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Royal Princess plans a luxury-filled return

Vacation: Luxury line announces comeback of popular name with new twist

Posted: March 30, 2011 1:55 a.m.
Updated: March 30, 2011 1:55 a.m.

An artist’s rendition of the view from the observation deck of Princess Cruises’ latest ship, the Royal Princess. The SeaWalk extends 28 feet from the end of the ship and offers cruise passengers a view of the sea 128 feet below them.

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Princess Cruises does more than build ships. The cruise company designs vacations for travelers who just want to leave their cares behind and sail the open seas to unique and exotic ports around the globe.

The latest ship on the building blocks for the Santa Clarita-based company took its inspiration from the Grand Canyon’s Skywalk, the glass-bottomed observation deck stretching some 70 feet over the canyon’s rim, which offers a view of the canyon and Colorado River.

The Royal Princess, expected to debut in the spring of 2013, includes a glass bridge offset 28 feet beyond the edge of the ship. The SeaWalk will offer cruise vacationers sea views 128 feet below the glass walk. Architecturally, the glass enclosed walkway looks like a small version of a suspended vehicle bridge, with embedded lighting for night-time strolls.

For anyone who has spent any time in a coastal community with pristine turquoise waters and unobscured views of a sea floor, a traveler can only imagine where this newest addition to the cruise fleet will be set to sail. Princess Cruises says that information will not be released for about a year, as it is still in the planning stages.

Historical name
The Royal Princess will be the third in the Princess fleet to use the Royal Princess name, a favorite around the company.
“We love it,” said Julie Benson, vice president of public relations. “That’s the name of the first ship Princess Cruises ever built in 1984. It was the first ship to have a 2-story atrium.”

Comparisons end with the name of the ship, though. The first cruise ship was a mere 45,000 tons. The new Royal Princess will weigh in at 141,000 tons, and is intended to hold 3,600 passengers and 1,000 crew members, making it a small, floating city.

“It’s a fascinating experience to do a hard-hat tour as the ship is being built,” Benson said. “It’s a wonderful process to see open decks of steel and cable turn into a gorgeous floating ship.”

Those inspections require Benson fly to Italy. Royal Princess is the first of two next-generation ships for Princess being built by Italian shipbuilder Fincantieri.

Mock-up cabins
Princess Cruises has an in-house interior-design department headed up by Santa Clarita resident Teresa Anderson, director of interior design. Anderson gets her inspiration from spending a lot of time visiting ships.

“Space is at a premium on a ship,” Benson said. “So the cabin has to very well-thought-out and well-designed.”
Mock cabins and bathrooms are built for each cabin type. The interior designs are incorporated into the mock-ups according to Anderson’s specifications.

Upon completion, the Princess Cruises team of executives inspects the mock-ups so they can see for themselves what the experience for a traveler will be like in his or her cabin.

Exterior areas
All outside staterooms on Royal Princess will have balconies. The cruise ship includes 260,000 square feet of inside public space, with multiple dining and entertainment venues, as well as other special features and amenities, which will be revealed over the coming months.

Also on her top decks, Royal Princess will feature a new adults-only pool surrounded by seven private cabanas that appear to be floating on the water. Two additional pools will flank a tropical island, offering pool seating by day. By night, the area will become an outdoor dance club, complete with a water and light show.

For movie fans, the ship will also feature a poolside theater.

“Our industry continues to grow and be successful,” Benson said. “We give passengers and vacationers a vacation they love.”

jadkins@the-signal.com

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