The sole big move forward by the 141,000-ton, 3,600-passenger ship, to be named Royal Princess in tribute to the line's first purpose-built vessel, is the innovative SkyWalk, a cantilevered, glass-enclosed walkway that will extend 28 feet beyond the edge of the ship and 128 feet over the water. (Acrophobics take note: The floor is glass as well.) On the opposite side of the deck, the similarly designed 20-seat Seaview bar will welcome tipplers who want mix vistas with their vodka.
Other features announced today by Princess president and CEO Alan Buckelew include:
A new adults-only pool will be situated near the Sanctuary, a signature Princess space (think massage cabanas, ultra-plush loungers and a lot of bathrobed cruisers) that's similarly kid-free. There'll be seven cabanas sitting nearby for private lounging.
Two more pools will bump up against a "tropical island" that will transform into a dance club at night, replete with a light show.
Both the Sanctuary and Movie Under the Stars, another Princess staple, will be expanded. The high-def poolside screen for the latter will be the largest on a Princess ship, at 33 by 18 feet.
The Piazza, the combination wine and sushi bar, bakery, and light entertainment venue already found on many Princess ships, will be significantly expanded, though Buckelew offered few details.
All outside cabins will have balconies, which translates to 80 percent of the ship's accommodations.
Royal Princess is due in spring 2013; its sister, as yet unnamed, will arrive a year later. (For a look at other upcoming new-builds, check out our new cruise ship order book.)
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--by John Deiner, Managing Editor