Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Princess Cruises Overview:

Princess Cruises Rising from modest beginnings in 1965 with one ship cruising to Mexico, Princess has grown to one of the largest cruise lines in the world. Today, its fleet carries more than 700,000 passengers each year to more worldwide destinations than any other major line.

Princess was catapulted to stardom in 1977 when it became the sea-going star of The Love Boat television series, which introduced millions of viewers to the still-new concept of a sea-going vacation. The company name and famous "seawitch" logo have remained synonymous with cruising ever since.

The company's fleet includes 18 modern ships including their newest ships the Ruby Princess, Diamond Princess, Sapphire Princess, and Caribbean Princess.

Personal Choice Cruising

Princess ships offer the line's innovative Personal Choice CruisingSM program, an individualized, unstructured style of cruising that provides a "what you want, when you want" atmosphere of onboard choice and flexibility designed to give passengers the opportunity to customize their cruise experience to fit their personal interests, needs and desires. Princess introduced the concept of putting the passengers in control of their own cruise experience in the mid-1990s when it introduced the revolutionary Sun-class ships. This emphasis on choice -- of multiple dining locations, flexible entertainment and affordable private balconies are part of this freedom, as well as more amenities and affordable cabins with private balconies. In the late 90's Princess introduced their Grand Class ships which brought choice to a whole new level, with larger vessels offering even more options. Today, Princess offers an ever-growing number of ways to put the passenger in control of the vacation experience he or she desires, rather than dictating a structured cruise experience. These innovations include:

Princess' Personal Choice Dining program offers two main dining room options: Passengers can choose between traditional fixed seating, where they will have an assigned dinner time, table, companions and wait staff; and the restaurant-style Anytime Dining, which allows them to dine when, where and with whom they wish between the hours of 5:30 pm and 10 pm.

Aboard the Star Princess, the numerous options in services and amenities include the 24-hour AOL Internet Café, which enables passengers to surf the web or send email; and a wedding-at-sea program with a groundbreaking Wedding Cam, allowing friends and family at home to join the happy couple on their big day. Passengers will also enjoy expanded spa treatment and fitness options in the Lotus Spa.

Personal Choice Entertainment is a program encompassing a wide variety of options, including multiple show lounges featuring Princess' award-winning original Broadway- and Las Vegas-style productions, an extensive daily lineup of shipboard activities, and an ever-changing array of special features particular to each ship and its itinerary.

Princess Kids, the line's expanded youth program, gives families a new option with the addition of in-port activities for children. Parents can now go ashore knowing their youngsters are being entertained in the ship's youth center, and enjoying lunch with their newfound friends. The program also features added activities from the National Wildlife Federation and the California Science Center.

The Cruise Personalizer is a unique online service that allows passengers to book their shore excursions, special occasion and dietary requirements in advance of their cruise via Princess' website. FlightChoice is a program that gives passengers the details of their air schedule, as reserved by Princess, approximately 60 days prior to their cruise -- more than a month sooner than the industry norm. With this advance notice, passengers have the option to choose a customized air schedule if the assigned flights don't meet their needs or desires.

Your Choice Boarding gives passengers an Express Check-In option, with separate check-in desks specifically for guests who return their pre-cruise documents early. The program also provides cruisers with the convenient option of boarding directly after check-in and enjoying a leisurely lunch on board the ship.

Together, these Personal Choice Cruising features, and those yet to come, create a cruise experience where the passenger knows that "I matter most."


Princess has also distinguished itself by sailing to more worldwide cruise destinations than any other major line. Offering more than 150 itineraries ranging from seven to 72 days, Princess sails to six continents and calls at nearly 260 ports around the world.

Destinations include the Caribbean, Alaska, Panama Canal, Europe, Mexican Riviera, South America, South Pacific, Hawaii, Tahiti and French Polynesia, Asia, India, Africa, Holy Land, Canada/New England and world voyages.


Alaska is a particularly key destination for Princess, where it is the leading cruisetour company. Through its Seattle-based Princess Tours division, Princess operates a wide variety of cruisetours, giving visitors spectacular land and sea experiences in the majestic "Land of the Midnight Sun." Princess is one of the largest cruise and tour operator in the state with seven cruise ships, five riverside wilderness lodges, a fleet of deluxe motorcoaches and luxury Midnight Sun Express Ultra Dome rail cars. The company pioneered the popular Gulf of Alaska route, which offers more of the attractions Alaska is famous for -- including glaciers and wildlife. Gulf cruises connect conveniently and seamlessly to its landside experience, enabling passengers to experience the heart of this great wilderness.

Princess Kids

As part of Personal Choice Cruising, the "Princess Kids" program offers state-of-the-art children's facilities and an array of entertaining choices for junior cruisers. Parents and children alike have the opportunity to customize the cruise experience to fit their own interests and needs.

Princess Kids offers a wide range of fun activities for children between the ages of three and 17. While youth facilities vary by vessel, children are welcomed with a myriad of games and activities on all Princess ships, and are supervised by a dedicated staff of youth activity professionals. Three distinct, age-specific programs have been created: Princess Pelicans for ages three to seven, Princess Pirateers for ages eight to 12, and Off Limits for ages 13 to 17. Each group features age-appropriate activities, often with separate facilities.

Princess Pelicans and Pirateers are entertained with non-stop activities including arts and crafts, pool games, scavenger hunts, deck parties, backstage and galley tours, afternoon ice cream, videos and cartoons. Meanwhile, Off Limits keeps teens on the go with events such as dancing in their own private disco, murder mystery games, theme parties, shipboard Olympics, karaoke and lip sync shows, pizza parties and movie fests. A special schedule outlining the next day's activities, customized for each age group, is delivered at the beginning of the cruise to the youth on board.

Most ships features fully equipped youth and teen centers that keep young sailors entertained with art corners, game tables, splash pools, ping pong tables, juke boxes and the latest video games. The line's Sun-class and Grand-class ships feature such diversions as a toddler's play area and theater, doll's house, crawl-through castle and splash pool. Grand Princess and Golden Princess also offer facilities featuring two-level children's and teen centers with indoor and outdoor areas, while Star Princess features expanded facilities with four separate areas for each age group. Teen centers offer diversions such as a private disco, big-screen television, karaoke contests, and a variety of other activities specifically designed for the teenage crowd.

Special programs are offered for Princess' youth program, which feature unique activities designed by a number of highly regarded organizations. These include the California Science Center; National Wildlife Federation; Junior Ranger/Teen Explorer program -- produced with the National Parks Service and Save our Seas.

"Pete's Pals" is a program that allows children to learn more about endangered species in the areas in which Princess sails. Each year the line will issue a specially designed plush animal -- beginning with "Pelican Pete," the program's mascot -- all of which depict a species in danger. In conjunction, kids will learn about the plight of many such creatures, including humpback whales, white pelicans, manatees, sea turtles and pandas.

Families will also find plenty to keep their young ones entertained once the ship arrives at a port of call. Princess' Adventures Ashore program features a wide range of tours appealing to explorers of all ages, and at Princess Cays, the line's private beach in the Bahamas, a supervised play area called Pelican's Perch features a sandbox and pirate ship playground, providing a safe and fun place for beach play. For kids who would rather stay on board, youth centers run regular activities while the ship is in port, including lunch in one of the ship's restaurants.

Youth Centers are open from 9 am to noon, 2 pm to 5 pm and 7 pm to 10 pm (1 am for the Teen Center) while at sea, and 8 am to 5 pm while in port. Princess Kids programs are complimentary until 10 pm, after which parents who would like to spend an evening alone without worrying about their children can take advantage of special late-night group babysitting services. Children from ages three to 12 are welcome in the ships' Youth Center each night from 10 pm -- 1 am for $5 per hour.

The minimum passenger age aboard Princess ships is six months (one year on some of the line's Exotics itineraries).

Adventures Ashore

On land, Princess' Adventures Ashore program features thousands of in-port excursions worldwide, and the company's expanding cruisetour offerings enable passengers to combine their cruise with a full land tour in such places as Europe, China, Africa, India, Australia, South America, Alaska and the eastern U.S.

Princess Cruises is part of P&O Princess Cruises plc, one of the largest international cruise companies, which consists of a number of the top cruise brands around the globe -- Princess Cruises; P&O Cruises, the UK's largest premium cruise brand; the successful P&O Cruises (Australia); Swan Hellenic and Ocean Village in the UK. Recently Purchased by Carnival Cruises (NYSE:CCL), Princess has been maintained as a separate brand with it's own identity and management team.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

With great sadness...

We are saddened by the news from Italy of the Costa Concordia, and we send our heartfelt thoughts and prayers to the guests, crew members and families affected.