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Ship sails through record renovation

Tourism: Princess Cruises films rebuilding of Grand Princess, which includes nightclub

Posted: June 3, 2011 1:55 a.m.
Updated: June 3, 2011 1:55 a.m.

The Grand Princess cruise liner, pictured above, set sail in May after a top-to-bottom renovation in a record 24-day period.

 

In an economy in which consumers dramatically cut back spending on luxury items, the cruise industry has had to get creative, continually freshening its tour offerings and updating ships to attract ongoing customers.

Princess Cruises of Valencia has been at the forefront of that effort by building new ships, redesigning existing ones and offering innovative options for travelers seeking a dream vacation.

The cruise liner Royal Princess, its newest, is scheduled to debut in the spring of 2013. The new cruise liner features the SeaWalk. Inspired by the Grand Canyon’s Skywalk, the glass bridge sits 28 feet beyond the edge of the ship, offering vacationers an unobscured view of the sea below.

Last week, the cruise line announced it had sent additional onboard staff members into training to become licensed Zumba instructors for passengers.

The dance-fitness program — combining international music and energetic choreography — is being expanded fleetwide by the end of the year due to the popularity of the workout program.

“Our onboard Zumba classes are always packed, and consistently receive positive feedback from passengers who are happy to have the opportunity to try something they’ve been hearing about or to continue with the program they have at home,” said Jan Swartz, Princess Cruises executive vice president.

Reality shipbuilding
Last month, the cruise line company relaunched the Grand Princess, after an extensive drydock in which the cruise ship was revamped from top to bottom in a record of 24 days in April.

Whereas most companies would renovate their properties behind the scenes, an innovative approach was undertaken by Princess Cruises that allowed people to watch the ship’s progress online.

The round-the-clock project was videotaped and narrated by Martyn Moss, cruise director. Viewers can watch online episodes of the ship’s transformation. The video had already attracted more than a half-million views by early May.

The video journal follows the work of 1,400 contractors who removed a nightclub from the ship’s stern, demolished and rebuilt an atrium and piazza, built several eateries, constructed seven new window suites, remodeled a casino and constructed a new nightclub.

As work was performed on the underside of the ship, the engine room and more, the video journal includes a report from the executive chef who was responsible for feeding the 1,400 contractors.

Interviews with the ship’s captain, chief technical officer, the senior vice president of technical services and project manager plus more than 300 photos of the daily progress at the shipyard in the Bahamas were posted as work progressed.

“This drydock has been a monumental effort, and we’re very proud of the teamwork by everyone involved to create this sparkling ‘new’ ship ready to start a season of Europe sailings,” said Swartz.

“We know our passengers will appreciate the updated decor, fresh new feel and especially all the wonderful added features.”

Episodes from the Princess Cruises video journal can be viewed online at www.princess.com/granddrydock/index.html.

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