Emerald Princess was built at the Fincantieri yards at Monfalcone, Italy and launched at the 1st of june 2006. The ship is in fact the 22nd cruiseship built in Monfalcone during sixteen years and the 12th ship that Princess Cruises had built at this yard. This shows the importancy of Princess Cruises for the Monfalcone yards. Godmother of the ship was Mrs. Jenny Arkinstall, the wife of Charles Arkinstall, Newbuild Advisor of P&O Princess International.
The ship is part of the Crown-class, that consists out of three sisterships. Emerald Princess was the second ship of this class, following Crown Princess and followed by Ruby Princess. At the time these ships entered service for Princess Cruises, they were the biggest ships owned by the company, surpassing the original trio of Grand class ships with around 4.000 extra gross tons. These 4.000 tons were for the extra deck that was added to the Crown-class ships. Unlike the earlier sistership Caribbean Princess, that offers one deck more then the original trio of ships but one deck less then this new Crown-class of ships, the Skywalkers Lounge at the Crown-class is not placed at the stern. This lounge, that is often cynicly referred to as a shopping cart handle, has been replaced and is fitted more closely to the funnel, so the aft decks and pool are not blocked off from the sun anymore.
Emerald Princess measures some 113.000 tons and has a lenght of 290 meters. Her width is 36 meters and she has a draft of 8 meters. She can sail with up to 3500 passengers maximum and 1200 crewmembers at a speed of around 21,5 knots. The ship was handed over to Princess Cruises at the 24th of march of 2007 and was named in Greece at the 13th of may. This was not a randomly chosen date or location, because that day it was Mother's Day. The celebrations for this day originates from Greece, so that's also why the naming ceremony was planned here at Piraeus, the port of Athens. Of course, the ship was named also in style by Florence Henderson, who plays the part of mother Carol Brady from the series The Brady Bunch, together with her TV daughter Susan Olsen, who plays the part of Cindy Brady in the same series. They were joined by another mother/ daughter couple known from TV, mother Marion Ross and daughter Erin Moran, who play the parts of Marion Cunningham and Joanie Cunningham in Happy Days. As an extra, also Gavin MacLeod, who played the part of Captain Meril Stubing in the original Love Boat series, was present.
Her first cruise was one in the Mediterranean, starting at the 11th of april 2007. She kept sailing the Mediterranean for the summer season, before being repositioned to the Caribbean and sailing out of Fort Lauderdale in winter. She keeps sailing this scedule untill now, although in Europe she is not longer limited to the Mediterranean, while she also offers northern European cruises. On the 25th of july 2010, she experienced a power outrage that lasted for more then four hours. Because of this, there was no air conditioning, no elevator were available, toilets could not be flushed and the lighting was only very limited. Due to this outrage, the ship was also not able to dock at Princess Cruises own island Princess Cays and the passengers were all compensated and recieved a 300 dollar refund per stateroom, that could be spent onboard on shore excursions, souvenirs, spa treatments or other onboard facilities.
On may 9th, 2011, I had the opportunity to visit the Emerald Princess when she was in Rotterdam but the day went not really as planned. Because of a norovirus outbreak on board, the day before my tour, the tour was cancelled due to the American health regulations. But it was possible to board the ship and while the tour was cancelled, we did have a presentation about Princess Cruises in the Club Fusion on deck 7, and while walking to this lounge, I was able to take some pictures within the atrium, the Explorers Lounge, the Crown Grill and, of course, the Club Fusion. These pictures are added on the next page.