Starting in 1965, with one ship cruising down the Mexican Riviera to Alaska, Princess Cruises is often remembered for the once popular TV series, the ‘Love Boat’, filmed on the former Pacific Princess. Along with parent company, P & O, Princess was acquired by Carnival in 2003.
The fleet consists of:
The Grand Class with nine ships, introduced in 1998 with the Grand Princess, sister ships Golden Princess, Star Princess, Diamond Princess, Sapphire Princess, Caribbean Princess, Crown Princess, Emerald Princess and Ruby Princess. Although technically similar there are subtle differences with these ships. This class ranges in size from 109,000 tons to 116,000 tons carrying 2600 to 3000 guests with 1100 or 1200 crew. The Grand Princess received a massive 24 day facelift before arriving in the UK in May 2011. The Skywalker Nightclub at the rear of the ship was removed and a Piazza-style atrium was added together with more places to eat and drink. A new Crown Grill serving steaks and seafood, a new pizzeria called Alfredo’s and a new Martini Bar, Crooners were all added. The Skywalker club was replaced by the One5 Lounge in a new location on Deck 15. Additionally, the tea lounge was added to the ship’s library.
The Sun Class with five ships, introduced in 1995 with the Sun Princess, sister ships Dawn Princess, Sea Princess, Coral Princess and Island Princess. The last two ships of this class were formally called the Coral Class and are ‘Panamax-type’ allowing them to transfer between Alaska and the Caribbean through the Panama Canal. The first three of the class are 77,000 tons carrying over 2000 guests with 900 crew, and the last two are 88,000 tons carrying 1950 guests with 980 crew.
The Explorer Class. The company took the opportunity of acquiring three smaller, more intimate ships in 2002 when R Cruises folded, which cater more for adult travellers who want longer itineraries, more exotic ports of call and a smaller ships experience. Two of the ships, built in 1999, the Ocean Princess and Pacific Princess are still in the fleet. They are 30,000 tons carrying 684 guests and 373 crew. The third ship, Royal Princess, is being transferred in May 2011 to P & O as the Adonia to replace their Artemis.
Guests can choose from traditional fixed dining or Anytime Dining. Princess was the first cruise line to offer both options on larger cruise ships. Anytime Dining is not offered on the smaller Explorer Class ships or the Sun and Dawn Princess. Exciting alternative dining as well as casual options are available on most of the fleet and vary considerably. The ships have a vast array of facilities, many unique to Princess Cruises, including the ‘Skywalkers’ nightclub. Another new feature is the ScholarShip@Sea programme which offers a variety of educational experiences.
Families are well catered for, with Junior Cruisers aged 3 to 17 years divided into three separate groups on all the super liners. The two smaller ships depend on numbers of children booked on board. Children under 3 years are allowed to visit the Youth Centre under supervision of parents. The Sun, Dawn, Grand, Golden, Coral, Island, Diamond and Star Princess also offer a toddlers play area.
Two new ships are being introduced marking the end of a five year gap in orders. The first ship, launched in May 2013, Royal Princess was christened and named by Kate Middleton, The Duchess of Cambridge at Southampton on 13th June 2013. The 3600 guest ship is the first of two new generation ships for the company; a sister ship will be launched in 2014. It is the third time the name of Royal Princess has been given to a Princess ship. New features of the ship will include an over-water SeaWalk and a cantilevered SeaView cocktail bar. The top decks will include adults-only pool surrounded by seven private cabanas and will appear as though they are floating on water. Two further pools will surround a ‘tropical island’ that will become a dance club with a water and light show. Inside, the atrium will be larger and 80% of staterooms will have balcony.
To find out more about The Princess Fleet please contact me.
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Photo: Princess Sapphire (Princess Cruises) 73