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GRAND PRINCESS To Lose Her “Handle”

Posted on Thursday, February 10, 2011 by

"As built" Princess Cruises GRAND PRINCESS at Fort Lauderdale. Photo and copyright Peter Knego 2000.

February 10:  Princess Cruises revealed specifics on the removal of the Skywalkers Lounge pod and other changes being made to its 2,600 passenger  GRAND PRINCESS.  The first in a class of nine Princess and two P&O ships (that more or less utilized her blueprint), the 109,000 gt GRAND PRINCESS was the largest passenger ship in the world when she debuted in 1998.

Skywalkers from the starboard Deck 15 shuffleboard courts. Photo and copyright Peter Knego 2000.

Her futuristic profile, the creation of Fincantieri architect Giacomo Mortola, was considered edgy and controversial for the pod suspended over the ship’s stern containing Skywalker’s Lounge.

Skywalkers, facing starboard. Photo and copyright Peter Knego 2000.

A quiet nook by day and disco at night, Skywalkers was dismissed by many as a “shopping cart handle” that marred the ship’s profile.  Some also complained that the underutilized space cast a shadow over the Terrace Pool atop the stern.

GRAND PRINCESS' new profile. Courtesy of Princess Cruises.

Naysayers will now get their wish in seeing the structure removed as part of a multi-million dollar upgrade to the ship this spring at Freeport’s Grand Bahama Shipyard.  The pod was the first of its type installed on a ship and subsequent pods utilized lighter materials.  Its removal will improve the GRAND PRINCESS’ handling and efficiency and save fuel.  There are no plans to remove similar structures from the line’s other Grand Class ships, GOLDEN PRINCESS, STAR PRINCESS and CARIBBEAN PRINCESS.

No more 5:00 shadow! The GRAND PRINCESS' stern after the removal of Skywalkers. Courtesy of Princess Cruises.

The 24 day refit will also include the installation of a new nightclub on aft Deck 15 called One5, the transformation of the atrium into Princess’ signature Piazza, including the addition of Vines tapas and wine bar.  A Crown Grill steakhouse and Crooner’s martini bar will also be added and a new Alfredo’s Pizzeria will feature an open kitchen.

Leaves Tea Lounge and Library. Photo courtesy of Princess Cruises.

New to the fleet will be the Leaves Tea Lounge and Library, complete with tea sommelier that can assist passengers in blending specialized tea creations.  Further enhancements will be made to the Horizon Court, Lotus Spa and wedding chapel.

“This is the largest makeover we’ve ever undertaken for any of our ships,” said Jan Swartz, Princess Cruises executive vice president. “When Grand Princess was launched she was the most innovative ship at sea, and now we’re adding some of the later innovations we introduced on subsequent ships.”

When GRAND PRINCESS emerges from her makeover, she will head to Fort Lauderdale for a May 5 transatlantic crossing to her summer home port of Southampton.

19 Responses to GRAND PRINCESS To Lose Her “Handle”

  1. Glenn L.

    February 10, 2011 at 4:16 pm

    Too bad, It would probably make for some fantastic suites. I guess Carnival group knows the numbers better than i do.

  2. PAT

    February 11, 2011 at 1:46 am

    About time !!!!!
    That oddity on the stern made her look like one of the ugliest ships around.

  3. Ally Jones

    February 11, 2011 at 3:54 am

    This was broken back in December 2010 but its only this week that Princess made it official.

    Its bittersweet really, the person who broke the story about the iconic shopping trolley handle being removed sadly did not live to see it confirmed. A wonderful cruise journalist, with a warmth & wit that made him extremely popular with his piers….Steve Read passed away this week, aged just 54.

    He will be sadly missed, and as Captain Greybeard has suggested, maybe the new bar on Grand Princess should be known as ‘Steve’s Bar’.

  4. Kenneth Eden

    February 11, 2011 at 3:56 am

    I sailed Grand Princess three times, from 1998 to 2000. It is true that the “handle” shaded the Terrace Pool, which was actually a great kudo, since the hundreds of kids that seem always to be on a Princess ship, were pushing and shoving at the pools in full sun, leaving the Terrace Pool blessedly empty. And a nice escape from the sun, I might add.

    The ramp entrance to the disco, Skywalkers, was great fun with the pulsing lights and mirrros leading into the club. It felt special, this walkway, because it was, no other ship had anything close to it. Once inside, it was just like any other disco on most contemporary ships. Again, underutilized, and cold.

    The rendering offers a more dignified look to the old GP.

  5. Peter C. Kohler

    February 11, 2011 at 7:29 am

    A shopping trolley without a handle is just useless not prettier. They can tweak these graceless lumps all they want but they’ll remain the ugliest class of ships built in decades. At least there’s only one NORWEGIAN EPIC, it’s impossible to cruise anywhere without encountering one of these putrid Princesses.

  6. Glenn L.

    February 11, 2011 at 8:40 am

    It would make an awesome roadside diner with little conversion work.

  7. David

    February 11, 2011 at 10:07 am

    Hopefully this will eliminate some of the ships…..Heavy rolling. I have been on many ships, and These grand class vessels I have sailed the Golden Princess, Grand Princess both seemed to roll quite a bit in heavy seas.

  8. Michael Bennett

    February 11, 2011 at 6:07 pm

    That will be an improvement which hopefully might be addressed on the other ships in time. That was the only time I’ve ever had vertigo on a ship actually, in Skywalkers on GOLDEN.

  9. Kevin

    February 11, 2011 at 8:09 pm

    I wonder if specific operational or structural issues have come up that made Carnival/Princess take this course of action.

    Leaves Tea Lounge…Carnival/Princess is recycling the decor from the design work Princess did for the Cunard themed Vista Queens. Why come up with something original when you can recycle what you’ve already done.

  10. Kenneth Eden

    February 12, 2011 at 4:08 am

    If anything positive could come of Princess and “the GRAND” loosing the handle, it may well be that the ship is being rennovated or modified or enhanced,or basically, saved, not sold or scrapped, and not being replaced with yet another ship

  11. Numbers65 on OH

    February 15, 2011 at 8:51 pm

    Recycling is good in any way. Being a Sitmar passenger from the 80’s and having sailed on the Crown Princess I think that this class of ships ressembles what the Sitmar ships may have been like had Sitmar kept it’s brand identity in the Princess merger. Service and food are not as good as those days but still good. Still I would give anything to sail on my good ol’ twins Fairsea / Fairwind and the Fairsky again. I like todays ships and what they offer, but the experience is not “better” just different. The Crown was nice with so many different pool areas with differnt levels of activity, nice lounges large and small, many choices to eat various foods without an extra charge, well designed cabins and the PIAZZA! Even without balcony/ TV cabins and movies under the stars (as well as other lines new fads, slides, rock walls, alt dining, etc) cruising of yesteryear was just as excellent and then some! I wish I could take one of those today! PS The pizza on the ship was a take of on Sitmar’s pizzaria, but that new pizza restaurtant seems like it will REALLY recapture that Sitmar style personal pizza- the best pizza I ever had.

  12. Gregg

    February 16, 2011 at 8:44 pm

    they should lose more than just the handle. Friggin ugly ships they have. what i cant believe is that these ships were designed in Ital. it baffles my mind.

  13. Gregg

    February 16, 2011 at 8:48 pm

    Im with you on Sitmar. Best cruise line ever!!Silverseas is supposed to be a taste of Sitmar, but from what I heard and from what passengers pay, it aint worth it.
    Awe I miss the Fairwind, and the Fairsky, i didnt like the Fairmajesty, she was an ugly ship inside and out. Now the Crown and the Regal, they are close to my favourite the Pacific…very close…

  14. David L. NYC

    February 17, 2011 at 8:21 am

    Will the removal of the Skywalker’s Disco reduce the vessel’s GRT, in a very real sense making her smaller?

  15. Tony Skilton

    March 17, 2011 at 1:56 am

    Quote..”the 109,000 gt GRAND PRINCESS was the largest ship in the world when she debuted in 1998.”

    More inaccurate information.

    Suggest the writer has a look at the 654,000 dwt ‘Jahre Viking’ & ‘Knok Nevis’ files before making statements like this.
    Inserting the word “Cruise” between “largest” & “ship” will make the facts a lot more believable.

  16. Peter Knego

    March 17, 2011 at 6:57 am

    Thanks for the sharply-worded “correction”. Since I have personally witnessed the demise of the ex JAHRE VIKING and posted my account of same, it’s not as though I did not know that. Of course, most everyone understands I was writing in context of passenger ships only but since you suggest a correction, I am happy to provide it.

  17. Michael Grace

    March 28, 2011 at 12:56 pm

    Floating Vegas hotels… from Carnival to Princess to Cunard. Same model, same cookie cutter and equally outrageous add on charges. Princess was fine before sold to the K-Mart king of cruise branding: Carnival. The schlock of all schlock companies…

  18. marmit ahmed

    October 17, 2012 at 4:40 am

    i’am marmit ahmed on 10 octouber 2012 Thank you very much. I wish to work with you or riding on a trip . They have sent us in hope of new life . I would like to thank you Treatment . i love Grand Princess ♥

  19. Diego

    November 11, 2012 at 4:59 pm

    LA habeis fastidiado.Convertisteis uno de los mas bonitos cruceros en uno de lo mas vulgar..El mundo va para atras

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