Princess Cruises expands fleet

Princess Cruises has announced it will expand its fleet by adding a sister vessel to the line’s popular Pacific Princess and Tahitian Princess. The 680-passenger ship will be named Royal Princess, taking the name of a former, much-beloved Princess ship which had long been cruising in Europe and other exotic worldwide destinations.

Its new successor will take over a similar deployment when she enters service in autumn 2007.

The 30,000-ton ship originally entered service in 2001 as a Renaissance vessel (named R8) and is currently cruising as Swan Hellenic’s Minerva II.

Royal Princess will join its sisters Tahitian Princess and Pacific Princess to give passengers a cruising environment with all the hallmarks of choice for which Princess is known, including a variety of dining and entertainment options and a large number of cabins with private balconies.

“We’re delighted to welcome the new Royal Princess to our fleet,” said Princess Cruises President Alan Buckelew in the US. “The Princess cruise experience is all about choice, and we’re sure this new ship addition will please our passengers who enjoy traveling aboard a smaller vessel to exotic destinations. We’re expecting that this ship will rapidly achieve the same loyal passenger following as her sisters Pacific and Tahitian.”

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Mr Buckelew added that the company’s smaller ships nicely complemented its fleet of larger vessels, furthering Princess’ commitment to providing passengers with exotic itineraries and providing a “boutique version” of the company’s Personal Choice Cruising program. This includes a variety of dining experiences such as a 24-hour Lido cafĂ© and alternative dining venues, and nearly three-quarters of all cabins featuring private balconies.

The ship will begin sailing for Princess in April 2007 after a two week dry dock to make some interior modifications. Her first itineraries will be in Europe with 12-day sailings in the Mediterranean, Holy Land and Black Sea, and details of these cruises will be announced shortly.

“With the addition of Royal Princess, this further modernizes the Princess fleet, which is already one of the youngest in the industry,” added Mr Buckelew. “In 2007 our average ship age will be just under six years, and we know that our passengers appreciate the features and amenities we can offer with newer ships.”
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