Princess Cruises’ Next New Ship to be Based in China Year Round
Rendering of the new ship courtesy Princess Cruises
Coming on the heels of major announcements regarding new and existing ships being diverted to the Chinese market by Royal Caribbean and Costa Cruises is the news that Princess Cruises will greatly expand their presence in the market beginning in the summer of 2017 with the year-round deployment of their newest ship on cruises from Shanghai. Carnival Corporation & plc, the largest cruise company in the world, made the announcement May 5th that the new ship currently under construction for Princess Cruises will be the first year-round international luxury vessel designed and built specifically for Chinese guests.The as-yet-unnamed ship is being built at the Fincantieri shipyard in Italy, and will carry approximately 3,600 guests on a variety of itineraries, to be announced at a later date. Based on the design of the nearly 143,000 gross ton sister-ships ROYAL PRINCESS and REGAL PRINCESS, the new vessel will feature a number of new innovations customized for the growing number of Chinese cruise vacationers.
The showrooms are among the largest at sea on the newest Princess ships. Photo by Shawn J. Dake © 2014.
“Deploying our next new ship in China underscores our strong commitment to growing the China cruise market and providing discerning travelers with amazing vacation experiences at sea,” said Jan Swartz, president of Princess Cruises. “And as this ship is still in the design phase we are looking forward to creating other new and exciting venues and experiences catering to the Chinese vacationer, which we will reveal in the coming months,” Swartz added.
The atrium aboard the REGAL PRINCESS is 50% larger than that of the previous generation of Princess ships. Photo by Shawn J. Dake © 2014.
Princess ships began home-port cruising in China just last year, with a successful inaugural season of Shanghai-based cruises aboard the 116,000 gross ton, 2,670-passenger SAPPHIRE PRINCESS. That ship is about to begin her second China cruise season which runs from June 4th through October 2015. Alan Buckelew, the former President & CEO of Princess Cruises, who is now Chief Operations Officer of Carnival Corporation & plc, is himself based in China. Among his many duties are developing strategic partnerships including the recent memorandum of understanding with China State Shipbuilding Corporation (CSSC) and the Italian Fincantieri shipyards to develop the potential for building ships specifically designed for the Chinese marketplace.
Looking up towards the spectacular glass-bottomed SeaWalk. Photos by Shawn J. Dake
The new ship will share many of the special features which have proven popular on the earlier pair of sisterships, including an expanded multi-story atrium serving as the social hub of the ship; the SeaWalk, a top-deck glass-bottomed walkway extending 28 feet beyond the edge of the ship; and the Princess Live! interactive television studio. In addition, the new ship will showcase the exclusive “Princess Class” experience designed specifically for the Chinese market that the company introduced during its first season. Delivered by the ship’s dedicated crew, “Princess Class” enriches the travel experience of each cruise guest, enabling them to participate in unique cultural, culinary, entertaining and inspiring programs including the World Leaders Dinner, traditional English afternoon tea, a Lobster Grill, Ultimate Balcony Dining, an ocean-view hot pot dinner option, ballroom dancing, and an unparalleled duty-free shopping experience.
A view of the spectacular glass-bottomed SeaWalk. Photo by Shawn J. Dake
The newest Princess is currently scheduled to debut by the summer of 2017. It will be 1,082 feet long with a beam of 125 feet at the hull. It is being constructed at the Monfalcone yard of Fincantieri. This shipyard has been responsible for the majority of Princess Cruises ships since the early 1990’s including the recent additions of the ROYAL PRINCESS, REGAL PRINCESS and the similarly designed BRITANNIA for P&O Cruises.
Shawn J. Dake, freelance travel writer and regular contributor to MaritimeMatters, worked in tourism and cruise industry for over 35 years. A native of Southern California, his first job was as a tour guide aboard the Queen Mary. A frequent lecturer on ship-related topics he has appeared on TV programs. Owner of Oceans Away Cruises & Travel agency, he served as President of the local Chapter of Steamship Historical Society of America. With a love of the sea, he is a veteran of 115 cruises.
Latest posts by Shawn Dake (see all)