ONBOARD THE CARIBBEAN PRINCESS -- After the Ruby Princess is delivered in November, Princess Cruises will enter an unfamiliar period for the cruise line; the first time in any of the current executives' memory that Princess won't have a ship on order.
Rai Caluori, the line's executive vice president of fleet operations, said the company would enter what he termed "steady state."
"We will focus more on the Princess product and the brand," he told the 120 agents gathered on the Caribbean Princess, each of whom qualified to be there because their agency sold at least $1.4 million in Princess cruises or $200,000 in sister line Cunard in 2007.
"We will focus on fundamentals: the onboard experience."
Princess, like many other lines, is well-skilled in the art of introducing new ships. Just four years ago, the line took delivery of three megaships in a 90-day period: the 3,100-passenger Caribbean Princess, the 2,670-passenger Diamond Princess and the 2,670-passenger Sapphire Princess. Since then the line has launched two ships, the Crown Princess and the Emerald Princess, and will launch its last Grand-class ship, the Ruby, this year.
While Princess CEO Alan Buckelew said that there was a place in the market for new Princess ships in the future, for now, the brand would focus on improving on what it has.
"We are not going to change a lot of what we do," he said. "We are just going to raise the bar and do it better, and put some distance between ourselves and our competitors."
That distance, Buckelew said, will be in the areas like food and service.
"There will be little changes everywhere that won't be noticeable, but together they will make a difference," he said.