It’s a surprise Valentine’s Day present from Princess Cruises when they revealed the new European itineraries for the 2013 inaugural season for the new Royal Princess.
More than a year until the new ship is launched, Princess Cruises is creating a buzz with not only unveiling the new itineraries but giving us a peek at some of the enhancements on this new ship including a preview of the grand atrium, a popular meeting place found on many of the Princess ships.
Following a scheduled summer inaugural celebration of two three-night preview cruises from Southampton, the first “official” cruise for the Royal Princess will be a seven-day Iberia cruise from Southampton to Barcelona on June 16. Following the ship’s arrival in Barcelona, the Royal Princess will do a series of twelve-day Grand Mediterranean cruises between Barcelona and Venice. On October 9, the Royal Princess will set out across the Atlantic on an eighteen-day voyage to Ft. Lauderdale. until
“It’s fitting that our new ship will cruise on our most popular Europe itinerary, the Grand Mediterranean,” said Jan Swartz, executive vice president for Princess Cruises. “And the shorter preview cruises prior to the Mediterranean season certainly offer a unique opportunity to sample the new Royal Princess experience our passengers are eagerly awaiting.”
The 3,600 passenger Royal Princess is being built by Fincantieri their Monfalcone, Italy shipyard. In keeping with tradition among the newer Princess ships, the Royal Princess will have many of the same familiar features. The familiar atrium, where guests can sample savory bites, shop, enjoy a variety of live entertainment, shopping and drinks, will be fifty percent larger and will showcase several brand new features. Among the new venues will be Bellini’s Italian cocktail bar, Ocean Terrace seafood bar, a gelateria and a special gift shop named, Celebrations, for special occasion onboard gifts.
Not to worry, many of the much-loved restaurants and bars will return, some with a slightly different spin. Sabatini’s Trattoria and an expanded International Café are returning while Crooners Martini Bar will create seventy-five different types of martinis and also feature dueling piano entertainment and a stunning view of the sea. Vines, the popular wine bar is back and will feature more than thirty different wines by the glass and will offer tapas and sushi to accompany your wine selections.
“Many features aboard the new Royal Princess will be exciting evolutions of the popular and successful features found throughout our fleet, and the atrium is no exception,” added Swartz. “The expansion in size of this space provided us an opportunity to add some brand new venues to what is already a favorite passenger area.”
Here’s a quick rundown of the new itineraries which will go on sale on March 15, 2012.
Inaugural Season Cruises
3-day Advance Preview Sailings departing June 10 and 13, 2013
These cruises will sail roundtrip from Southampton with a call at St. Peter Port on the Island of Guernsey in the English Channel. The preview sailings will open for booking at a later date when the inaugural celebrations for the ship are in place.
7-day Maiden Iberia Voyage departing June 16, 2013
The ship’s maiden voyage sails from Southampton to Barcelona with calls at Vigo (for Santiago de Compostela), Lisbon, Gibraltar and Malaga.
12-day Grand Mediterranean Sailings departing June 23 through September 27, 2013
The nine Grand Mediterranean sailings will cruise between Barcelona and Venice, with calls at Toulon (for Provence), Livorno (for Florence and Pisa), Civitavecchia (for Rome), Naples (for Capri and Pompeii), Mykonos, Istanbul, Kusadasi (for Ephesus), Athens and finally an overnight stay in the beautiful Italian city of Venice. Passengers on the seven-day voyage can combine their sailing with the first Grand Mediterranean cruise for a 19-day Grand Adventure.
18-day Maiden Venetian Passage departing October 9, 2013
This cruise begins in Venice with an overnight in this iconic city, and sets sail to Fort Lauderdale with calls at Messina (Sicily), Naples (for Capri and Pompeii), Civitavecchia (for Rome), Cannes (for Monte Carlo), Barcelona and Funchal (Madeira Island).
As the ship nears completion, Princess Cruises will continue to give us little glimpses into what new and exciting features are being added to the Royal Princess. Stay tuned for more updates.
Sherry is editor and creator of CruiseMaven.com. An expert on ocean and river cruises plus trains in the US and Europe, Sherry’s goal is to share her experiences to entertain, inform and inspire readers to travel the world.