Cruise Line Focus

Cruise line focus: Princess Cruises

Princess Cruises is a premium line that balances a traditional cruise experience against new innovations like Movies Under the Stars and flexible Anytime Dining.

Diamond Princess in Yokohama at dawn

Diamond Princess alongside in Yokohama, Japan.

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Princess Cruises, owned by Carnival Corporation, is an upscale cruise line, offering a similar cruise experience to Holland America or Celebrity Cruises.

It started out in 1965 with a single 6,000-ton former ferry turned cruise ship, sailing out of Los Angeles, and is today one of the largest cruise lines in the world.

Princess operates a fleet of 17 cruise ships, ranging in size from the small and intimate Pacific Princess to the large, bell-and-whistle-endowed Regal and Royal Princess.

Similarly, its cruise itineraries range in length from 2-nights to 100-nights in all corners of the world. Princess visits more than 300 ports across the globe every year.

The cruise line was acquired by Carnival Corporation in 2003, following one of the cruise industry’s greatest ever hostile tug-of-wars with Carnival’s great rival Royal Caribbean Cruises, the second-largest cruise company in the world.

Both were trying to merge with P&O Cruises, the parent company of Princess. Carnival ultimately won, securing its place as the largest cruise corporation in history.

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Atrium lobby aboard Majestic Princess.

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Princess Cruises has set itself apart from other cruise lines by balancing old-school cruise traditions like set dining and seating, Baked Alaska Parades and show lounge productions, with new cruise innovations like flexible Anytime Dining, Movies Under the Stars, and a plethora of specialty dining options.

These include Share, created by celebrity chef Curtis Stone and the Salty Dog Gastropub. In terms of entertainment, Princess has innovated the cruise experience with theatre productions by the creator of “Wicked,” Steven Schwartz, and in the staterooms on select ships it has scientifically developed Luxury Beds.

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Princess Cruises Piazza concept

When Crown Princess was launched in 2006, it debuted Princess’ new Piazza design concept, which took the traditional Atrium or reception lobby, but enhanced it by channelling the custom of Italian towns as a place to gather.

It has been introduced on most ships in the fleet during successive refits and was massively expanded aboard the new Regal Princess and Royal Princess.

At the three-deck Piazza there are a number of spontaneous performances during the day, a wine bar, shops, and casual eateries like Alfredo’s pizza and the 24-hour International Cafe for snacks like sandwiches and pastries.

How the Grand Princess class changed the line

When Grand Princess was launched in 1998, it was the largest cruise ship ever built at the time and heralded a new era for Princess.

Grand Princess and her sister ships Caribbean Princess, Crown Princess, Sapphire Princess and Ruby Princess hold 2,594 to 3,080 passengers.

They introduced Movies Under the Stars, the Sanctuary adults-only sun deck, and the controversial jutting-out balconies of the mini-suites.

These features were later added to other Princess ships, becoming a part of the characteristics of the line.

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The adults-only Sanctuary pool area aboard Royal Princess.

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The Princess Cruises on-board experience

Princess Cruises’ ships feature expansive spas and fitness facilities, along with well-designed kids’ clubs that serve ages 3 to 17, and the usual entertainment venues like casinos and nightclubs.

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Princess Cruises’ Owner’s Suite.

Beyond the main restaurants, the ships offer a mix of culinary themes from the New Orleans-inspired Bayou Cafe on Island and Coral Princess to the popular Sabatini’s, serving Italian fare.

Each cruise ship class in the Princess fleet is unique, so dining options aboard each vary dramatically. Aboard the smallest ship, Pacific Princess, for example, there are just four dining options.

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The Princess Cruises fleet

Princess’ fleet is made up of five categories: the Coral Class, Explorer Class, Grand Class, Sun Class and the newest (and largest), Royal Class.

Pacific Princess is the only Explorer-class ship, its name reflecting the more exotic locations to which it cruises, ranging from Cape Town in South Africa and the West and East coasts of the continent to the Arctic.

Dubai tends to be a popular turnaround port for Princess Cruises on its grand voyages and re-positioning cruises. Sea Princess, part of the line’s mid-size Sun-class, and Sapphire Princess, a Grand-class cruise liner, will call in Dubai three times during 2019.

Princess Cruises new Royal class ships

The Royal Class cruise ships, three nearly identical siblings (Royal Princess, Regal Princess and Majestic Princess) are the largest cruise ships ever built for Princess.

Features of this newest ship evolution include an expanded Piazza; the first-ever SeaWalk, a cantilevered, glass-enclosed walkway; and an interactive television studio called Princess Live!.

Types of passengers on a Princess Cruises ship

Princess Cruises attracts a diverse passenger base, with different itineraries and ships appealing to different types of passengers.

The larger and mid-size ships, because they cater to everyone, sail with broad, multigenerational demographics, and a higher percentage of young families on shorter cruises during the holidays.

Cruise ships deployed on longer cruises, and especially the grand voyages and re-positioning cruises, cater primarily to a more mature crowd.

Americans make up the majority on Princess Cruises voyages in the Caribbean, Alaska and other North American itineraries, while the British and other Europeans (Italian, German, French and Spanish) are more prone to sail with Princess on its Mediterranean and Northern European itineraries.

Cruise ships in the Princess fleet:

Caribbean Princess

Coral Princess

Crown Princess

Diamond Princess

Emerald Princess

Golden Princess

Grand Princess

Island Princess

Majestic Princess

Pacific Princess

Regal Princess

Royal Princess

Ruby Princess

Sapphire Princess

Sea Princess

Star Princess

Sun Princess

Due in 2019: Sky Princess

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