Princess Cruises fleet
Review of Princess Cruises
Princess cruise line is a premium brand and a subsidiary company of the “Carnival group of influence”, or one of the ten cruise ship lines owned by the world’s biggest cruise company Carnival Corporation & PLC. As part of the conglomerate, the Princess line brings around a fifth of its revenue.
The Princess Cruises history began in 1965, when the company was founded by Stanley McDonald who chartered an Alaskan cruise ship MS Princess Patricia for sailings to the Mexican Riviera from Los Angeles during the vessel’s off-season – the winter. Then in 1965 a new ship was chartered to the Princess line – MS Italia, with a modern design and numerous innovations allowing more spacious upper decks and larger public areas amid-ship by placing the engines far in the rear.
The new “Princess Italia” again operated the Mexican Riviera from LA (the Princess logo on the ship’s funnel.was placed for the first time in 1967). In 1969 the ship made its inaugural season in Alaska with round-trip itineraries starting from San Francisco. When the Italia ship’s charter ended in 1973, Princess chartered the Carla C ship from Costa Cruises (the ship was unofficially renamed “Princess Carla”).
Princess company’s new history began in 1974 when the company was acquired by P&O. The new owner transferred its “Spirit of London” ship (renamed as “Sun Princess”) and 3 more ships specifically bought from “Flagship Cruises” for the Princess brand – “Sea Venture” (to become “Island Princess”), “Island Venture” (“Pacific Princess”) and the Kungsholm liner (“Sea Princess”). The first newly built and specifically for Princess ship was MS Royal Princess (1984, she also served Princess under the name “Artemis”).
An important company asset is the “Princess Tours” Alaska division (acquired in 1986) with 10 luxury rail-cars for scenic tours of Mt McKinley and capacity of over 700 guests per day. With the acquisition of the Sitmar Line in 1988, the P&O line added to the Princess brand 3 more ships (then under construction) – Star Princess (1989), and in 1990 – Crown Princess and Regal Princess, plus 2 former Cunarders ships to become Dawn Princess and Fair Princess, and the ex Sitmar’s “Fairsky” to become Sky Princess, to bring the Princess line’s cruise fleet to 10 ships. A new “P&O Princess Cruises” company was made in 2000 (October 23), which subsequently merged with Carnival Corp in 2003 (April 17) into Carnival Corporation & plc – it was an US $5,4 billion dollars deal which created the largest cruise company in the world ever, incorporating 11 different cruise ship lines.
Currently, the Princess cruise line is transferred to the Carnival’s American division, but the line’s marketing and sales in UK are under Carnival plc (aka Carnival UK, also responsible for the Cunard Line’s management). The world’s most romantic attention the Princess Cruises line received by the participation of its ships (first Island and Pacific, and later Royal, Sun and Sea princesses) in the filmed aboard actual ships “The Love Boat” TV-series aired on ABC network from 1977 until 1986. In May 2013, the newest Princess ship Royal Princess became the flagship of the line.
Princess' cruising experience
One of the most famous features of the Princess Cruises line is its revolutionary new “Personal Choice Cruising” program – an unstructured and individualized approach to the ship vacation travel by the innovative concept of “if you want it – when you want it”. The Princess line’s style of ship travel provides an exceptional feeling of choice and flexibility with the idea to give its guests the opportunity to customize their ship vacation in a way that most fits their personal interests and desires. Implemented in the mid 90s with the line’s new Sun-class ships, this unique concept of passengers being in control of their voyages and vacation experiences was realized by multiple dining venues on board, flexible entertainment options and the idea of cheap affordable private balcony staterooms.
In April 2016, Princess Cruises officially signed an agreement for 2 new cruise ships, due for delivery in 2019 and 2020. The 4th and 5th Royal-class vessels will be constructed as part of a previously announced agreement between Carnival Corporation (the line's parent company), and Italian shipbuilder Fincantieri S.p.A.
The still unnamed 3,560-passenger vessels will join sister ships Majestic Princess (scheduled to debut in China summer 2017), Regal Princess and Royal Princess. They will include Princess Cruises staples such as Movies Under the Stars, the Piazza and balconies in 80% of the staterooms, as well as introduce "new to the line" features.
Carnival Corporation has a total of 16 cruise ships scheduled for delivery between 2016 and 2020. Princess has not yet revealed where the newbuilds will be based.
These are 4th and 5th Royal-class ships (same design as Royal, Regal and Majestic) being constructed at the Monfalcone shipyard as part of a previous agreement between the parent company Carnival Corporation and the shipbuilder Fincantieri. At that time, Carnival Corporation had a total of 16 shipbuilding orders, with scheduled deliveries between 2016 and 2020. Both (still unnamed) 3560-passenger vessels feature Movies Under the Stars, Piazza Atrium, 80% balconied staterooms, plus some "new to the line" features.
In the end of January 2017, the shipowner Carnival Corporation announced 2 more shipbuilding orders. The new ships were ordered for the fleets of Princess (Royal-class) and Holland America Line (Pinnacle-class). The announcement said Carnival had signed a MoA (memorandum of agreement) with Fincantieri to construct both vessels, with scheduled delivery in 2021 (for HAL, at Marghera yard) and 2022 (for Princess, at Monfalcone yard). By the time when both shipbuilding contracts were finalized (February 2017), Carnival Corporation had a total of 19 new ships scheduled for delivery between 2017 and 2022.
Cruisetours / Shore Excursions
Since 2017, Princess Cruises offers "Shore Excursions Best Price Guarantee" for tours in all ports of call. The program was launched fleetwide in Dec 2016 and guarantees if passengers booking through Princess find the same tour / excursion elsewhere at a lower price, they will receive 110% of the difference as non-refundable OBC (onboard credit). In such cases, an email request must be submitted at least 7 days prior to departure (at firstname.lastname@example.org) to be reviewed by company's Shore Excursion team. Within 2 business days, booked passengers are notified if their request meets the criteria.
- "Best Price Guarantee" applies only to tours / shore excursions that are publicly available (priced online).
- "Best Price Guarantee" applies to all excursions, excepting those in Asia and also excepting private vehicle / driver excursions in all ports.
- Princess Shore Excursions program offers over 4,000 land tours / excursions in 360 destinations and over 150 itineraries.
- "Discovery" and "Animal Planet" themed excursions are also available as part of the new "Discovery at Sea" cruisetour program (via an exclusive partnership with Discovery Communications). These tours are unique, can't be booked independently and are available only through Princess. The program includes over 1,000 such tours worldwide.
Princess cruise gratuities (2017-2018 cruises)
Daily gratuities are per person (pp):
- USD 13,50 pp (interior, oceanview, balcony staterooms, both adults and kids)
- USD 14,50 pp (mini-suites, Club Class)
- USD 15,50 (suites)
- Daily gratuity is an automatic service charge added to the passenger's onboard account each day.
- Passengers can prepay gratuities.
- The amount of gratuities is split between the ship's staff (dining, housekeeping, cabin stewards).
Princess Cruises bear mascot Stanley
Since summer 2017, Princess Cruises ships feature a most special onboard attraction - the company's mascot bear Stanley.
The sensationally cute bear mascot was named in a Facebook contest with over 9,000 entries,
- The mascot's name honors Stanley McDonald (1920-2014). In 1965 he founded Princess Cruises and expanded it into one of the world's largest cruise ship companies. In 1975, he sold Princess to P&O Cruises (back then named "Peninsular & Oriental Steam Navigation Company") and remained its Chairman until 1980.
- As the bear fell in love with ship cruising, he decided to skip winter hibernation and became a stowaway. So since 2017 Stanley travels around the world on all Princess ships.
- Stanley also made "surprise" appearances on the company's "Chinese ship" Majestic Princess in July 2017 during the inaugural festivities in Shanghai China. From China, Stanley the Bear embarked on all Princess itineraries.
- During the day, the Princess' "cruise ship bear" wears themed apparel, which is tied to the ship's current itinerary destination. On Alaskan cruises that would be his lumberjack outfit. In China he wears a traditional Tang suit and cap. In Japan he wears a Yukata outfit. On formal nights, the bear dresses up in the Captain’s uniform.
- The Stanley bear appears on all Princess ships. He interacts with passengers through various entertainment activities with engaging photo opportunities. Stanley also holds storytime hours for kids at the ship's youth facilities.
- On the ship, passengers can participate in the daily contest “Where on the ship is Stanley”. The mascot is also present on the special Welcome Aboard shows throughout the voyage.
- Souvenir Stanley bear plush toys are available for purchasing on the ship 0 in the onboard shopping arcade "Shops of Princess". The toy's price is USD 25. A portion of the proceeds from the toy's sales go to "Princess Animal Welfare Sponsor".
- Princess cruise ship passengers can share their travel adventures with Stanley using the social hashtag #StanleyAtSea.
Itinerary of Princess Cruises
Princess Cruises offers travelers the complete package including comfortable accommodations, comprehensive on board entertainment, options for families with children and, of course, incredible shore excursions. As it was founded in 1965, the Princess Cruises company has been able to refine their itinerary selection, and now you can sail to destinations all over the world with a vast array of diverse itineraries.
The impressive selection presents over 160 itineraries that reach over 300 ports all around the globe, with sailings ranging from 7 to 100+ days on Princess World tours. The list of Princess cruise destinations include Alaska, Europe (and UK), the whole Caribbean, Bermuda, regular Panama Canal crossing cruises, the Mexican Riviera, South America and the Pacific Islands (with Hawaii and Tahiti), Asia, Australia and New Zealand, Canada and New England.
In 2018 (April 14 - May 19), Golden Princess had scheduled the "Epic Adventure" cruise itinerary leaving oneway from Singapore to Alaska and offered as 2 segments - 29-day to Whittier AK (priced from USD 2730 pp) and 36-day to Vancouver Canada (prices from USD 5700 pp). According to the company, the longer than usual repositioning cruise was created due to demand from Asian customers wishing to embark closer from home and go all the way to Alaska, instead of just booking the 7-day itinerary "Alaska Grand Adventure". The new itinerary also appealed to Asians as it included many Asian ports famous for their themed activities and local cuisine.
Sea Princess did the company's ever-first circumnavigation of South America roundtrip from Australia. The unique itinerary visited a total of 28 ports in 18 different countries, and included overnight stays in Lima Peru, Buenos Aires Argentina and Rio de Janeiro Brazil (during Carnivale 2017). The 84-night "Circle South America" cruise was offered from 3 departure ports - Brisbane AU, Auckland NZ or Sydney AU, and departed in January 2017.
Sea Princess will operate the company's longest (106-night) world cruise departing from Sydney Australia on June 5, 2018. The itinerary includes 40 port destinations in 27 countries, including new ports in Greenland and Canada. This also marks Princess Cruises' 10th anniversary of around the world cruising.
Alaskan cruise itineraries
Playing with sled dog puppies on a cruise ship is probably the last thing one would ever imagine doing. However, it is one of the new activities available to guests on Princess Cruises Alaska itineraries. The North to Alaska enrichment program of the line, which debuted last year, gives passengers the chance to take pictures and interact with baby sled dogs in the atrium area. The dog handlers are on hand to talk about the unique Alaskan sport.
The "Puppies in the Piazza" experience is available on all Princess Alaskan cruise itineraries. Also new is the chance to taste your own catch of the day for dinner. New fishing excursions allow passengers to select their preferred preparation by the ship's culinary team.
Additionally, cruisetour guests can meet mountain climbers (who have conquered Mt Denali) in the Mt McKinley Princess Wilderness Lodg e (Denali State Park). Outside the lodge they can see a retired airplane.
Fishing and sled dog puppies activities are both complimentary. The Lodge's Denali show costs USD 20 per person. Princess' new "North to Alaska" cruise program is available on the "Alaskan ships" Coral Princess, Crown Princess, Grand Princess, Island Princess, Ruby Princess and Star Princess. This impressive fleet of 6 vessels offered 113 Alaskan cruises in 2017.
Canada and New England cruise itineraries
Princess Cruises Canada and New England itinerary program offers fall foliage-themed voyages to iconic Atlantic Coast port destinations. The 2018 program was represented by two of the company's newest ships – Regal Princess and Royal Princess, departing from Quebec (overnight) and NYC New York.
Two new cruisetours were also introduced - "Historic America" (Thomas Jefferson's Monticello estate, Colonial Williamsburg, Independence Hall in Philadelphia, Gettysburg Battlefield) and "Maple Explorer (Niagra Falls, Montreal, Thousand Islands scenic cruise).
European cruise itineraries
Princess Cruises 2017 itineraries to Europe included inaugural sailings of the company's newest ship Majestic Princess. The season had 6 ships visiting 119 destinations - from Mediterranean to the northernmost of Europe. There were a total of 64 itineraries and 153 departures, visiting 27 different countries.
In 2017, Princess inaugurated the "More Ashore" tour program, crafting the new itineraries to give passengers more time and opportunities to enjoy local culture and flavors. Many port calls offered more ashore time, late night departures, overnights, even 2-day port stays for visiting popular sites and enjoy the city's nightlife. The European cruise program included overnights in St Petersburg Russia and Dublin Ireland, as well as late port stays in over 15 countries.
For season 2018, Princess Cruises introduced the “Local Connections” program, designed to connect passengers with authentic resident experts. Among the program's highlights were the British Isles itineraries on Royal Princess (leaving roundtrip from France and UK / Paris-Le Havre and Southampton). For season 2018, Princess deployed in Europea 5 ships visiting 115 destinations, with 57 unique itineraries and 168 departures visiting 35 countries. Europea 2018's overnights (all 32 ports) included Amsterdam, Barcelona, Copenhagen, Dublin, Edinburgh, Glasgow, St Petersburg, Stockholm, Venice.
Asian and Australian cruise itineraries
Princess Cruises will offer departures from Adelaide for the first time in 2017-2018, offering South Australians roundtrip sailings to New Zealand. Golden Princess is due to depart Adelaide January 8, 2018 with visits to Akaroa, Auckland, Dunedin, Gisborne, Melbourne, Tauranga, Wellington and scenic cruising through the Fiordland National Park. Princess Cruises also plans to make maiden calls at Port Lincoln and Kangaroo Island as part of a 6-night voyage from Melbourne or a 4-night cruise to Melbourne from Adelaide.
Other options on the new Princess summer program include New Zealand cruises from other cities in Australia, a 28-night Australian circumnavigation from both Sydney and Brisbane, a 35-night roundtrip voyage to Tahiti and Hawaii, and a 22-night trip from Tokyo to Sydney via Bali, Darwin and Vietnam. Golden Princess and Diamond Princess will also sail between Australia and Japan and Singapore, with the Australian dollar (AUD) as onboard currency and no tipping on repositioning cruises to and from Australia, effective for the first time after October 2017.
For season 2018-2019, Princess homeported 4 ships in Australia, New Zealand and South Pacific, also introducing there the new Majestic Princess (September 2018 through March 2019). The fleet's newest vessel will operate on 6- to 13-days itineraries leaving from Auckland and Sydney NSW to South Pacific destinations like NZ, Tasmania, Fiji and other South Pacific islands. The 4 Princess Australia cruise ships will be homeported in all 6 cities for a total of 95 departures on 50 unique itineraries (over 70 destinations and 18 different countries). To enhance the Australian cruising vacation experience, Princess offers two new cruisetours - "Australian Outback" (themed on Aboriginal culture, visiting Great Barrier Reef and Ayers Rock / Uluru National Park) and "Ultimate Australia" (Ayers Rock, Great Barrier Reef, Darwin, and Cairns).
Between 2017 and 2018 Princess Cruises offers Asian itineraries visiting Komodo Island, Lombok, Makassar, Probolinggo and Semarang. The Indonesian archipelago homes diverse culture and breathtaking nature, and increasingly serves as one of the best destinations for cruise tourism in the world. However, based on Cruise Line International Association (CLIA) data from 2016, Indonesia features the lowest number of seaports in Asia (only 172).
2018-2019 "Exotics" itinerary program
The new 2018-2019 "Exotics" cruise itinerary program takes passengers to iconic and culturally rich destinations around the world. The program offers over 50 departures (ranging in length from 3 to 111 days) and a fleet of 6 ships. The all 27 unique itineraries are throughout 5 continents, visiting a total of 93 destinations in 47 different countries.
- Royal Princess sails on a 49-day "South America Grand Adventure" itinerary around Cape Horn. It is Princess' largest ship ever to visit South America.
- Coral Princess sails on a 60-day "Circle North Pacific" itinerary roundtrip from Los Angeles, to a total of 22 destinations in 8 countries (includiing Alaska, Hawaii, Asia).
- Pacific Princess sails on the 111-day World Cruise circumnavigating Africa's Cape of Good Hope.
- Two new (14- and 15-day) "Grand Asia" itineraries on Sapphire Princess are offered from Singapore and Shanghai.
- The program also features more evening port and overnights on itineraries in 18 call ports on 5 continents.
Princess's 2018-2019 "Exotics" itinerary program offers:
- Asia: Diamond Princess, Sapphire Princess and Coral Princess are the three ships that guests may choose from, sailing 18 itineraries to a total of 34 destinations, from 4 homeports with 31 departures, ranging from 3 to 60 days.
- South America: Emerald Princess and Royal Princess: In South America, a couple of ships sailing 7 itineraries to 25 destinations out of 4 homeports, with 15 departures ranging between 14-49 days are offered.
- World Cruise: Pacific Princess: Pacific Princess sails on a 111-day World Cruise voyage roundtrip from LA / Fort Lauderdale, with a total of 41 destinations, in 27 countries on 5 continents, with a circumnavigation around Cape of Good Hope with overnights in Singapore and Cape Town.
Princess Cruises itinerary changes
For the first time, the Princess Cruises 2018 itinerary program will offer itineraries leaving from port Adelaide Australia. The program includes the Golden Princess ship operating on round-trips to New Zealand. The first departure is scheduled for Jan 8, 2018 (ports of call Melbourne AU, Dunedin, Akaroa, Wellington, Gisborne, Tauranga, Auckland, Fiordland Park).
In the end of April 2016, Princess announced that the line's 3 Australia-based cruise ships (Dawn, Sea and Sun) will start berthing at Cairns Cruise Liner Terminal (Yorkeys Knob, Queensland). Princess Cruises 2016-2017 Australia itinerary program includes a total of 17 ship calls in Caims (starting from June 8, 2016 with Dawn Princess). The decision was based on simulation exercises which confirmed the possibility of safe navigation through the estuary Trinity Inlet and Cairns harbor.
On May 31, 2016, Princess Cruises announced its 2017-2018 North America itinerary program (September 2017 through April 2018). It includes a total of 11 ships with over 230 departures on 30+ itineraries to 70 different destinations in Caribbean, Mexico-California, Alaska-Canada and Hawaii.
- One of the Princess Panama Canal cruise ships in 2017 will transit through the new locks, on the route Gatun - Pedro Miguel - Miraflores Locks. This is the Caribbean Princess ship to offer 10-night one-way transits. Panama Canal's new locks were officially inaugurated on June 26, 2016. The smaller in size fleetmates Coral and Island will transit the canal through the old locks. The new locks are result of a 9-year USD 5,2 billion building project.
- Round-trips from Vancouver Canada to Hawaii will be offered by Star Princess (fall 2017, spring 2018) and Emerald Princess (two 28-day itineraries to Hawaii, Tahiti, Samoa, fall 2017, spring 2018).
- Princess Mexico cruises from California are offered as 7-day itineraries out of Los Angeles (to Puerto Vallarta, Mazatlan, Cabo San Lucas) and as 10-day itineraries out of San Francisco (also visiting Manzanillo). Aslo from LA will be operated 10-day Baja and Sea of Cortez itineraries to San Diego, Cabo San Lucas, La Paz, Loreto, Puerto Vallarta, California Coastal cruising.
- Food and wine cruises are available on 7-day itineraries from Los Angeles and 10-day from Vancouver Canada. They include a new port of call (Monterey CA) offering visiting the Pebble Beach Golf Course, Monterey Bay Aquarium and the scenic road 17-Mile-Drive (through Pebble Beach and Pacific Grove).
- The Ruby and Emerald ships will also sail on 4-day USA West Coast Getaways from Los Angeles to Santa Barbara (or Catalina Island) and Ensenada Mexico. The 5-day Cabo San Lucas Getaways are with an overnight stay in port.
- As a first ever itinerary for Princess Cruises, Emerald will offer a 12-day roundt-rip from Los Angeles to Alaska (visiting Juneau, Skagway, Ketchikan, Vancouver BC) with Glacier Bay scenic cruising.
- The new itinerary program also offers more ashore time for local culture and cuisine explorations. Select Caribbean, California and Hawaii itineraries will offer extended port stays in Aruba, Curacao, St Thomas USVA, Cozumel Mexico, San Francisco CA, San Diego CA, Long Beach CA, Honolulu Hawaii, also the overnight stays in Cabo San Lucas on the 5-day Mexican cruises from LA.
- For the review of the company's 2018 Japan cruise itinerary program see this CruiseMapper news link.
Princess Cruises will homeport 4 ships to ports in Australia, New Zealand and South Pacific for 2018-2019 season. The cruise line will introduce the 3,560-passenger Majestic Princess to the market for her Inaugural Season, calling Australia home from September 2018 to March 2019. As the newest in the fleet, Majestic Princess will sail itineraries from Auckland and Sydney on voyages from 6 to 13 days, and will call in ports at destinations including New Zealand, Tasmania, Fiji and other islands located in the South Pacific.
Princess cruise line's address and phone number are “24844 Avenue Rockefeller, Santa Clarita, CA 91355” (phone 800-774-6237).
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