Under sunny skies with the Manhattan skyline as a dramatic backdrop, Crown Princess, the newest ship in Princess Cruises fleet, was christened today marking its official debut. Home and lifestyle expert Martha Stewart pulled the lever which broke the traditional champagne bottle on the ship, while singing star Katharine McPhee wowed ceremony guests with the same vocal talent that recently catapulted her to television fame.
The naming ceremony took place at the ship’s new home port in New York, the Brooklyn Cruise Terminal, with “crowning” New York landmarks—the Statue of Liberty, the Manhattan skyline and the Brooklyn Bridge—in clear view.
Over the last several days, the ship has played host to thousands of special guests who were given an advance preview of the 113,000-ton vessel. One of the special guests feted for her crowning achievement was 13-year-old Katharine Close, the recent winner of the 2006 Scripps National Spelling Bee Tournament and the first female winner in seven years. Miss Close competed in the very first “Bee At Sea,” Princess’ new spelling bee tournament which makes its debut on Crown Princess, easily declared the winner among a group that included the ship’s captain and officers, and “Love Boat” Captain, Gavin MacLeod.
The ship departs today on its first Caribbean cruise with stops in Grand Turk, Ocho Rios, Grand Cayman and Port Canaveral, Florida.
The 113,000-ton Crown Princess introduces a number of new design innovations to the Princess fleet, including a dramatic new piazza-style atrium and new casual dining venues. Within the new street cafÌ environment of the atrium, passengers find an International CafÌ serving up fresh pastries and baked goods in the morning and assorted other offerings throughout the day, as well as a wine and seafood bar. Several signature Princess venues have been further enhanced, including an expanded Sabatini’s Italian trattoria with a new piano lounge, and the Crown Grill, a new steak and seafood restaurant with an open, theater-style kitchen where chefs will custom-prepare steamed shellfish and cooked-to-order steaks and chops.
The ship also features the many hallmark features that define the Princess experience, including the dramatic Movies Under the Stars poolside movie screen, multiple dining and entertainment options, a Lotus Spa fitness center, an extensive children and teen’s center, a wedding chapel and nearly 900 staterooms with private balconies.
The inaugural 2006 summer season for Crown Princess features nine-day roundtrip voyages to both the Eastern and Western Caribbean, and marks the return of Princess visits to Bermuda, as well as the line’s first-ever regular calls to Grand Turk. In the fall the ship will reposition to San Juan for winter Caribbean sailings.