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Princess Cruises History
Catapulted to Love Boat immortality with advent of the hit television show, Princess Cruises –
its signature emphasis now on Personal Choice Cruising -- specializes in customized cruises
with a modern love boat full of choice in dining, entertainment, amenities and more. By 2006,
the Princess fleet will have 15 ships at sea, all stemming from modest 1965 beginnings when
its lone ship sailed to Mexico. Princess now carries more than 800,000 passengers each year
to more places worldwide than any other major line, thanks in part to that smash weekly Love
Boat series (that Princess ship is now retired from the fleet) introducing millions of viewers
to sea-going vacations. Ever since, both the Princess name and its “seawitch” logo have been
top of mind within the realm of cruising. Apart from Sapphire Princess (2005), the modern
Princess fleet (now part of Carnival Corporation) has grown to include Coral Princess (2003),
Dawn Princess (1997), Diamond Princess (2005), Island Princess (2003), Pacific Princess (1999),
Regal Princess (1991), Royal Princess (1984), Golden Princess (2001), Grand Princess (1998),
Star Princess (2002), Sun Princess (1995) and Tahitian Princess (1999). More ships in the
pipeline help keep the fleet among the most modern on the high seas. The Princess concept
of customized cruise vacations -- often copied but never duplicated, as the line says –
has become an industry hallmark of ship design. Sailing schedules also reflect the Princess
Choice philosophy. Offering voyages to more destinations worldwide than any other line,
Princess has more than 150 itineraries on seven continents ranging from seven to 72 days.
Princess passengers also can enhance cruise experiences via the Adventures Ashore program
with more than 1,500 in-port excursions worldwide. An expanding cruise tour line-up also
provides for combining cruises with full land tours. With a big presence in Alaska including
six ships, five riverside wilderness lodges and Midnight Sun Express Ultra Dome rail cars,
Princess offers spectacular earth / sea experiences in the “Land of the Midnight Sun.”
Other Princess strongholds include the Caribbean, Panama Canal, Europe, Mexican Riviera,
South America, Australia / New Zealand, South Pacific, Hawaii, Tahiti / French Polynesia,
Asia, India, Africa, Canada / New England and Antarctica.
Debuting in June, 2005 as the sister to Diamond Princess, the 2,670-passenger Sapphire Princess
ranks as one of the most amenity-packed ships in the Princess fleet. As with Diamond, Sapphire
Princess incorporates Princess trademark design philosophy – flexibility in dining and
entertainment options. Renowned service enhances the line’s noted big ship choice with small
ship feel. More than 70 percent of the ship's cabins are ocean view and more than 75 percent
of these feature a private balcony. Princess pioneered the concept of affordable balcony
cabins and continues offering more standard rooms with balconies than any other line.
One primary feature that sets Sapphire Princess apart is the magnificent in-house Lotus Spa,
where all treatments and services can be booked in advance through a new on-line reservation
system, accessed through the line web site. Sapphire Princess also takes the line’s trademark
Skywalkers disco / lounge concept just a step further. It has a 35 percent larger room,
plus a new 125-foot wide balcony that provides commanding views over the aft end of the ship
where guests can stargaze or take an al fresco break from inside action. With Princess
cashless cruising, passengers sign for all expenses, excluding stamps. Casino chips, slot
tokens and bingo cards also can be obtained on a casino room charge. Princess offers express
check-out with credit card or personal check and identification at the Purser's Desk, and
also accepts U.S., Canadian and British currency and travelers checks.
Year entering service: 2005
Tonnage (GRT): 116,000
Cruising Speed: 22 knots (maximum)
Capacity: up to 2,670
Decks: 18 for passengers
Officer Nationality: British / Italian
Cruise / Hotel Staff Nationality: International
Destinations: Alaska’s Inside Passage in summer; Mexican Riviera and a
variety of Australia/New Zealand and Asia voyages.
Once applicable only to ships with Personal Choice Dining, all Princess ships, including
Sapphire Princess, now automatically add gratuities of $10 per person per day for dining /
stateroom personnel to passenger shipboard accounts. Automatic gratuities may be increased,
decreased or removed at the purser’s desk. Gratuities for other staff such as casino dealers
or spa personnel are at passenger discretion. A 15 percent gratuity is automatically added
to bar tabs.
The Princess Access program boasts the highest number of wheelchair accessible staterooms
in the industry. Sapphire Princess (where 27 wheelchair staterooms include 16 outside / 11
inside, with square footage from 249 to 412) has doorways wide enough for most chairs, and
rooms designed for wheelchair movement. Baths feature roll-in showers and hand-held detachable
shower heads are among the list of special accommodations. Special wheelchair transportation
gangway mechanisms, ramps, and elevators with Braille call buttons as well as audible arrival
sounds are available aboard Princess ships. A supply of ADA "all in one kits" include telephone
amplifiers, visual smoke detectors, door knocker sensors, text telephones and other aids for
guests with hearing impairment. Also available: Raised toilet seats, shower stools and bed
boards. Sapphire Princess welcomes service animals.
The heart of Sapphire Princess is a dramatic three-story Grand Plaza atrium with a spacious
foyer, marble staircases and panoramic glass elevators. The atrium has wireless Internet
access for guests with laptops. Princess' wedding-at-sea program is the only one allowing
couples to be wed in international waters by the ship's captain. Bridal couples may choose
from several different wedding and reception packages, and can share their happy day in the
Hearts and Minds Wedding Chapel with loved ones at home through Princess' live "Wed Cam."
Calypso Cove features tax- and duty-free liquor, jewelry, watches and accessories.
Among 1,337 cabins, 960 are outside and 377 inside; 28 Suites have private balconies
and two Family Suites have interconnecting cabins; 186 Mini-Suites have private balconies;
532 outside cabins have private balconies. Third and fourth berth accommodations are in
748 cabins. Many suites have marbled bathrooms and hot tubs on balconies, and some suites
also have fireplaces, dining rooms, wet bars and computer stations.
Standard are a multi-function phone, multi-channel music system, color TV with CNN, ESPN
and more, refrigerator, hair dryer, private safe, turndown service for twins that can
turn into a queen-sized bed. Suites and Mini-Suites have a separate sitting area with sofa
bed, private balcony, two TVs, walk-in closet, bath with tub and shower (a whirlpool tub
in suites), and terrycloth robes. Suite guests enjoy fresh flowers, complimentary liquors
and soft drinks in the mini-bar; complimentary slippers and luxury toiletries; Internet
access, dry cleaning / laundry / shoe polishing services; corsages / boutonnieres for
formal nights; afternoon tea served in-suite; expedited cruise embarkation / disembarkation
in all tender ports, with full privileges in the ship's Platinum disembarkation lounge;
daily delivery of deluxe canapés; Suite passengers need not worry about unpacking /
packing since they can request assistance from their dedicated steward. Suite guests
also can choose from an extended room service menu, with extra options for breakfast
and any of the day's dining room selections for lunch and dinner.
Kid & Teen Stuff
Princess Cruises rolls out the red carpet for pint-sized guests over 12 months old
(6 months old for Caribbean and Alaska cruises), and has organized child care and
a full program of supervised activities for ages 3 to 17. The Princess Kids & Off
Limits Teens’ programs feature arts and crafts, video games, discos, movies, splash
pools and more. Princess Fun Zone programs are for ages 3 through 12. Teens have
their own center with Nintendo, a giant screen TV, card games, board games, and a juke box.
Among five main dining rooms, the Sterling, Vivaldi, Pacific Moon, and Sante Fe
(each seating 230) are for Anytime Dining guests. International Dining Room, seating
518, serves guests opting for traditional-seatings. For an additional charge, Trattoria
Sabattini, an upscale Italian restaurant, serves eight-course meals featuring seafood
specialties and others with Italian flair. The 592-seat Horizon Court is a round-the-clock
venue with indoor / outdoor seating for breakfast, lunch and dinner served buffet style,
and a full-service bistro menu from 10:30 p.m. until 4 a.m. Trident Grill serves burgers,
dogs and other lunch favorites near the pool. Haagen Dazs favorites are scooped up at the
poolside Sundaes ice cream bar. (Galley equipment, for the record, includes 268 refrigerators,
68 stoves, and 67 coffee machines.)
Sports / Health / Fitness
Center Court is a sports court for paddle tennis, volleyball nd basketball with space for
spectator seating. Lotus Spa has 14 massage therapy rooms along with all the other
requisite facilities and services for pampering. The Fitness Center includes 35 cardiovascular
stations, 17 weight-strength stations, 12 spinning cycles, a “swim against the current” adult
fitness pool, an outdoor jogging track, and more.
The 705-seat Princess Theater with a proscenium arch stage is the dramatic venue for
trademark Las Vegas-style productions. Club Fusion has a high-tech nightclub / cabaret
look. The Princess Fine Arts Gallery showcases high quality reproductions and original
works for sale. The Library has an extensive book and CD collection with listening
chairs and computer terminals for web-browsing. The Writing Room is a cozy place to
compose letters and postcards. The Internet Café is a coffee bar / communications
center with 29 computer stations. Upon the ship’s debut, Internet Café time was 35
cents per minute and wireless access accounts were $10.50 for 30 minutes.
The jungle-themed Grand Casino has roulette, slots and popular table games.
The 52-seat Lobby Bar serves as people-watching central; the 147-seat Wheelhouse Bar,
filled with Princess maritime history and nautical memorabilia, has classic private club
atmosphere; Wake View Bar, below Club Fusion and linked by a spiral staircase, is aft
of the ship; Explorers Lounge, with a Far East and Africa motif, has cabaret acts and
dancing; Outrigger Bar overlooks the pool; Calypso Bar overlooks Calypso Reef and Pool;
Crooners, a classic ’60-style martini bar based on the Rat Pack era, has a menu of more
than 50 specialty martinis.
Cruise Pricing: Click Here.
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