WHY IT RATES: The Princess Cruises fleet’s new flagship features an integrated wealth of technology that works with guests’ OceanMedallion devices to provide a more seamless and personalized onboard experience. — Laurie Baratti, TravelPulse Associate Writer
Princess Cruises, the world’s fastest-growing international premium cruise line, today took delivery of Sky Princess from shipbuilder Fincantieri at an official handover ceremony at the shipyard in Monfalcone, Italy. The first ship designed from the ground up as a Princess MedallionClass ship, the 143,700-ton, 3,660-guest Sky Princess features an evolution of the design platform used for the cruise line’s previous Royal-Class ships.
The milestone handover ceremony was attended by executives from Carnival Corporation & plc, including Micky Arison, Chairman of Carnival Corporation; Arnold Donald, President and CEO of Carnival Corporation; Stein Kruse, Group CEO of Princess Cruises, Holland America Line, Seabourn, Carnival Australia and Carnival UK; and Jan Swartz, Group President of Princess Cruises and Carnival Australia. Fincantieri was represented by Giuseppe Bono, CEO.
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“We wish to extend our sincere gratitude to our long-time shipbuilding partner, Fincantieri, who delivered Sky Princess to us today,” said Jan Swartz, president of Princess Cruises. “As our new flagship in the fleet, Sky Princess represents the absolute best Princess Cruises has to offer our guests by connecting them with what matters most, unique destinations, loved ones, and new friends, while enjoying all the state-of the-art experiences in comfort and style.”
With the debut of Sky Princess, Princess Cruises marks the first time a ship has been purpose-built as a Princess MedallionClass ship. Featuring the complimentary OceanMedallion wearable device, MedallionClass vacations deliver an entirely new level of service and create a vacation that is more seamless, effortless and personalized.
Considered a breakthrough in the vacation industry and a CES 2019 Innovation Award Honoree, the OceanMedallion wearable device is complimentary for all guests and features leading-edge technology that delivers personalized service through enhanced guest-crew interactions, eliminates friction points and enables interactive entertainment.
Princess MedallionClass Vacations are resulting in high guest satisfaction scores, thanks to a portfolio of experiences specifically designed to enhance their cruise vacation, including:
— Expedited Arrival – From curbside to poolside in a breeze: Personalization starts pre-cruise as guests become OceanReady before arriving at the port. Guests who arrive at the terminal having uploaded their travel documents (i.e., passports) to their profile enjoy a streamlined and expedited check-in process that gets their vacation started even sooner.
— On-Demand Services – Food, beverage, retail orders and service delivered to your location: Using smart devices and stateroom TVs, guests have the ability to order drinks, food and retail items like sunscreen with OceanNow, and have them delivered directly anywhere on board.
— Family and Friends Locator – Finding travel companions and directional ship information: Accessible on portals throughout the ships and via guests’ smart devices, OceanCompass leverages the OceanMedallion to easily locate and chat with friends and family on board, as well as enables point-to-point wayfinding throughout the ship. OceanCompass guides guests throughout their journey, providing directional information so they can seamlessly navigate to their next point of interest.
Other innovative features of the Princess MedallionClass experience include:
— Keyless stateroom entry: Access to staterooms is a seamless experience where each guest is securely validated as the door automatically unlocks. Personalized greetings, including loyalty level recognition and celebrations, welcome the guest on their door portal.
— Interactive voyage timeline: Available on ship portals and via guests’ smart devices, JourneyView is an interactive timeline that lets guests scroll through all of the events available on board during their voyage and bookmark activities they are interested in on their own personalized itinerary. Voyage itineraries are available as many as 60 days in advance, allowing guests to start planning before they leave home.
— Wager-based gaming: On smart devices and on select portals via Ocean Casino, lets guests wager real money on games including slots, poker, bingo, roulette, keno and lottery from anywhere on board.
— Interactive game play: On portals located shipwide and on smart devices PlayOcean helps guests enjoy a new level of fun with interactive games, a digital scavenger hunt, customizable avatars and more. PlayOcean also transforms guests’ mobile devices into game controllers for interactive gaming on the massive Movies Under the Stars screen.
Sky Princess will start her inaugural season in Europe on a seven-day Mediterranean & Adriatic maiden voyage from Athens to Barcelona on October 20, 2019. The ship will sail a series of Mediterranean voyages before debuting in North America on December 1, 2019, for a season of Caribbean cruises from Ft. Lauderdale.
Sky Princess shares all of the spectacular style and elegance of her sister ships—Regal Princess, Royal Princess and Majestic Princess. The ship also debuts the new luxurious Sky Suites, with expansive views from the largest balconies at sea. In addition, two new entertainment experiences are offered: Phantom Bridge, a world’s first game combining digital and physical elements, for the ultimate immersive escape room; and Take 5, the only jazz theater at sea, celebrating the iconic sounds, culture and history of jazz.
The Princess Cruises fleet continues to expand with Enchanted Princess in June 2020, Discovery Princess in November 2021, and two additional ships in 2023 and 2025.
For more information, visit Princess.com.
SOURCE: Princess Cruises press release.
Comments & Discussion
Viking Extends Suspension of Cruising Through August 31
“We were the first cruise line to announce a temporary suspension of operations. We have continued to evaluate the situation, responding accordingly,” Viking Chairman Torstein Hagen wrote in a May 28 post on the company website. “While restrictions related to COVID-19 are beginning to ease in some countries, travel remains complicated. Therefore, we have made the decision to extend our temporary suspension of operations through Aug. 31, 2020.”
The company is offering 125 percent credit to passengers booked on canceled voyages. “It is fully transferable, allowing you to gift it to someone with whom you would like to share the joys of travel. It can be applied within the next 24 months to any river, ocean or expedition cruise,” Hagen wrote. “If you are unable to use your voucher by the expiration date, simply return your expired voucher to Viking, and we will send you a refund equal to the original amount paid to Viking.”
For more details on credits and refunds, click here.
Hagen said the company is developing new safety protocols and taking care of its crew members.
“We have always had the highest standards for health and cleanliness—and are now developing additional protocols to make traveling with Viking even safer. We will be sharing more information about this very soon,” he wrote. “Also, during this time of non-operation, we are further training our crew and preparing our fleet to welcome you onboard again. Since our first announcement, many of you have expressed concern for our crew, and I want to reassure you that we are continuing to take good care of them.”
Hagen said he is seeing signs of hope in Europe. “I am delighted to note that in the past couple of weeks, hope has emerged here in Europe. In Switzerland, restaurants and shops opened two weeks ago, and I must admit it was a great treat to go to my favorite Italian restaurant the other day. Last week, I had my first day in the office – with a mask and proper distancing. It now also looks as though the local borders in Europe are starting to open up.”
Viking plans to launch the ocean ship Viking Venus Early next year and, in 2022, will welcome new expedition vessels, Viking Octantis and Viking Polaris, that will sail the Arctic, Antarctic and North America’s Great Lakes, and a modern river vessel, Viking Mississippi.
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