|In an announcement that warms the heart of all who are tired of reading
about cruise industry malaise, war and disease, Princess Cruises has placed
an order for a new ship. Well, sort of. The 116,000-ton ship, a sister to
Caribbean Princess -- the first in a new design for the cruise line and
which is anticipated for a summer 2004 launch -- will also be deployed,
year-round, in the Caribbean. The ship, dubbed, temporarily, Caribbean
Princess 2, will have the same unusual features as its older sibling, such
as "Dive-In Movies,² held on a giant, outdoor state-of-the-art LED screen
located poolside, and Club Fusion, a Jules Verne-themed "edutainment"
lounge. As with the original Caribbean Princess, the second ship, according
to a company statement, will also make a bigger effort than is usual to
theme onboard programs and amenities around the region in whose seas it
But, in an interesting sign that times-have-changed, the Caribbean Princess
2 announcement was made under Carnival Corporation auspices -- and is, in
fact, the ship that was originally slated to be the fifth in the fleet of
Holland America's Vista class. Holland America, a Carnival Corp. company, is
now, of course, a sister cruise line. Another departure from the usual
Princess Cruises new ship press release is the unusually feisty reference it
makes to Royal Caribbean, now a major competitor in that region.
Princess plans to spend $500 million to build Caribbean Princess 2 at
Fincantieri's Monfalcone yard and is anticipating delivery in May 2006.