Focus On Cruising

Exploring the Wonderful World of Cruise Ships

Introducing Royal Princess

No Comments »

Artist's Rendering of the Royal Princess

Royal Princess is a name which resonates with the many fans of Princess Cruise Lines.   Two vessels have already borne the name and, now, in a highly anticipated announcement, Princess reveals that the first of two new builds, set to debut in Spring 2013, will also bring the name back to the fleet.

The press release follows:

“As the first steel plate was cut today marking the official start of construction of Princess Cruises’ next ship, the line unveiled the vessel’s profile, released preliminary details about some of its features, and revealed its name — Royal Princess.

This will be the third time the name Royal Princess has been given to a Princess ship.

Debuting in spring of 2013, the new 141,000-ton, 3,600-passenger Royal Princessis the first of two new-generation ships for Princess which are being built by Fincantieri at their Monfalcone, Italy shipyard. The prototype design is an evolution of the line’s classic style of ships, while including some new features and expanded signature spaces.

A new design element revealed today is an over-water SeaWalkSM, a top-deck glass-bottomed enclosed walkway on the ship’s starboard side extending more than 28 feet beyond the edge of the vessel. From here passengers can enjoy dramatic views, including to the sea 128 feet below. On the ship’s port side, passengers will find a similarly-unique cantilevered SeaView bar, featuring cocktails with unbeatable vistas.

Also on her top decks, Royal Princess will feature a new adults-only pool surrounded by seven plush private cabanas that appear to be floating on the water. Two additional pools will flank a tropical island that will offer pool seating by day, and by night will become an outdoor dance club, complete with a dazzling water and light show. Princess’ signature adults-only haven, The Sanctuary, will be expanded both in size and amenities. The popular poolside theater, Movies Under the Stars, will play a starring role mid-ship with an expanded size and high-definition viewing.

“Princess passengers will easily recognize our next ship as a natural progression in our fleet,” said Princess President and CEO Alan Buckelew. “We’re taking the best features of our newest vessels that have been such customer pleasers, and taking them to the next level. Just as the original Royal Princess ushered in a new era for our company with its innovative design, we expect our new Royal Princess to do the same.”

Inside the ship, one of the line’s hallmark venues, the Piazza atrium, will be significantly expanded. This area will be the multi-faceted social hub of the vessel, combining always-changing quick bites and light meals, beverages, entertainment, shopping and guest services.

All outside staterooms on Royal Princess will have balconies, which means that 80 percent of the ship’s staterooms will include this desirable feature.

Royal Princess will include 260,000 square feet of inside public space with multiple dining and entertainment venues, as well as other special features and amenities which will be revealed over the coming months.

A video preview of Royal Princess is available at Princess Cruise Lines’ website.  Artist renderings of the ship are available on Princess’ Flickr page.

A sister ship to Royal Princess will be launched in spring 2014.”

For those who are fans of Princess, as am I, this announcement seems quite fitting and welcome.  Hard to explain, I think, but I like the sense of tradition, a tip of the hat – if you will – to a much loved ship that hosted her guests well.  I look forward to strolling on SeaWalk, fighting my fear of heights every step of the way.

Technorati Tags: Cruise line, cruise ship, newbuild, Princess Cruise Lines, Royal Princess, SeaWalk, Spring 2013

Your Questions About Cruises From Miami

No Comments »

William asks…

Are there any cruises from miami to bahamas and stay on the island for one night and cruise back?

We want to go to the Bahamas for just one day.  We want to cruise there and get a hotel on the island.  We want to then cruise back another day.  Is there anything like that being offered?

John answers:

There are a couple options, but not out of Miami.  Discovery Cruise Lines offers a two day sailing out of Ft. Lauderdale to Grand Bahama Island, with a choice of hotel options.  Price will vary with the hotel chosen.

Celebration Cruise Lines offers a two-night sailing from Palm Beach to Grand Bahama Island.  The ship sails overnight to the island, stays the day, and then sails overnight back to Florida.  You don’t overnight at a hotel.

Two caveats:  these ships do not sail to Nassau, and they are not in the same category as Carnival, Princess, Celebrity, etc.

Lizzie asks…

What cruises from Miami (Fort Lauderdale), the most interesting (Caribbean,Bahamas,Bermudas)?

(mexican island)

John answers:

All of these are sun, surf and sand destinations.  If this is what you are looking for, I’m not sure you can say that any one destination is more interesting than the other.  Each of these destinations will have their champions, but you won’t miss out by choosing one over the other.

Now, if you’re looking for something a bit different, Mexico has some very important archaeological sites that you might find very interesting.  If this is something that resonates with you, then Mexico should be your focus.

Steven asks…

What are the best cruise lines from Miami?

My grandparents ( 63 and 67) and my cousin (12) and I (13) want to go on a 7-10 day cruise from Miami around the Caribbean ( anywhere really). What cruise lines are the best and funnest.  We also don’t care about price, but just want to have a good time.  We are going during the February school break next year.

John answers:

I don’t think you can say that any one cruise line is the best.  Each has its own personality and focus.  In general, some lines may appeal more to older people and some more to younger people, but this is not universally so.

Royal Caribbean might be a good middle ground.  Their ships have features your grandpaerents would enjoy, while also having an excellent teen program and great activities.  Princess and Celebrity would also be worth checking out.

My suggestion is that you all sit down with a travel agent and discuss what you hope to get out of the cruise.  The agent will be able to tell you what is available for your dates and help you make a choice that is acceptable to everyone.

Powered by Yahoo! Answers

Technorati Tags: Bahamas, Carnival Cruise Lines, Celebration Cruise Lines, Celebrity Cruises, Cruise lines, cruise ships, Discovery Cruise Lines, Grand Bahama Island, Miami, Princess Cruise Lines, Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines

Princess Marks Veterans Day

No Comments »

Bald Eagle and the American Flag

I wrote a post last week about Carnival Cruise Lines’ sale in honor of Veterans Day.  Today Princess Cruise Lines is promoting their on board military credit program.  Available to active and retired members of the armed forces of the United States and Canada, the on board credit ranges from $50 to $250 per stateroom, dependent upon length of cruise.

“As I discovered when I recently wrote about my own military experience on our company blog, we have a large number of veterans among our passengers,” said Alan Buckelew, Princess Cruises president and CEO. “We want to honor all military personnel this Veterans Day and thank them for their service.”

Eligible passengers should apply for the on board credit no later than one week prior to the departure date of their cruise.  Proof of eligibility will be required.  The on board credit will be $50 for cruises 6 days or less, $100 for cruises from 7 to 13 days, and $250 for cruises of 14 days or longer.  The credit is offered on a per stateroom basis.

I think this is commendable.  It’s a small token of appreciation for those men and women who were willing to risk their lives to do their duty as they saw it as well as for those who currently shoulder that burden.

Technorati Tags: Carnival Cruise Lines, Cruise line, cruise ship, military personnel, on board credit, Princess Cruise Lines, Veteran's Day

Plague Ship

No Comments »

Norovirus

A number of news stories are circulating about the outbreak of a gastrointestinal illness inflicting a small number of passengers on board the Caribbean Princess.  I think it is safe to conjecture that the culprit is the Norovirus, a not so rare guest on cruise ships in recent years.

What struck me as amusing was the reaction, as reported in some of these articles, of the residents of Saint John, New Brunswick, where the ship docked this morning.  Store owners and tour operators were advised to be particularly mindful, with hand sanitizers and disinfected door knobs being the salient safeguards.  One local shopkeeeper professed to hoping for the best.  “I’m going to be a lot more careful with the way I handle their money and stuff”, he is quoted as saying.  One guesses that he soldiered on and took their money when it was offered.

One would almost think that an upset tummy was the early warning sign of something far more dire.  It seemed as if the hapless citizens of Saint John were beset by the imminent arrival of a plague ship, with infected passengers hellbent on forcing their filthy lucre on the populace.  Perhaps making them wear bells would have been an appropriate precaution.

I’m having a bit of fun, of course, primarily at the media which needs to take even minor news items and imbue them with far more importance than they actually have.  I also am not minimizing the discomfort that norovirus inflicts on its victims.  It is important to remember, however, that this virus was first identified over 40 years ago, and has probably been around for a good deal longer.  It is responsible for the overwhelming majority of large-scale outbreaks of what is commonly called stomach flu worldwide, and is by no means restricted to cruise ships.

One measure, I guess, of a virus’s success is its ability to jump from one victim to the next, and norovirus thrives in densely populated environments.  Cruise ships are certainly excellent breeding grounds, but they are far from the only venues that encourage transmission.  The good citizens of Saint John are probably more at risk from little Tommy and Sally bringing home their new norovirus friends that they acquired at school, than they are from passengers off a cruise ship.

Technorati Tags: Cruise line, cruise ship, gastrointestinal illness, New Brunswick, norovirus, Princess Cruise Lines, Princess Cruises, Saint John, stomach flu

To The Panama Canal!

No Comments »

Isalnd Princess

I just finalized a booking on the Island Princess, departing on February 28th from Ft. Lauderdale for a full transit of the Panama Canal.  Fifteen days later, having visited Aruba, Cartegena, Fuerte Amador, Puntarenas, Acapulco, Cabo San Lucas and, of course, the Canal itself, and luxuriated in seven glorious sea days, we’ll arrive in Los Angeles.

My sister and I treated my mother to a birthday cruise to Antarctica last February, and it was a great success all around.  We’ve decided to build on that success with a new destination, one which, again, none of us has been to before.

I’m a great fan of Princess Cruise Line.  They simply do things right.  Yes, the ships are large, but the design and layout of the public spaces make the ships seem less crowded.  Anytime dining eliminates the rush to the dining rooms at one’s appointed hour, and I’ve never had to wait more than a couple minutes for a table.  I have to admit that I’m not one to share a table with strangers, but even a request for a table for two is honored quickly and efficiently.

Perhaps, however, what I enjoy most are the smiles.  It is Princess’s policy that staff and crew never pass a guest on board the ship without a smile and an appropriate greeting.   This is no small thing, and is not universally practiced across all premium brands.  It does add a marvelous sense of belonging, however, making for a very pleasant experience.

I’m really looking forward to the opportunity to relax and recharge, and share new and intriguing experiences with my mother and sister.  It should be a lot of fun.

Technorati Tags: Acapulco, Aruba, Cabo San Lucas, Cartegena, Costa Rica, Island Princess, Panama, Panama Canal, Princess Cruise Lines, Puntarenas