March 11, 2002
Easy go, easy come? There’s plenty of new ship-old ship news this week. First up: Holland America’s Westerdam, which sailed more than 13 years and 643 voyages for the line, departed the fleet Sunday. The ship, originally known as Home Lines’ Homeric, began cruising in 1986; it went to work for Holland America two years later.
Westerdam’s new playground -- after the usual interior refreshing -- will be Europe as sister line under the Carnival Corp. umbrella Costa will take delivery of what’s to be called the “Costa Europa.”
On the new ship front, Princess Cruises’ newest -- Star Princess -- has arrived in Los Angeles. The 109,000-ton Star Princess, which has evolved from the Grand Princess family, is cruise-dom’s largest ship to be based on the West Coast; itineraries in the relatively near future include the Mexican Riviera and Alaska.
In other Princess new-ship-news, Coral Princess, now in construction phases at a shipyard in St. Nazaire, France, got her “float out” of the building dock last week. That process, which transforms a one-time land-bound construction project into a seaworthy one, involves gradually flooding the building dock to see if she floats. She did and was then towed by tug boats to the next phase of construction.
Coral Princess -- smaller than the Grand family -- is an 88,000 ton ship and the first of a new “generation”. Big innovations for this ship include a gas turbine/diesel engine, a New Orleans-themed restaurant and a 90 percent rate for outside cabins.