Princess Cruises is continuing the famous Sun Princess name with its next generation (and biggest-ever) cruise ship that will carry more than 4,000 passengers. The vessel, which will launch on February 28, 2024, will be the line's 16th ship, the largest ship in the Princess fleet, and will debut as the first of two all-new Sphere-class vessels.
The new Sun Princess is the third ship in the fleet to sail under the Sun Princess name, which began in 1974 with the ship that was used for the pilot episode of the U.S. TV series "The Love Boat", which was later filmed on other ships in the fleet. The second Sun Princess entered service in 1995, and at the time was one of the world's largest cruise ships carrying 2,000 passengers. It was sold by Princess in 2020.
Sun Princess has been designed from scratch and is not a cookie-cutter ship (despite some visual similarities to carnival Corp.'s Excel class of ships). It will be followed by sister ship Star Princess in 2025.
Check out our editorial piece on this revolutionary ship and get a sneak peek with a few photos and details on Sun Princess.
New features debuting on Sun Princess include the Signature Collection, a new level of suite accommodation. And although it won't be clustering all those suites together in one place (as other lines have been doing on their newer vessels), passengers in these suites will have exclusive access to the Signature Restaurant, Signature Lounge and Signature Sun Deck, a private area of the adult-only retreat The Sanctuary.
Sun Princess will have a total of 2,157 cabins, including 50 suites and 100 connecting rooms, and have more outdoor balcony space than any other ships in the fleet. Of particular note, standard balcony staterooms will now offer in-room sofas -- a huge improvement over past designs that only offered a desk and chair for seating. The line has also guaranteed two more enhancements that will make Princess fans happy -- no more clingy curtains in any shower stall (all glass doors); and no obstructed views from any cabin type.
There will also be Reserve Collection suites, which will replace the Club Class accommodation on all the current ships. This cabin category features the best-located mini suites.
Within the Reserve Collection, Sun Princess will debut the Reserve Collection Cabana cabins. There are 76 of these cabins which all have exclusive access to a private sundeck complete with whirlpool. The cabins themselves are so called as they have an additional veranda space, so as well as terrace area there is also a conservatory area which can either be opened onto the sundeck or enclosed to effectively create an extra room. Extra perks for passengers staying in these cabins include access to the Reserve Collection Restaurant.
Located on the ship's top decks, Park19 is also set to make its debut aboard Sun Princess. Park19 will feature nine outdoor family-friendly activities spread out on decks 19, 20 and 21.
One of Park19's highlights is Sea Breeze, which is set to become the first rollglider at sea. Passengers will use an overhead track to go on this electric ride, which reaches speeds of up to 11 miles per hour. Sea Breeze will also be ADA accessible for passengers with limited mobility.
Other attractions include Coastal Climb, a climbing structure where passengers ascend from deck 19 to deck 20 through a series of obstacles; The Lookout, an open-air observation deck at the highest point accessible to the public aboard Sun Princess; The Net, a rope course across unstable bridges, a z-shaped balance beam and cargo nets; and Splash Zone, a splash area with pop jets and a water sculpture. Park19 will also be home to the ship's jogging track and recreational court, featuring ping pong, shuffleboard, Xponential Fitness classes and morning meditation, among other activities.
Outside of Park19, other new family-centric offerings aboard Sun Princess will be found elsewhere on the ship. Firefly Park on Deck 6 will cater to passengers ages six months to seven years old. The area is envisioned as a place where parents can play together with their children or drop them off for programs that include art projects, theme parties and group games. There is also a dedicated play area in Firefly Park for families with babies and toddlers aged 6 months to 3 years.
For older kids, Sun Princess will have Neon Grove -- for tweens -- and The Underground, for teenagers. The two separate areas will feature colorful sofas and lounging chairs, PlayStation 5 and Nintendo Switch gaming consoles, air hockey, foosball and skeeball. Both areas will also host age-appropriate activities like scavenger hunts, movie nights and dance parties.
Princess Cruises has confirmed that all the line's favorites venues -- Crown Grill, Alfredo's Pizzeria, Sabatinis, Crooners Bar -- will be available for dining on Sun Princess, though some will have a few tweaks.
For example, Alfredo's will not only have a wood-oven, but it also goes al fresco for the first time, with seating on the main promenade (including heaters in case it gets chilly).
New venues that have been announced for Sun Princess include Umai Teppanyaki, a Japanese restaurant that comes with a three-course teppanyaki show. Expect signature drinks such as a Wasabi Cocktail and a Japanese Martini.
Chef Rudi Sodamin will have a pop-up dinner restaurant called The Catch by Rudi that centers on -- what else? -- fresh seafood. And the O'Malley's Irish Pub, which debuted on Enchanted Princess, will be coming to Sun Princess as well, bringing both traditional Irish pub grub and live entertainment to lunch, mid-afternoon, dinner and late night dining.
The line will have a dining experience in the vein of the immersive 360: An Outstanding Experience that is already on Enchanted Princess and Discovery Princess. Developed in partnership with Miami artist Romano Britto, the "Love by Britto" will feature a seven-course, prix fixe menu ($149 per person) developed by Sodamin.
Expect luxury ingredients such as lobster, caviar and truffles on the menu, as well as a multi-sensory experience that incorporates Britto's artwork.
Among Sun Princess public areas, a standout feature is The Dome. Inspired by the terraces of the Greek island of Santorini, it is a multi-level deck covered with what Princess bills as the first-of-its-kind, true glass-enclosed dome ever constructed on a cruise ship (although those familiar with P&O Cruises will recognise this feature on its two newest ships, Iona and Arvia). In the daytime the venue will be used as an indoor and outdoor pool area and at night the pool will be covered and turned into an entertainment space that will feature aerial performances.
The troupe Cirque Éloize will perform three specially created shows in The Dome, including "Blue," "Come Fly Away" and "Artbeat." Expect to see aerial hoops, aerial poles, bungees, Cyr wheel, silks, contortions, and more.
Another striking entertainment space is the Princess Arena, the name the line has given to the traditional main theater. The reason for this is that the whole space -- as well being column-free, so no obstructed views -- can be configured from traditional seating, to theater-in-the-round to a "keyhole"-style, where the performers get up close with the audience. It will have a movable stage which rises and falls, a huge LED screen and seating for 1,050 people.
Shows slated for Princess Arena include three new shows and a returning favorite.
The new shows are: Vallora, a Pirate Quest, which has a soundtrack of 80s tunes; Stage Struck, which celebrates musical theater; and Viva La Musica, with a Latin-infused soundtrack.
The returning show, Fiera, has been reimagined for the space. It features popular songs by artists such as Lady Gaga and Guns & Roses.
Also new for Sun Princess: a partnership with Magic Castle, the iconic magic destination in Hollywood. The Spellbound by Magic Castle experience will encompass several rooms with a Victorian theme and feature not only magicians and sleight of hand tricks, but cocktails and mixology.
It will carry an extra fee, which has yet to be announced.
The central European-style Piazza -- a feature on other Princess ships -- will span three decks and be considerably wider than on other Princess ships. The space will have seating areas with ocean views and a huge triple-deck LED screen which changes throughout the day. In the center of the piazza is a platform which rises to become a stage for live performances.
Next to the Piazza atrium area will be a new coffee shop, Coffee Currents, along with Bellini's Cocktail Bar and on the upper decks you'll find familiar Princess hangouts such as Crooners Bar and Alfredo's Pizzeria.
The Atrium includes a striking feature that gives the ship its class name -- a huge glass sphere which encases Decks 7-9 midships. The effect will be to flood the central Piazza with light from every angle (note this is distinct from the glass dome on the top of the ship).
At the aft of the ship you'll find The Wakeview Terrace, which has shades of Miami to it, with towering condo-style cabins stacked above (rather than a sloping aft); panoramic elevators; an infinity pool, a bar and plenty of seating. Although this area is known as The Wake Club, it's open to all.
Sun Princess will also come equipped with the line's latest Ocean Medallion technology, and unlike the other ships where the technology has been added, Sun Princess is the first ship where it has been integrated into every aspect of the build. The technology comes in the form of a wearable device that enables passengers to order food and drink wherever they are on the vessel, book excursions, personalize their cruise experience -- and unlock their cabin door as they approach.
Sun Princess will incorporate the latest sustainable technology as part of the "green cruising" initiative drawn up by Carnival Corporation, Princess Cruises' parent company. It is one of 11 new ships in the corporate fleet powered by liquefied natural gas (LNG) which is currently the cleanest marine fuel.
A second Sphere class ship is also on order, scheduled to be delivered by Fincantieri in spring 2025.
Princess says Sun Princess will also be the first cruise ship built to meet the 2010 ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) Standards for Accessible Design to enable all passengers to use the onboard facilities.
Princess took delivery of Sun Princess on February 14, 2024. The maiden voyage will be a 10-night Grand Mediterranean itinerary departing from Rome on February 28, 2024 and ending in Barcelona.
Preparing for your upcoming trip? Check out our piece on 6 tips for cruising on Sun Princess.
Sun Princess will sail in the Mediterranean during its inaugural 2024 spring/summer season and then reposition in the U.S. for a fall season of seven and 14-day Western and Eastern Caribbean voyages out of Port Everglades (Fort Lauderdale), Florida.
Sun Princess is 175,550 gross tons and will carry 4,300 passengers.