As time nears for bookings to open on Princess Cruises’ highly anticipated new ship, Royal Princess, the line is holding an unprecedented charity auction for a chance to secure a stateroom aboard the ship’s inaugural sailing on June 16, 2013. The auction, which opens on eBay today under the eBay Giving Works program, will enable one lucky bidder to become the very first passenger booked on the ship, while at the same time raising money to support worldwide charitable causes.

All proceeds from the eBay auction will go directly to the Princess Cruises Community Foundation, a 501(c)(3) charity, which supports causes around the globe.

The winning bidder will secure a coveted cruise for two on the maiden voyage – a seven-day, four-port Iberia sailing from Southampton to Barcelona with calls at Vigo, Lisbon, Gibraltar and Malaga. The lucky passengers will sail in a new class of accommodation debuting on Royal Princess, a deluxe balcony stateroom offering additional space, a sofa bed and enhanced amenities.

Bidding starts at just $1, and the 10-day auction will close with the highest bid winning the cruise on March 12, 2012. Anyone with an eBay account, regardless of location, may bid on the cruise.

“We don’t open the books on Royal Princess until March 15, but we know many passengers are eager to reserve their stateroom,” said Jan Swartz, Princess Cruises executive vice president. “This auction will give someone the unique opportunity to be the very first passenger booked aboard the ship’s maiden voyage while at the same time supporting the worldwide charities that benefit from the work of the Princess Cruises Community Foundation.”

Princess today also revealed details about Royal Princess’ staterooms and a number of updated features inspired by suggestions made by the line’s passengers.

Among the changes are more contemporary décor, larger showers and hand-held shower heads, pillow top mattresses, upholstered headboards, bigger television screens, energy efficient lighting and card readers to help conserve electricity. A slideshow of stateroom images is available at www.princess.com/royalprincessstaterooms.

“Our passengers really did design these stateroom additions, because we’ve incorporated many small changes that they’ve requested over the years,” noted Swartz. “And often the smallest changes make the biggest difference.”