Following the most extensive drydock in Princess Cruises’ history, today the first passengers set sail aboard the completely transformed Grand Princess from Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. The ship’s remarkable 24-day drydock that transformed it from top to bottom also made the vessel a media star with daily video updates that attracted more than a half million views.
The Grand Princess Drydock Journal captured the process with 26 video updates plus more than 300 photos of the daily progress at the shipyard in the Bahamas, including the unforgettable removal of Skywalkers nightclub from the ship’s stern and the complete demolition and rebuilding of the atrium to create the new Piazza. Hosted by Cruise Director Martyn Moss, the video series delved behind the scenes with reports on all aspects of the drydock process.
The video journal also offered different perspectives on the project with interviews of key players in the revitalization, including the ship’s Captain Tony Herriott and Chief Technical Officer Gilberto Vinci, plus Senior Vice President of Technical Services John Gunner and Project Manager Steve Storey, who explained what it takes to coordinate 1,400 contractors working around the clock. The videos also shared such tidbits as the time it took to cut Skywalkers from the ship (10 hours) and the amount of new carpeting installed (about 50 square miles).
“This drydock has been a monumental effort, and we’re very proud of the teamwork by everyone involved to create this sparkling ‘new’ ship ready to start a season of Europe sailings,” said Jan Swartz, Princess Cruises executive vice president. “We know our passengers will appreciate the updated décor, fresh new feel, and especially all the wonderful added features.”
Now that the ship has been transformed, passengers will find a completely new Piazza atrium, several new eateries – including Alfredo’s Pizzeria and the Crown Grill – and the line’s first specialty tea lounge called Leaves. Also included in the renovation were seven new window suites; remodeled casino, boutiques and art gallery; enhancements to the Horizon Court, Lotus Spa, and wedding chapel; and the addition of Crooner’s Martini Lounge. The new nightclub, The One5, that replaced Skywalkers, will open May 21.
The drydock video journal covered nearly every area involved in the refurbishment project, including work on the underside of the ship, upholstery work, engine control room, new shore power connection, lifeboat updates, new speakers for Movies Under the Stars, mural painting, theater renovations, and a report from the executive chef who was responsible for feeding all the contractors.
The Grand Princess sails 16 days to the British and her summer homeport of Southampton, from where she will sail a season European itineraries, including Mediterranean cruises and a number of shorter voyages.