June 19, 2001
At Princess Cruises, a longtime tradition bites the dust. The usual captain’s welcome aboard cocktail reception, typically held on a voyage’s first formal night, is no longer a staple on ships that have embraced the line’s Personal Choice Dining concept. Because passengers are dining “when and where they want” the reception, typically held just prior to main and late seatings, wasn’t feasible, according to a Princess spokeswoman. The substitute? Passengers on affected ships -- Grand, Golden, Sun, Dawn, Sea and Ocean Princesses -- are instead "invited" to "happy hour," usually held on the first formal night. The event spans a two hour period and is held at a lounge near the ship's atrium. Princess says "the ship's captain is often on hand," -- read, no guarantee -- and attendees can buy themselves a glass of champagne at the bar. While not free, champagne, at $2 a glass, does come with unlimited free refills during the "happy hour" gathering. Traditionalists should know that Captains' receptions are still held, as usual, on all other ships in the Princess fleet.