Royal Princess (III)
The thirth Royal Princess at the cruiseterminal in Rotterdam during a stay in the largest port of Europe at the 7th of may 2015.
When Carnival Corporation announced this new class for Princess Cruises, everybody expected that it would be an updated and enlarged Grand Class ship. Since may 1997, when Grand Princess came out, with just the exception of Coral Princess and Island Princess (both introduced in 2003), every newbuilt untill then was a Grand Class variation and then we are talking about a timespan of over 15 years. But when the first renderings of the new Royal Princess became available, it was definitely another class and a totally new design. and every cruiseship lover was relieved and excited. The order for the ship and her later sister was placed in 2009 and this was the only order in the world in that year, giving away the nature of the financial crisis the world was in.
Royal Princess is an important name for the company and already used in two previous ships. The first Royal Princess was a groundbreaking cruiseliner without sisterships and sailed between 1984 and 2005 under the Princess Cruises flag. She was one of those cruiseships that was loved like the old liners and a true icon within cruising history. Nowadays, she sails as Artania for the German company Phoenix Reisen and she looks still as splendid and classic as ever. When in 2007 a new Royal Princess was named, several people were a little displeased because this famous name was given to one of the former Renaissance Cruises ships and in the opinon of many, the name should be reserved for some kind of flagship within the Princess fleet. This second Royal Princess sailed only untill 2011, after the new Royal Princess was announced and she was replaced within the fleet of P&O Cruises as their second Adonia.
And an imposing bow she has.
The highly anticipated thirth Royal Princess was to be the largest ship that had ever sailed for the company. She was to recieve a sistership within the fleet though, but it is today with those monsterships highly unlikely that there will be a ship without sisters in the future. Her sister was introduced in 2014 under the name Regal Princess, the second time this name was used. The first plate of the new Royal Princess, then known as yardnumber 6223, was cut at the 15th of march of 2011 at the Fincantieri yards at Monfalcone, Italy. Her keel was laid, as we still say, at the 20th of october of 2011 and she left her building dock in august of 2012. The ship was finally delivered to Princess Cruises at the 4th of june 2013.
One of the coolest gimmicks to go to sea in the last years is the seawalk, where you can walk, well, above the sea or in this case, above the river Maas.
The then largest cruiseship within the Princess fleet measures 142.229 tons and she has a lenght of 330 meters and a width of 38 meters at the waterline and her draft reaches 8,60 meters. The passengercapacity of the ship is said to be 3580 complimented by 1346 crewmembers on her total of 18 decks, of which 15 are accessible to her passengers. After her introduction, Royal Princess also became the new flagship of the fleet, relieving Grand Princess of that title.
At the 7th of june of 2013, the ship arrived for the first time at Southampton. Like most cruiseships within the fleet of Princess Cruises, she is registered at Bermuda with her homeport Hamilton at the stern, but in all, the new Royal Princess is dedicated to the British market and Southampton can be seen as her true homeport in my opinion. Especially the first month of her active life that was clear enough. At the 9th of june she departed for her first introductioncruise to St.Peter Port at Guernsey and back to Southampton. On wednesday the 12th of june a so-called naming-gala was organised, the day before she was officially named. But her dedication to the British market was especially clear because Kate Middleton, sorry, Cathernine Middleton or better still Her Royal Highness The Dutchess Of Cambridge had the honour to officially name the ship. The ceremony was also in true British style, as the ship was blessed and the Royal Marines and the pipers of the Irish Guards were also present.
At the 16th of june, the ship departed for her first cruise to the Catalonian port of Barcelona via Vigo, Lisbon, Gibraltar and Malaga. Afterwards, like the two Royal Princess-es before her, she sailed worldwide cruises for mostly the British market.
On the 22nd of september 2013, the new ship had a problem when she lost all power while cruising between Mykonos and Naples. Because of the outrage, the second leg of the cruise was cancelled and passengers flown home from either Rome or Naples. She then left for Barcelona and was repaired underway, so she was again able to start her next cruise as sceduled.
In the beginning of 2015, another ship in the same class was introduced, but now within the fleet of P&O Cruises under the name of Britannia. The most striking change in design is that the massive Princess funnel is missing and replaced by two funnels in the new colours of P&O. In may of that year also, it was announced that a thirth sistership within the fleet of Princess Cruises, the Majestic Princess, will be dedicated to the fast growing Chinese market from 2017 onwards and she will be redesigned to fit into that role accordingly. Three more ships will then follow after her, starting with Sky Princess in 2019, Enchanted Princess in 2020 and Discovery Princess in 2022.