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Star Princess (II)

Star Princess sailing past Maassluis at the New Waterway from Rotterdam towards the sea after her first visit to the Dutch port at the 12th of may 2005. 

The thirth ship of the Grand Class for Princess Cruises floated out of her dock at the Monfalcone based yard of Fincantieri Navali Italiani in Italy at the 10th of may 2001 as yardnumber 6051 . The ship was measured slightly larger then her earlier sister Grand Princess, but equal in size to the second ship of the class Golden Princess. She is measured at 108.865 tons, her lenght is 289,51 meters, she is 36 meters wide and her draft reaches 8 meters. Some 3100 passengers can sail her as a maximum, although the double occupancy is 2592. These people are taken care of by 1100 crewmembers and they can use 12 of her total of 17 decks. At the 29th of june, there was one mishap during the finishing stages of the building process, when a fire broke out on deck 4 and the damage was considerable, costing several millions of dollars. Also, six people were hospitalized, though nobody was injured too severely.

The Star Princess, the second time the company used this name, was delivered to Princess Cruises at the 25th of january 2002. Unlike her sistership Grand Princess, that was firstly registered at Liberia, Star Princess was registered at Bermuda from the start on, her homeport being Hamilton. She arrived in Los Angeles as the largest ship that had ever sailed into that port at the 10th of march and undertook several short 'shakedown' cruises before she set sail for her maiden cruise from Los Angeles to Mexico on the 16th of that same month. In her first season, she cruised both Alaska, Mexico and the Caribbean, all well-known places for the ships of Princess Cruises. From 2005 onwards, the ship sailed also European summerseasons, returning to North America and the Caribbean in winter.

At the 27th of april of 2005, the ship was docked at Jamaica when a burst of heavy rainfall caused a lot of passengers a long delay to get to the ship. Eight hours after the planned departure, the ship was finally able to sail when the stormclouds had dissappeared. But this was not the most severe problem faced by the Star Princess, because one year later, at the 23rd of march 2006, a devastating fire raged again through the ship, starting in the passenger quarters midships on the port side. The ship was at a Caribbean cruise at the time and sailed between Grand Cayman an Montego Bay, Jamaica. The cause of the fire was a burning cigarette on one of the balconies, that caused the plastic polycarbonate balcony-divide to melt and burn. In total, around 150 cabins were burned and 100 more between decks 9 to 12 were largely damaged by the smoke and water, causing a chilling sight when the ship entered Montego Bay because a lot of the ships port side was affected. At that time, the fire had been contained and doused and the ship had been able to sail at her own power. Sadly, a 72-year old passenger from Georgia, USA, died because of the toxic gasses that he inhaled and around 13 other persons had suffered severely but survived. 

The rest of her Caribbean season was cancelled and the ship was brought over to the Lloyd Werft at Bremerhaven, Germany to be repaired and resumed cruising at the 15th of may from Copenhagen, Denmark.

Above, Star Princess is leaving Rotterdam for the first time at the same day in may 2005.

Another incident, that is still not really cleared up, is an encounter with a fishing boat on the 10th of march 2012 while the ship sailed the Pacific Ocean off South America. Three of the passengers of Star Princess notified the crew of the ship that they had sighted a fishingboat with three people, waving, probably in distress. But Star Princess continued her course and did not stop to look for the seemingly stricken vessel. Several weeks later, the boat was found near the Galapagos Islands with only one man alive aboard, the other two had died. The boat had drifted away from Panama and was in fact the boat seen by the passengers of Star Princess. Princess Cruises invsetigated the incident and stated that there was a problem in communication and the captain of the ship wasn't notified. Another report states that the captain had been informed and in the ships log is to be found that the ship tried to avoid shipping nets by changing course, had been in contact with the fishermen and that they had signalled their thanks because of the ship avoiding the nets.

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