In an interesting counterpoint to Princess' embrace of ships that are bigger and more amenity laden than ever, the line announced today that they've acquired sister cruise line Swan Hellenic's Minerva II.
That ship, originally built as one of Renaissance's R-series vessels, currently sails for the one-ship Swan Hellenic, a U.K.-based cruise line that is "discovery" oriented (combining off-the-beaten-path itineraries with exceptional onboard enrichment opportunities). A call to Swan Hellenic's U.S. headquarters regarding the fate of that line, in the wake of the loss of its only ship, was not immediately returned.
What's intriguing about this acquisition (the ship will be renamed Royal Princess) is that Princess now has three of these near-identical vessels. The 30,000-ton, 680-passenger Royal Princess joins Tahitian Princess and Pacific Princess, both of which have been sailing the line's more exotic itineraries.
Royal Princess will begin its Princess career in April 2007 after a two-week dry-dock to create a boutique-sized Personal Choice Cruising milieu (24-hour Lido, alternative restaurants) onboard. The ship will launch into exotic itineraries as befits its siblings, though in this case Royal Princess will ply the waters of the Black Sea and the Mediterranean Holy Land.