizations did their planning, research, and investigation necessary for the accomplishing their missions in occupied Germany.
In January 1945, Lt. Col. Geoffrey Webb, the head of the SHAEF MFA&A operations, asked Cooper and Hammond to come to SHAEF headquarters at Versailles to discuss the MFA&A organization to be set up in Germany by Webb, as well as the relevant plans and information he expected from Cooper’s and Hammond’s units, and the intelligence needs of all MFA&A branches and possible means of satisfying them.  They left England on January 24 and arrived that night at Versailles.  During the next ten days, with the exception of three days (January 28-30), spent in traveling and conferring with Monuments Man George Stout at HQ 12th Army Group headquarters at Verdun, Cooper and Hammond spent all their time in the Paris area.  In their meeting with Stout they discussed the development of civil administration for monuments and collections in Germany under Military Government; development of data on German civil personnel; exchange of information on German repositories; and, means of conveying documentary information from the field to higher headquarters.  Cooper and Hammond had similar conversations with Webb and other MFA&A personnel.  While Hammond returned to England, Cooper stayed a couple of weeks longer.
On one of his forays into Paris Cooper was able to review the records of the Paris offices of Schenker International Transport, a large German transport company that specialized in transporting works of art.  The company was used by several German buyers, and it enjoyed a close relation with the German embassy in Paris, which used it to warehouse, pack, and transport confiscated art to Germany.  His April 5, 1945 report on the Schenker files provides evidence of art transactions that took place between January 1941 and July 1942; descriptions of artworks sent off to Germany; lists of German buyers and the works they bought; and, the names of the French dealers involved, and the dates of the transactions.  This information would prove invaluable to the Monuments Men after the war.
In February Cooper went to Switzerland to represent both the MFA&A and the French Recuperation Commission to obtain intelligence on the Swiss art trade.  He traveled to Switzerland with the cover title of Technical Adviser to the British Trade Delegation, which was then negotiating with the Swiss regarding German-Swiss economic relations and German assets.  During his time in Switzerland he tried to piece together the movement of looted artworks into and out of Switzerland, and documented his findings in a report dated March 22, 1945.  From Switzerland Cooper proceeded to Italy and then returned to England.
On March 26 Woolley resigned his position as Director of the MFA&A Section, Control Commission for Germany (British Element), and Cooper immediately replaced him, in the capacity of Acting Director.  During the remainder of the war Cooper would play in an important role in cooperating with SHAEF MFA&A, the USGCC, the Office of Strategic Services, the Roberts Commission (American Commission for the Protection and Salvage of Artistic and Historic Monuments in War Areas), and other organizations in making plans to deal with the post-hostilities phase of MFA&A work and intelligence matters connected with MFA&A operations.  Frequently his discussions involved the exploitation of captured documents; interrogations of enemy personnel; and, the development of lists and catalogs of missing works of art.
After World War II, he settled in France and spent the next forty years as an art critic of modern art, writer of a catalogue raisonné on Paul Gauguin (never completed), and author of monographs and catalogues on 19th century artists such as Degas, van Gogh and Renoir, as well as the cubist masters.  He passed away on April 1, 1984.
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Thursday, February 6, 2014

Second test of Nirbhay cruise missile in February

Test firing of the Akash missile. A medium-ran...
Test firing of the Akash missile. A medium-range surface-to-air missile. Operating in conjunction with the Rajendra radar, it can intercept targets up to 30 km range and 18 km altitude. Powered by a solid-fueled booster and a Ramjet engine, Akash can reach Mach 2.5 speed. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
A year after India’s own Tomahawk class cruise missile Nirbhay test failed, scientists are ready for the second trial by the end of this month.
“We plan to launch Nirbhay by February end. It is a Tomahawk class missile but I will not disclose the range,” Avinash Chander, scientific advisor to the Defence Minister told Deccan Herald on the sidelines of the Indian Science Congress here. The long-range all weather subsonic cruise missile is India’s answer to the US Tomahawk, which was introduced first in the 1970 but underwent several modifications later. Used by the US Navy and Royal Navy, the missile reportedly has a range between 1,300 and 1,700 km.

Nirbhay is understood to have a range of 1,000 km, though there is no official confirmation. Once ready, the Navy would be the first user of this missile. Asked the reasons for delay in the project, which is in the developmental phase for many years, Chander said, “Nirbhay is a typical model of how we should not do project R&D. Earlier it was piecemeal work, but new thrust has been provided to this project.”

The missiles maiden test in March failed as it deviated from its pre-determined path after a few minutes, threatening the east coast. Subsequently, scientists at the control room of Interim Test Range, Chandipur, had to terminate its course forcing the surface-hugging cruise missile to explode midair over Bay of Bengal.

“Scientists have identified that inertial navigation system has malfunctioned and corrective design and modifications are being implemented,” Defence Minister A K Antony informed Parliament in May.

The director-general of Defence Research and Development Organisation also confirmed the existence of India’s second nuclear-powered submarine, which is under construction at a military dockyard in Visakhapatnam for several years now. “The first submarine (Arihant) took 18 years. We hope to have the second submarine, which is under development, in 12 years,” he said.

The submarine launched ballistic missile (K-15) for Arihant is fully ready after several successful trials from underwater pontoons. When the Arihant goes for a sea trial shortly, it will carry the ballistic missile completing India’s nuclear triad or second-strike capability from the land, air and sea in case of a nuclear attack.
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MV Luno Breaks in Two on Breakwater near Bayonne, France

The MV Luno, a 4,600 DWT Spanish general cargo ship, lost power in rough seas and high winds  and and was blown onto a breakwater south-west of French port city Bayonne.  In winds gusting up to blowing up to 110 Km/hr (68 mph), the ship broke in half and sank. The crew was rescued by helicopter. One crew member was reported injured.   Diesel oil has been spotted in the water around the sections of the ship.  Local marine authorities are reported to be activating their anti-maritime pollution plan. Thanks to Irwin Bryan for passing along the news.

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Sailing away into Sydney Harbour’s past with Britannia

Hi! My name is Geneviève Bourgon or ‘Gwen’ and I’m a museum studies student at the University of Sydney. I am currently interning in the Registration department of the Australian National Maritime Museum.
My project is to digitise an archival collection of photographs, postcards and sailing programs associated with Britannia, an 18ft sailing vessel and its builder, owner and skipper  ‘Wee’ Georgie Robinson. Digitising a collection makes all the information about the objects more accessible, 22,000 collection objects have been release on the museum’s collection website for everyone to access.
The collection I am cataloguing dates from the 1920s through to the 1960s. The majority are sailing programs of weekly sailing competitions on Sydney Harbour, special championships and anniversary regattas. They begin as a single page and double sided program and evolve into massive 100 page booklets filled with interesting events surrounding the regatta and advertising.
First, I scanned the items using a flatbed scanner, and then I created an image and a PDF of pages scanning them as an optical character recognition (OCR) file to enable searching through the text on individual pages which are combined to form a single PDF document. Information is added to the collection management database where all 140,000 objects in the museum’s collection, are catalogued.
Second, I update any missing cataloguing data from the records such as: the object measurements, update its title, what it’s made of, and what it looks like.
TMS object record screen shot
Database record screen shot
I then carefully read through the object and made note of any references to Britannia and Georgie Robinson. I hit the jackpot when I found this page.
Regatta program page
1964 Royal Sydney Anniversary Regatta program, ANMS0086[072] ANMM collection
My favourite object is this faded photograph of Georgie Robinson andBritannia.
Photograph of Georgie Robinson
Photograph of Georgie Robinson, at far right.
ANMS1377[031] ANMM collection
That’s what I did, and now here’s why I did it.
18 foot yacht sailing races were extremely popular in the early twentieth century. On weekends, large crowds of spectators would gather on the shores of Sydney Harbour and on passenger steam vessels to follow the race from the water. Wee Georgie Robinson and Britannia were prominent figures of 18 footer sailing races during the interwar period winning several championships.
Front page of Sydney Flying Squadron program
Sydney Flying Squadron program
ANMM collection, ANMS0086[022]
Britannia is an 18ft. sailing vessel which competed in sailing events from the early 1920s to the mid-1940s. It was later used as the Sydney Flying Squadron’s starter boat with Georgie Robinson as official race umpire until the early 1970s.
BRITANNIA on display in the Watermarks gallery
BRITANNIA is on display at the Australian National Maritime Museum
‘Wee’ Georgie Robinson was not only a shipwright and skipper, he was also a star half-back for theBalmain Tigers rugby club and later became the coach, from 1933-1934. Robinson and his crew proudly wore the black and gold colours of Balmain when they sailed.
BRITANNIA on the water
Photograph of Britannia sailing on Sydney Harbour, 00000028 ANMM collection
I am extremely privileged to have gotten to know this wonderful collection and to have been given a glimpse into Sydney’s 18 foot yacht racing’s glorious history.

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North Korea and the United States: Diplomacy at an Impasse

What this week’s Worldwide Threat Assessment of the US Intelligence Community said about North Korea was stark but hopefully not too surprising: its nuclear and missile programs ”pose a serious threat to the United States and to the security environment in East Asia.” The North Koreans are forging ahead, restarting the graphite-moderated reactor at Yongbyon, expanding the enrichment facility there, and taking steps toward fielding the KN-08 road-mobile ICBM.

(See p. 6 of the prepared text.)

No limitations on North Korea’s nuclear program are currently in place and no negotiations are underway toward this end — in noticeable contrast tothe situation in Iran. Earlier this month, I took a stab at explaining why there has been no movement in this direction in over a year’s time, since before Pyongyang’s February 2013 nuclear test.

The following article was originally published in RUSI Newsbrief (Vol. 34, No. 1, January 2014), at http://www.rusi.org/publications/newsbrief/. It appears here with the gracious permission of the editors at RUSINewsbrief.

Nuclear Diplomacy with North Korea: Over Before it Began?

Joshua Pollack

Commercial space images published over the course of 2013 have revealed considerable activity at North Korea’s nuclear complex at Yongbyon. A new, ‘experimental’ light-water reactor project appears to be complete externally, and the previously disabled gas-cooled, graphite moderated reactor – the source of North Korea’s plutonium – appears to have recommenced operations in late August or early September. The roof of the new gas-centrifuge uranium-enrichment facility shown to researchers from Stanford University’s Center for International Security and Cooperation in November 2010 has doubled in area.

These changes suggest a growing distance between North Korea’s formal commitment to denuclearisation under the discontinued Six-Party Talks (with South Korea, Japan, China, Russia and the US) and the entrenched reality of its nuclear programmes. They correspond to Pyongyang’sdeclaration in April 2013 that it would ‘adjust’, ‘alter the uses’ of, and ‘restart’ the facilities at Yongbyon. According to the North Korean authorities, these moves support a ‘new strategic line’ of simultaneously developing both nuclear weapons and the North Korean economy.

After decades of stagnation, North Korea’s ability to advance its economy significantly seems doubtful, regardless of whether this occurs in conjunction with nuclear-weapons development. But a different sort of parallel process – simultaneously technical and diplomatic – is at work in North Korea’s nuclear policy. Both aspects respond to the Obama administration’s policy of ‘strategic patience’, which relies on enforcing and strengthening sanctions in response to successive tests of long-range rockets and nuclear devices.

On two tracks to nowhere fast

On the technical track, the expansion of North Korea’s nuclear military potential at Yongbyon seems calculated to demonstrate the impotence of sanctions, while signalling heightened dangers in the form of a growing supply of fissile material. If the restoration of the small gas-graphite reactor symbolises the persistent diplomatic stalemate, the enlargement of the enrichment facility indicates a deeper problem. North Korea’s efforts to place its gas-centrifuge programme on an indigenous footing gravely complicate any strategy for rolling back its nuclear capabilities (key components are previously believed to have been imported). Unlike reactors, the operation of gas centrifuges produces little, if any, technical ‘signature’ that makes such activity readily identifiable. If the key components and materials for the centrifuge programme are produced domestically, sanctions will lack bite, and the international community cannot be certain of the number, size or whereabouts of enrichment facilities in the country beyond Yongbyon.

Verifying the full extent of the enrichment programme was the same iceberg upon which the Six-Party Talks foundered in 2008. The visible expansion of the programme now hints at what might lie below the waterline. In the months to come, further glimpses might be afforded, perhaps through the type of unofficial visit to Yongbyon previously used by North Korea to advertise its capabilities.

On the diplomatic track, North Korea strives to keep China – its main trading partner and sometime protector – from aligning its policies too closely with those of the US. Over the longer term, Pyongyang seeks to turn the agenda toward the removal of economic sanctions and the conclusion of a Korean War peace treaty, presumably one that ends the US military presence in South Korea.

Bottoming out

Tactical manoeuvres dominate for now, with the US in particular seeking to minimise the risks inherent to any further engagement following the abrupt collapse of a limited understanding between the US and North Koreaannounced on 29 February 2012. This abortive ‘Leap Day Deal’ was to have halted activity at the enrichment facility at Yongbyon, with measures in place for the verification of both the enrichment freeze and the continued disablement of the gas-graphite reactor and the associated reprocessing facility. It was also to have imposed moratoria on nuclear tests and long-range missile tests. In return, the US was to have provided food aid as a humanitarian gesture, and – at least in the view of the North Koreans – the arrangement was to have led to a resumption of the Six-Party Talks, with priority given to its own preferred issues, including the removal of sanctions.

The sticking point in this deal proved to be rocketry. The US government insisted that the missile moratorium encompass the activities of North Korea’s space programme, seeing it as a cover for the development of intercontinental ballistic missiles. The North Koreans differed, and quickly announced an upcoming satellite launch. The unravelling of the progress made prior to this disagreement left Washington dissatisfied and apparently determined not to repeat the experience, while Pyongyang, for its part, has expressed openness to another attempt at talks, either for its own reasons or to satisfy demands from Beijing.

The low tide of diplomatic engagement between the two sides came at the end of August 2012, when the North Korean foreign ministry announced a new policy on nuclear development. A lengthy memorandum declared that unless the US chose to make a ‘bold and fundamental change in its cold war mindset’ and to abandon its ‘hostile policy’, North Korea would expand its nuclear arsenal ‘beyond the U.S. imagination’. After another satellite launch in December 2012, prompting condemnation by the UN Security Council in January 2013, North Korea went further, explicitly disavowing the September 2005 Joint Statement, in which it had unequivocally agreed to ‘abandon all nuclear weapons and existing nuclear programs’ – the core achievement of the Six-Party Talks. North Korea’s third nuclear test followed in February.

After the usual condemnations by the international community, Beijing pressed Pyongyang to withdraw from its maximalist stance. According to Xinhua, the official Chinese news agency, North Korean envoy Choe Ryong-hae told Chinese Politburo Standing Committee member Liu Yunshan in May 2013 that the North Koreans were ‘willing to accept advice from the Chinese side and carry out dialogue with relevant parties’. The following month, the North Koreans issued a statement renewing their public commitment to denuclearisation and stating their willingness to discuss the idea of ‘a world without nuclear weapons’ with the US, as well as their own issues of concern. During meetings in Beijing to mark the eighth anniversary of the signing of the September 2005 Joint Statement, North Korean Vice Foreign Minister Kim Kye-gwan reportedly expressed support for resuming the Six-Party Talks.

Meanwhile, the position of US officials has stiffened, especially concerning the production of fissile material. The US continues to insist on a package of nuclear freezes and test moratoria before returning to negotiations. Significantly, however, Washington is no longer willing to entertain a verified freeze on nuclear activities at Yongbyon alone. Now, if the freeze does not cover all such facilities, anywhere in North Korea, no proposal for renewed denuclearisation talks will be judged ‘credible and authentic’. The Obama administration does not wish to be drawn into high-profile talks that simply fill time before the next round of North Korean rocket and nuclear tests. Should Pyongyang voluntarily freeze uranium enrichment beyond Yongbyon, this gesture would be understood as a signal of seriousness.

In the deep freeze

Now, however, it is substantive diplomacy – and not enrichment – that is frozen. Shuttle diplomacy conducted in the autumn of 2013 by Wu Dawei, a Chinese foreign ministry official, brought the sides no closer. Instead, Wu’s visits to Pyongyang and Washington mainly yielded barbs in the official North Korean media, including the official, outward-facing news agency, KCNA, about President Obama’s vision of ‘a world without nuclear weapons’. In June, Pyongyang had identified this ‘proposal’ as a valid basis for negotiations, but soon began to dismiss it as hypocritical rhetoric.

Following the Beijing gathering in September 2013, where no official American or South Korean participants were present, the North Korean foreign ministry arranged meetings with former US officials responsible for policy on North Korea during the Clinton and Obama administrations, Stephen Bosworth and Robert Gallucci, to convey their desire to enter talks without preconditions. As if in reply, current senior US officials, including National Security Advisor Susan Rice, have expressed the administration’s position with greater bluntness. In remarks made at Georgetown University in November, Rice declared that, ‘Pyongyang’s attempts to engage in dialogue while keeping critical elements of its weapons programs running are unacceptable’. Speaking to the press in Beijing the following day, the State Department’s point man on the North Korean nuclear issue, Glyn Davies, underscored Rice’s point: ‘if we are to get back to talks, North Korea is going to have to cease its nuclear activities’. North Korearesponded predictably, insisting that Washington’s ‘unreasonable’ and ‘absurd’ preconditions prevented a resurrection of the Six-Party Talks. It added that North Korea ‘will be compelled to steadily bolster deterrence’ in the face of continuing US hostility.

The Obama administration’s stance reflects a belief that activity at the Yongbyon complex primarily provides North Korea with something valuable to trade away for sanctions relief, a peace treaty, and other desiderata. It is no longer the beating heart of the nuclear-weapons programme. Thus Washington’s insistence that North Korea foreclose the option of covert uranium enrichment for the duration of negotiations is entirely understandable. It could be compared, in spirit, to the Joint Plan of Actionagreed by the EU/E3+3 and Iran in November: a confidence-building measure that creates space for in-depth negotiations by removing the implicit threat to produce weapons-grade fissile material.

Measured by results, Washington’s principled stand looks less rewarding, however. North Korea, unlike Iran, already considers itself a nuclear-armed state, and is very unlikely to comply with demands for a blanket freeze. Instead, North Korea’s fissile-material stockpile appears set to expand, allowing the production of more nuclear devices if desired. Qualitative improvements to weapons-related technology can also be expected;commercial satellite images published online show continuing work at North Korea’s launch sites and its nuclear test facility. In October, a North Korean diplomat at the UN reiterated plans for additional satellite launches. In late December, a high-ranking Korean Workers’ Party official, Kim Yong-nam, remarked that Kim Jong-un, the country’s third-generation leader, would ‘display the dignity’ of the country in space – an act North Korea typically follows, a few months later, with a nuclear test. The ultimate goal of denuclearisation therefore appears to be growing more distant.

New North Korean nuclear exports also cannot be ruled out. In the past, North Korea has exported nuclear technology to Syria and Libya and exchanged know-how with Pakistan. Assuming customers can be found, future export activity might involve enrichment technology or even excess fissile material. While the North Korean nuclear programme continues unchecked by diplomacy, the pursuit of non-proliferation faces mounting risks.

 * * *

Postscript

Earlier this week, State Department Special Representative for North Korea Policy Glyn Davies visited the region again. The bottom line, as he explained to the press in Beijing, remains the same, with a hint at “further pressure” on North Korea to bring them around:

Navy Probes Cheating Allegations at Nuke Reactor School

WASHINGTON, Feb. 4, 2014 – About 30 of 150 watch-standers at the Navy’s Charleston Nuclear Power Training Unit in South Carolina are being investigated for alleged cheating on a written qualification exam, the chief of naval operations said today.

Click photo for screen-resolution image
Chief of Naval Operations Navy Adm. Jonathan W. Greenert and Navy Adm. John Richardson, director of the Naval Nuclear Propulsion Program, brief reporters at the Pentagon, Feb. 4, 2014, on the Navy's investigation into allegations of compromised test materials. DOD photo by Glenn Fawcett
  

(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.

The incident came to light yesterday, and Navy officials are taking quick action to investigate the situation and apply corrective measures, Navy Adm. Jonathan W. Greenert told reporters at a Pentagon news conference.

The propulsion exam allegedly was shared among some senior enlisted operators of nuclear power plants. Both Greenert and Navy Adm. John M. Richardson, the director of the Naval Nuclear Propulsion Program, stressed that this incident does not touch on nuclear weapons.

“To say that I’m disappointed would be an understatement,” Greenert, the Navy’s top officer, said. “Whenever I hear about integrity issues, it’s disruptive to our units’ success and it’s definitely contrary to all of our core values -- our Navy core values. And it affects the very basis of our ethos.”

The fact that senior enlisted sailors are involved makes this all the more disappointing, Greenert said. “We expect more from our sailors, especially our senior sailors, and we demand it in our training and in our operations,” he added. “And we will operate to that.” If the allegations are substantiated, the sailors will be held accountable, he said.

Richardson took full responsibility for the incident. “This is mine to investigate and to correct,” he said.

The admiral said he learned of the incident, “when one of our sailors … was offered to compromise his integrity, recognized that this was wrong, and reported it to the command.”

The incident took place in the school, which is held on two converted submarines used as training reactors to certify operators to report to the fleet. “This incident involves members of the school staff who are required to qualify to operate and instruct students on the training reactor,” Richardson said.

The incident involves the alleged compromise of the written exam to qualify for one of the 11 watch stations. “To date, we're getting good cooperation with the investigation,” Richardson said.

The training reactors were shut down for routine maintenance once Navy officials learned of the incident. “The training command has ensured that all personnel implicated in this so far have been removed from the site,” the admiral said. “Their access has been revoked, and all current personnel on watch are those who have no element of implication. As a precautionary measure, these personnel are also being re-tested to validate their knowledge.”

 

Carnival's New Royal Princess Cruise Liner, United States of America


Princess Cruises is a brand owned and operated by the Carnival Corporation

Royal Princess is a cruise liner constructed by Fincantieri for the British-American cruise line Princess Cruises. Princess Cruises is a brand owned and operated by the Carnival Corporation. The ship was christened in a naming ceremony held in Southampton in June 2013. She is the third in the cruise liner fleet to be named Royal Princess by the company. She can accommodate 3,600 passengers.

The ship conducted a seven-day maiden voyage from Southampton to Barcelona in June 2013. The inaugural season itineraries included the Grand Mediterranean voyage from Barcelona to Venice and then Venetian Passage from Venice to Fort Lauderdale by October 2013.

The Royal Princess has 1,346 crew members. She can cruise at a speed of 22kt.

Construction of Carnival Corporation's ship

"The ship sailed for a seven-day maiden voyage from Southampton to Barcelona in June 2013."

Carnival awarded a contract toFincantieri - Cantieri Navali Italiani for building two new cruise ships for Princess Cruises, in May 2010.

Construction of the ship was started in March 2011. Her keel, weighing about 500t, was laid in October 2011.

She entered into service in June 2013. Fincantieri built the ship in itsMonfalcone shipyard, Italy. The second ship is scheduled to be launched in 2014.

Both will become the largest of the fleet operated by Princess Cruises. Each ship is estimated to cost €558m ($768m).

Design by Giacomo Mortola and Teresa Anderson

Giacomo Mortola was the architect of the ship. Her interiors were designed by the in-house director of Princess Cruises, Teresa Anderson. The new Royal Princess has a gross tonnage of about 141,000t. The ship is 1,083ft long and 217ft high.

The cruise ship is spacious with 260,000 square feet of public space and features many new and expanded elements, besides maintaining the classical profile associated with Princess Cruises' ships.

Accommodation on the new Royal Princess

The Royal Princess has 19 decks. She has 1,780 passenger cabins with 730 balcony cabins, 314 mini suites, 342 inside cabins, and 358 deluxe balcony cabins. The ship has 36 cabins with wheel chair access and 780 additional upper berths. About 81% (1,438 cabins) of the exterior cabins of the staterooms include a private balcony.

Entertainment on Princess Cruises' vessel

The ship features an over-water walkway, called SeaWalk. The cantilevered walkway is an extension to the edge of the vessel by 20ft, with a glass bottom and enclosures.

"The Royal Princess has 1,346 crew members. She can cruise at a speed of 22kt."

The passengers get views of the sea below and off the side of the vessel. The other end of the ship features an over-water sea bar offering cocktails.

The top decks are built with an adults-only pool. It is surrounded by seven private cabanas which float on water.

An outdoor dance club and two swimming pools with seating are also included. The signature bar, Sanctuary, has been expanded to include more space and amenities.

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