ABOARD THE CARIBBEAN PRINCESS -- Princess Cruises will
create a small waterpark on the Caribbean Princess during a June drydock, the
first time the line has offered such a feature on one of its ships, Princess
As such, it represents a small nod to the competition in the
Caribbean, where the upper decks of contemporary cruise ships are becoming more
like theme parks, with everything from go-karts to roller coasters.
But the Reef Family Splash Zone will be a kinder, gentler
version of a waterpark, with no waterslides and a whale that drizzles rain from
its flukes as the centerpiece.
"A waterslide at this point is not part of our DNA,"
said Gordon Ho, senior vice president of global marketing and North American
sales at Princess.
The Splash Zone will be built on Deck 17 beneath the ramp
that leads to the Skywalkers disco at the back of the ship. Currently, that
space holds a small pool, a hot tub and a kids pool.
Those will be updated to match the newly designed space
featuring new sign-age and contemporary artwork.
Princess will add a splash pool with assorted sprays and
showers. A Game Zone will feature oversize backyard games, comfy sectionals and
a kid-friendly bar setting. Games include Connect Four, Jenga and cornhole,
For adults, there will be new patio furniture, from single
sun loungers to sectional chairs and couches with tables. Canvas canopies and
breeze panels will provide protection from the sun and wind.
Ho said the area was conceived in keeping with Princess'
philosophy concerning the family market, which emphasizes togetherness and
joint activities over sheer thrills and chills for kids alone.
"A lot of people, if they are looking for a relaxing
experience but they have kids, travel agents will recommend Princess," Ho
He said guests were telling Princess they wanted an area "above
and beyond [what's now available] where we can hang out as a family beyond the
clubs for kids."
In contrast to the high-octane rides on other lines, the
Reef Family Splash Zone will be "kind of secluded and quiet," Ho
added. He said that before going ahead with the project, "We asked our
core guests, 'Are you OK with this?' And they said yes."
The Splash Zone fits other family activities such as the
stargazing and shark awareness programs that are run through Princess'
Discovery at Sea partnership with the Discovery Channel, Ho said.
"That's our sweet spot," Ho said.