The newest West Coast ship from Princess Cruises paused in San Francisco for a May preview event, docking at the James R. Herman Cruise Terminal before continuing north for its inaugural season in Alaska.
The 3,560-passenger Royal Princess is the company's largest ship to tour the 49th state. It's also part of Princess' largest single-season Alaska deployment, with seven ships sailing one-way and roundtrip itineraries in 2019.
Royal Princess makes its Great Land debut as the company celebrates 50 years of Alaska cruising. Itinerary additions for the anniversary season include a new northern lights planetarium experience, an expanded local guest speaker schedule, glacier-themed cocktails, local beer flights, Alaska historical displays and new shore excursion options.
"In 1969, Princess Italia first sailed to Alaska with about 500 guests. This is our 50th year of visiting the state," said Princess public relations director Negin Kamali. "We're thrilled to have Royal Princess as a part of our West Coast fleet. She is one of our biggest and most beautiful ships ... offering unique culinary experiences with the Chef's Table Lumiere, and special features like the glass-bottomed SeaWalk, where you feel like you're walking over water."
In addition to being the company's newest ship in Alaska, Royal Princess is the cruise line's first MedallionClass ship to travel the state.
At the San Francisco event, company representatives demonstrated the personalized, tech-forward guest experience that's built around a complimentary wearable disc called the OceanMedallion. The quarter-sized device uses digital connectivity, sensors, artificial intelligence and corresponding smartphone apps to share interactive trip guides, unlock stateroom doors as guests approach, engage passengers in onboard games and broadcast travel-related programming.
MedallionClass guests who update their travel documents and profile information through Princess' OceanReady app can expect a streamlined check-in process at the start of their journey. With OceanNow, travelers can request on-demand food, beverage and retail delivery to anywhere on the ship. OceanCompass provides personal navigational tools aboard the ship, and it helps guests locate and connect with other members of their party as people move between decks.
By viewing details about special celebrations, preferred cocktails, food allergies and activity preferences attached to individual guest profiles, MedallionClass crew members can better tailor onboard experiences to each person, as well.
Royal Princess is the company's third ship to offer MedallionClass programming, along with the Caribbean Princess and Regal Princess. The Crown Princess and Sky Princess will introduce the service later this year; six more ships will be updated to MedallionClass in 2020.