At a Cruise Shipping Miami press conference, Alan Buckelew, president and CEO, Princess Cruises, unveiled the name of the line’s newest 3,600-passenger vessel: Royal Princess. He said the first piece of steel was cut today for the ship’s construction at Italy’s Fincantieri Shipyard in Monfalcone. The new 141,000-ton ship will launch in 2013.
“We’ve reached back into our past with a sentimental name,” Buckelew said. The original Royal Princess launched in 1984, and was the industry’s first cruise ship with a multi-level atrium and all-outside cabins.
Among the new ship’s "wow" design features? This latest Royal Princess will have one feature former guests never dreamed about—an over-water SeaWalk, a cantilevered, enclosed glass walkway on the mid-ship starboard side. The walkway will extend more than 28 feet beyond the edge of the vessel, and include dramatic views to the sea 128 feet below. Guests stroll out and over the sea, enclosed in glass for dramatic views all around. And on the port side, a similarly positioned curved area will be home to a new SeaView Bar, with cocktails and incredible vistas for about 20 passengers at a time.
In addition, atop the ship, Royal Princess will feature a new adults-only pool surrounded by private cabanas; entry to the pool will be free, the cabana rentals will carry a charge. The adult Sanctuary, a private relaxation enclave will be expanded in size and amenities. Two additional pools with flank a tropical island to offer pool seating by day and a dance club atmosphere at night, complete with a water and light show. In addition, the line’s “Movies Under the Stars” outdoor screen will be larger than on past ships and provide high definition viewing.
Inside, Princess plans to significantly expand the Piazza Atrium, which is a multi-faceted social hub, combining quick bits and light meals, beverages, entertainment, shopping and guest services. On the accommodations side, all outside staterooms on Royal Princess will have balconies, constituting a full 80 percent of the total accommodations onboard.
Buckelew reminded reporters that changes are more an evolution than a revolution, as Princess has been working hard to provide consistency for guests with its existing fleet. “The new ship is very consistent with our existing fleet,” he said. “Since the Ruby Princess launched in 2008, we’ve been concentrating on evolving and fine-tuning – bringing all the signature Princess features to all ships in the fleet.”