April 28, 2003
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 sails. 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.