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Princess Cruises Status Update

Crown Princess

It's been a busy 12 months for Princess Cruises, Carnival Corporation's biggest premium brand. Here's everything that's happened:

Quarantines and Service Suspension

After facing two quarantines and some of the earliest COVID-19 outbreaks on cruise ships, Princess Cruises took the lead and decided to suspend its cruise operations on March 11, 2020.

Calling it a proactive response to the unpredictable circumstances evolving from the global spread of the new disease and an abundance of caution, the Carnival brand cancelled all its sailings for 60 days. Back then, the plan was to resume service on May 10, 2020.

Now, all sailings are cancelled until, at least, May 15, 2021.

Sea Princess and Sun Princess Sold 

In September, two Princess ships were included in Carnival Corporation’s plan to accelerate the removal of less efficient ships from its fleet. Among the oldest vessels for brand, the 1995-built Sun Princess and the 1998-built Sea Princess ended up sold to new owners.

Initially undisclosed, the buyers were later confirmed. While the Sun Princess is going to Peace Boat, the Sea Princess was bought by a Chinese startup.

Enchanted Princess Delivered

Built in Italy, the Enchanted Princess was delivered later than expected. The new Royal-Class vessel was originally scheduled to debut on June 30, 2020 on a ceremony in Southampton, England. 

With Italy facing country-wide lockdowns and several activity restrictions during most of the year, the delivery took place on September 30. Back then, the vessel became the first delivered by Fincantieri since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Previously scheduled for a late 2021 delivery, the Discovery Princess is also expected to be delayed.

Star Princess and Golden Princess to P&O Australia

In October, Princess Cruises confirmed the transfer of Golden Princess to P&O Australia. At the time, Princess also accelerated the transfer of the Star Princess, which was previously scheduled for the third quarter of 2021.

The transactions had previously been announced in 2018, with the ships replacing tonnage displaced by Carnival’s Australian brand. From 2017 to 2020, the company sold five ships.

Now, both vessels are expected to make the transition to P&O Australia in the first half of 2021. The Star Princess, in the meantime, has already started its transformation into Pacific Encounter.

Pacific Princess Sold

Another ship was sold in January 2021, as the Pacific Princess was also included in Carnival Corporation’s plan to remove less efficient vessels. The 670-guest vessel was the smallest of the current Princess fleet and was bought by Azamara.

After first joining the cruise line in 2002, the Pacific Princess introduced Princess Cruises’ small ship experience product. Offering longer and more varied itineraries in a more traditional, intimate setting, the fleet of small vessels reached its peak between 2007 and 2011, with three ships.

While world cruises will still be offered by other ships, Pacific Princess’ retirement, also meant the end of the product.

Ship Sales Driving Fleet Redeployment

With five ships being sold, Princess made major deployment adjusts during 2020. Based in Asia since it was built in 2017, the Majestic Princess, for instance, is now set to debut in the United States in 2021.

The company also shuffled Alaska and Europe deployment, and abandoned the domestic sailings in the Chinese market for 2021.  

In Australia, the fleet also changed considerably after the sale of the Sun and the Sea Princess, which had been based in the region for many years.

Touchless Technology

As a preparation to returning to service, Princess announced the introduction of new touchless guest experiences to its entire fleet. The upgrades are part of the Medallion Class program, which is being expanded to include more ships.

New features include a virtual, simplified safety training, a revamped embarkation process, a new payment system and more.  

More details of the new technologies can be found here.

By the numbers:

Ships:

  • Ships shed: - 5
  • Ships added: + 1

Result: - 4 ships

Berths:

  • Berths shed: - 9,780
  • Berths added: + 3,600

Result: - 6,180 berths

See more cruise supply and capacity data in the 2021 Cruise Industry News Annual Report.

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