LOS ANGELES -- Princess Cruises will have a year-round presence in
the Caribbean at some time in the near future, according to the
company's chairman, Tim Harris.
On several occasions
in the past the line seemed set to position a ship in that market
permanently. And each time the ship in question was repositioned
"To some extent," Harris said, "the reason we haven't done it up
until now is that we've been so successful in other places.
Whenever we've planned to do it, we've felt a stronger need for the
ships to go to Alaska, or to Europe."
The most recent example of this was the case of the 109,000-ton
Grand Princess. The Grand is too big to transit the Panama Canal
and was originally scheduled to stay in the Caribbean until its
delivery from the Fincantieri shipyard in Monfalcone, Italy, was
delayed until last summer.
Princess decided to keep the ship in Europe for the summer of
1998, its maiden season, and so successful was the Grand Princess
in the market -- it was sold out -- that it will be returned there
The Grand Princess' strong showing on the other side of the
Atlantic did not surprise Harris, but he recalled a time when he
and his colleagues were not as sanguine about the Europe
"About 10 years ago," he said, "we agonized about whether we
should put the Royal Princess into Europe. This year, the Royal and
the Grand, which is twice as big, both did very well there."
Harris said the Caribbean will hardly be ignored. "But, mark my
words, we will have an all-year representative in the Caribbean,"
He added that there are two sister ships to the Grand Princess