February 14, 2003
Princess Cruises, in a move foreshadowed by company CEO Peter Ratcliffe, has redeployed Grand Princess from summer-in-Europe to the Caribbean due to low sales. The decision to move the ship, which was slated to sail a series of 12-day Mediterranean itineraries from May to October, was a relative no-brainer as Princess also had scheduled sister vessel Golden Princess on an identical route. Grand Princess, whose two repositioning transatlantics have also been canceled for obvious reasons, will instead spend the summer on 7-day alternating eastern and western Caribbean voyages. Even after this move, Princess still has three ships in Europe for the 2003 season. Beyond Golden Princess, Royal Princess will sail Western European itineraries and Regal Princess will offer Scandinavian trips. While other cruise lines we contacted have maintained -- up to this point -- that they do not expect to reposition their ships out of Europe, low passenger demand, in light of terrorism fears and the potential for war in Iraq, have kept bookings low. We'll keep you posted.