NEW YORK -- Cruise-industry expansion received another boost in
October as newly public P&O Princess Cruises became the first
major cruise line to commit a megaship to a full-time West Coast
Princess will base Star Princess, sister vessel to the
109,000-ton Grand Princess -- the largest ship in the company's
fleet -- in Los Angeles for Mexico sailings beginning in 2002.
Star Princess is under construction in Italy. The ship will be
the largest vessel ever positioned full-time in the Los Angeles
market. Its arrival emphasizes major cruise operators' plans to
broaden cruise deployment patterns as dozens of new ships pour into
Star Princess' Mexican Riviera series begins March 16, 2002, with
roundtrip departures from Los Angeles to Puerto Vallarta, Mazatlan
and Cabo San Lucas.
Deploying a feature-rich megaship in Los Angeles is a
significant commitment to the Los Angeles market, said Peter
Ratcliffe, chief executive officer of P&O Princess and also
president of Princess Cruises.
The line is moving its older tonnage out of U.S. markets and
into P&O's divisions in Germany (Aida Cruises), the U.K. and
Australia (P&O), said Ratcliffe, leaving the largest, newest
tonnage for the major U.S. markets, still the industry's
"We have a very homogenous product in the North American market,
with lots of balcony cabins and lots of choices for passengers," he
Star Princess will have 710 staterooms with balconies.
Ratcliffe also noted that at 109,000 tons, the ship is too large
to transit the Panama Canal. "That means we are committed to the
West Coast for a significant period of time."
There's never been a ship or cruise product like this one
sailing from Los Angeles, said Dean Brown, Princess' executive vice
president of sales, marketing and customer service.
"Star Princess is virtually a destination unto herself, where
passengers can enjoy Princess' 'do what they want, when they want'
style of cruising, which allows them to design a cruise experience
around their personal desires," he said.
Princess will offer a preview of its upcoming large-ship
deployment in Los Angeles in the fall of 2001, when the 77,000-ton
Sea Princess offers the same itinerary to passengers.
The vessel will depart Saturdays for seven-day cruises departing
between Sept. 29 and Dec. 22.
Star Princess also will offer some of the same amenities that
distinguishes Grand Princess, including a wedding chapel and
wedding-at-sea program, two specialty restaurants and three
separate show lounges.
Also planned is a dance club/observation lounge set atop the
ship and accessible via a glass-enclosed, moving skywalk.
The vessel will feature traditional and restaurant-style dining
as part of the line's Personal Choice dining program.
Princess is offering pre- and post-cruise packages of one or two
nights in Los Angeles in conjunction with the new deployments.
Packages include a visit to Beverly Hills or a Disneyland
excursion featuring passes to the Magic Kingdom.
Advance-purchase fares for Star Princess' inaugural Mexico
season begin at $1,039 per person, double. Sea Princess sailings
begin at $749.
For more details, call Princess at (800) 421-1700 or visit www.princess.com.