(12:10 p.m. EDT) -- Princess Cruises has announced it will alter its 2021 cruise programs in Alaska and Europe, with Majestic Princess operating its inaugural season in Alaska, Regal Princess returning to Europe and Grand Princess being redeployed on new summer routes on the West Coast.
The 3,560-passenger Majestic Princess will replace Regal Princess in Alaska for the 2021 season. Majestic Princess will operate all voyages that were earmarked to sail aboard Regal Princess, with the exception of the vessel's May 4, 2021 Alaska Sampler cruise, which will be canceled.
Regal Princess, which is a near twin to Majestic Princess, also holding 3,560 passengers, will instead sail from Southampton, England, throughout summer 2021. It replaces the 1998-built Grand Princess, which will be redeployed to the West Coast for a new season of summer cruises to the Mexican Riviera and California coast, departing from Los Angeles.
Full details of these new summer 2021 voyages aboard Grand Princess will be released at a later date, according to a statement from the cruise line.
Passengers booked on previously announced Regal Princess voyages in Alaska and Grand Princess sailings in Europe will automatically have their bookings moved to Majestic Princess for Alaska voyages, and Regal Princess for voyages in Europe. Passengers will receive new booking confirmations for these sailings.
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The redeployment of Grand Princess, which holds 2,594 passengers, to the West Coast for summer 2021 is good news for those looking to cruise closer to home. The West Coast normally sees a dearth of itineraries during the summer months as lines reposition their ships to Alaska and Europe.
It is also positive news for those who are fans of the originator of Grand Class cruising, which looks to remain in the Princess fleet for some time to come. Princess' Grand Class also includes Star Princess and the recently-departed Golden Princess, and contributed significantly to the design of Caribbean, Crown, Emerald, Ruby, Diamond and Sapphire Princess, plus two vessels -- Azura and Ventura -- for P&O Cruises.
Princess, like numerous other cruise lines around the world, is on a voluntary operational pause into the fall as a result of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.