Princess Cruises

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Princess Cruises
IndustryTravel Tours
FounderStanley McDonald Edit this on Wikidata
HeadquartersSanta Clarita, California
Key people
Jan Swartz, President
Revenue$4.229 billion (net)[1]
Number of employees
ParentCarnival Corporation & plc
SubsidiariesPrincess Tours

Princess Cruises is a cruise line owned by Carnival Corporation & plc.[2] The company is incorporated in Bermuda and its headquarters are in Santa Clarita, California.[3] As of 2018, it is the second largest cruise line by net revenue.[1] It was previously a subsidiary of P&O Princess Cruises, and is currently under Holland America Group within Carnival Corporation & plc, which holds executive control over the Princess Cruises brand. The line has 18 ships cruising global itineraries that are marketed to both American and international passengers.

The company was made famous by the American television series The Love Boat, in which its ship Pacific Princess was featured. In May 2013, Royal Princess, the first Royal-class ship and the largest ship constructed for Princess at the time, became the flagship of Princess Cruises.


Princess Cruises headquarters in Santa Clarita

Early years: 1965–1974[edit]

Princess Cruises began in 1965, when founder Stanley McDonald chartered Canadian Pacific Limited's Alaska cruise ship Princess Patricia for Mexican Riviera cruises from Los Angeles during a time when she would have usually been laid up for the winter.[4] However, Princess Pat, as she was fondly called, had never been designed for tropical cruising, lacking air-conditioning, and Princess ended her charter in favor of a more purpose-built cruise ship Italia.

Princess, who marketed the ship as Princess Italia, but never officially renamed her, used the ship to inaugurate their Mexican Riviera cruises out of Los Angeles and did not receive the Princess logo on her funnel until 1967.[4]

In 1969, Princess Italia was used on Alaskan cruises from San Francisco, but by 1973, the charter was canceled, and Italia returned to Europe on charter to Costa Cruise Line.[4]

Princess's third charter ship was none other than Costa's Carla C. Originally, Compagnie Générale Transatlantique's SS Flandre, the ship had been purchased by Costa in the late 1960s and given a major rebuilding. Almost immediately after completion, the ship was chartered to Princess, and it was on board the ship, which was marketed as, but again not officially renamed, Princess Carla, that Jeraldine Saunders wrote the first chapters of her nonfiction book The Love Boats.[5]

As subsidiary of P&O: 1974–2000[edit]

Britain's Peninsular & Oriental Steam Navigation Company (P&O), which by 1960 was the world's largest shipping company, with 320 oceangoing vessels, acquired Princess Cruise Lines in 1974 and their Spirit of London (originally to have been Norwegian Cruise Line's Seaward) was transferred to the Princess fleet, becoming the first Sun Princess.[4]

The two ships that were to be featured heavily in the television series The Love Boat were built in 1971 at Nordseewerke for Flagship Cruises and originally named the Sea Venture (for the original Sea Venture, the 1609 wreck of which resulted in the settlement of Bermuda) and Island Venture. In 1974, P&O purchased them for their Princess division, and they served as Island Princess and Pacific Princess respectively.

A part-time addition to the Princess fleet was the former Swedish transatlantic liner Kungsholm, purchased by P&O from Flagship Cruises in 1978, and then restyled and rebuilt in Bremen as Sea Princess. She was initially based in Australia as a P&O ship until 1981 when her role there was taken over by Oriana. After that, she alternated between P&O and Princess colours as she moved between fleets. Sea Princess returned to the P&O UK fleet permanently and in 1995 and was renamed MV Victoria to allow a then-new Princess ship to be named Sea Princess.

In 1981, Princess began calling at the cruise line's first private Caribbean destination, Palm Island in the Grenadines.[4]

The first P&O Princess Cruises purpose-built cruise ship was Royal Princess in 1984, the largest new British passenger ship in a decade, and one of the first, if not the first, ships to completely dispense with interior cabins.[4] The ship served in P&O Cruises fleet as Artemis until 2011.

In 1986, P&O Princess Cruises acquired Tour Alaska, which operated on the Alaska Railroad. Based in Anchorage, Alaska, Princess Tours now operates ten luxury railcars with full-service scenic tours of Denali (formerly Mount McKinley) and can accommodate over 700 passengers per day. That same year, Princess unveiled Princess Bay, located at Saline Bay on the Caribbean island of Mayreau.[6][7] Princess Bay was the cruise line's second private island resort, replacing Palm Island, and was marketed as "every castaway's first choice,"[7] primarily featured on the cruise line's Caribbean itineraries from San Juan, Puerto Rico,[8] but is now no longer a Princess private resort.

P&O Princess Cruises acquired Sitmar Line in 1988 and transferred all of its major tonnage to Princess, including three cruise ships then under construction.[9] Dawn Princess and Fair Princess were both ex-Cunard, and the former Sitmar Fairsky became Princess's Sky Princess. The first of the three new Sitmar ships came into the Princess brand in 1989 as Star Princess, the largest British exclusively cruising ship. Two 70,000 GT cruise ships entered service in 1990 as Crown Princess and Regal Princess, bringing Princess's fleet up to ten deluxe cruise ships.[9]

In 1991, Princess Cruises began developing their third ever Caribbean private resort named Princess Cays located on the southern tip of the island of Eleuthera in the Bahamas.[8] The development was reported to cost $1.2 million and was unveiled in 1992, becoming an exclusive port of call for the cruise line's Western Caribbean itineraries.[8] The private destination is also shared between sister brands, Carnival Cruise Line and Holland America Line.[10] The resort suffered from a fire in January 2019 that damaged several buildings along the south side of the island.[11]

Princess Cruises was involved in litigation with General Electric in 1998 over consequential damages and lost profits resulting from a contract the two parties entered into. General Electric was to provide inspection and repair services upon the SS Sky Princess. Upon noticing surface rust on the turbine rotor, the vessel was brought ashore for cleaning and balancing, but good metal was unintentionally removed. This destabilized the rotor, forcing Princess Cruises to cancel two 10-day cruises while additional work was performed. Princess originally prevailed, being awarded nearly $4.6 million. On appeal, however, the judgement was reversed in favor of General Electric, and Princess Cruises only recovered the price of the contract, less than $232,000.[12]

That same year, Princess unveiled its first Grand-class vessel, the Grand Princess, which debuted on May 26. At the time, the $450 million Fincantieri-built vessel was the largest passenger ship ever commissioned and completed.[13] Two more ships in the class, Golden Princess and Star Princess, followed, pioneering the design that carried on through the following six vessels in the class, with the last ship delivered in 2008.[14]

As subsidiary of P&O Princess Cruises: 2000–2003[edit]

On October 23, 2000, the Peninsular & Oriental Steam Navigation Company (P&O) spun-off its passenger division to form an independent company, P&O Princess Cruises.[15] In 2001, Princess Cruises headquarters moved from Century City to Santa Clarita, California.[16]

With the debut of Golden Princess in North America in 2001, Sky Princess was deployed to Australia for P&O Cruises Australia in 2000 and replace Fair Princess. Sky Princess was transformed into Pacific Sky to become the sister brand's first modern-era cruise ship for the recently spun off P&O Cruises Australia.[17] Star Princess commenced operations in March 2002 and became the first "mega-ship" to operate from the West Coast on a full-time basis.[18] In June 2002, Crown Princess was transferred to P&O Princess' new start-up brand, A'Rosa Cruises, to be the only cruise ship in A'Rosa's fleet to help launch the brand.[19]

As subsidiary of Carnival Corporation & plc: 2003–present[edit]

P&O Princess Cruises merged with Carnival Corporation on April 17, 2003, to form the world's largest cruise operating company in a deal worth US$5.4 billion.[20][21] As a result of the merger, Carnival Corporation and P&O Princess were integrated to form Carnival Corporation & plc, with a portfolio of eleven cruise ship brands. It is a dual-listed company, registered in both the United States and the United Kingdom, with the former P&O Princess Cruises being relisted as Carnival plc, more commonly known as Carnival UK, which holds executive control over Cunard Line and P&O Cruises. As an American-based company, executive control of Princess Cruises was transferred to Carnival's American operations, with the formation of the Holland America Group umbrella, which comprises Princess, Holland America Line, Seabourn Cruise Line, and P&O Cruises Australia.

In May 2005, Princess reacquired Sea Princess from P&O, which it had transferred over just two years prior.[22]

On April 3, 2008, Micky Arison, the chairman of Carnival Corporation & plc, stated that due to the low value of the United States dollar because of the recession, inflation and high shipbuilding costs, the company would not be ordering any new ships for their U.S.-based brands (Princess, Carnival Cruise Line, and Holland America Line) before the economic situation improved.[23]

In May 2010, Carnival Corporation & plc signed a contract with Fincantieri for the construction of two new 3,600-passenger ships, known as the Royal-class cruise ships, for Princess Cruises.[24][25] The Royal-class vessels are the largest ships ever constructed for Princess. Royal Princess, Princess' new flagship vessel, entered service in 2013.[26] In 2017, Princess further invested in China via the delivery of their third Royal-class ship, Majestic Princess, after it was designed to accommodate the Chinese-speaking market and scheduled to homeport in Shanghai.[27][28] Following the delivery of Sky Princess in October 2019, Princess has the last two Royal-class ships set for delivery in 2020 and 2021, respectively.[29]

In July 2018, Princess signed a memorandum of agreement with Fincantieri for the construction of two new 175,000 GT ships that will be primarily powered by liquefied natural gas (LNG).[30] The ships will become the largest vessels built in Italy and commissioned for Princess as well as the first in the fleet to run on LNG.[30] The final contract was signed in March 2019, ushering in the development of the ships.[31] Princess will become the fifth Carnival Corporation brand to operate ships running on LNG upon the first ship's delivery in late-2023.[31]

In 2020, Princess will part ways with a Grand-class ship, Golden Princess, for the first time, as she transfers to P&O Cruises Australia, debuting in their fleet in October 2020.[32] Star Princess, the second Grand-class ship to leave, will transfer to the same cruise line and debut in November 2021.[33]

Ocean pollution[edit]

On August 26, 2013, the crew of Caribbean Princess deliberately discharged 4,227 gallons of oil-contaminated waste off the southern coast of England.[34] The discharge involved the illegal modification of the vessel's on-board pollution control systems, and was photographed by a newly hired engineer.[35][36] When the ship subsequently berthed at Southampton, the engineer resigned his position and reported the discharge to the UK Maritime and Coastguard Agency.[37] An investigation launched by the U.S. Department of Justice Environment and Natural Resources Division (ENRD) found that the practice had been taking place on Caribbean Princess and four other Princess ships – Star Princess, Grand Princess, Coral Princess, and Golden Princess – since 2005.[38][39]

In December 2016, Princess agreed to plead guilty to seven felony charges and pay a $40 million penalty. The charges related to illegal discharges off the coasts of Florida, Maine, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Texas, Virginia, the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico.[40] As part of the agreement, cruise ships from eight Carnival companies, including Carnival Cruise Line and Holland America Line, are required to operate for five years under a court-supervised environmental compliance plan with independent audits and a court-appointed monitor.[41] The fine was the "largest-ever criminal penalty involving deliberate vessel pollution."[40]

For violation of the probation terms of 2016, Carnival Corporation and Princess were ordered to pay an additional $20 million penalty in 2019. The new violations included discharging plastic into waters in the Bahamas, falsifying records, and interfering with court supervision.[42]

2019-2020 Covid-19 pandemic[edit]

During the COVID-19 pandemic, several ships from the cruise line became major clusters of infection of the disease, including Diamond Princess and Ruby Princess, spreading it around the world. By February, 712 cases had developed on Diamond Princess, of which 11 eventually died. This drew worldwide attention and led to several countries repatriating their citizens from the ship.[43] Shortly before the disease was declared a pandemic, and with over 2700 passengers on board, Ruby Princess sailed into international waters despite a global increase of confirmed cases of COVID-19. By mid April, there were 852 confirmed cases among Australian passengers alone, and 21 deaths.[44] The subsequent discharge of infected passengers into Australia worsened the national pandemic[45] in the country and caused a humanitarian crisis.[46] On April 5, 2020 the New South Wales Police Force announced they had launched a criminal investigation into whether the operator of the Ruby Princess downplayed potential coronavirus cases before thousands of passengers disembarked in Sydney.[47]

Current fleet[edit]

Royal class[edit]

Ship Built Builder In Princess service Gross tonnage Flag Notes Image
Royal Princess 2013 Fincantieri 2013–Present 142,229 tons  Bermuda A crew member on Grand Princess had transferred to Royal Princess fifteen days before, the CDC issued a "no-sail order" on 8 March 2020, due to Covid-19 infections, prompting Princess Cruises to cancel the ship's seven-day cruise to Mexico before it departed Los Angeles.[48]
Regal Princess 2014 Fincantieri 2014–Present 142,229 tons  Bermuda On 7 March, Regal Princess tested two crewmembers for SARS-CoV-2, and delayed docking at Port Everglades for almost a day while waiting for test results to come back.
Majestic Princess 2017 Fincantieri 2017–Present 143,700 tons  United Kingdom Outfitted to accommodate the Chinese-speaking market.[49]
Sky Princess 2019 Fincantieri 2019–Present 145,281 tons[50]  Bermuda Current flagship of Princess Cruises.[51]
Largest ship built and to operate for Princess upon delivery.
Includes more passenger cabins, larger crew complement, and higher guest capacity than older sister ships.[52]

Grand class[edit]

All Grand-class ships are classified as New Panamax-type; as of 2016, access through the Panama Canal for these ships are now facilitated by the newly opened Agua Clara locks.[53]

Ship Built Builder In Princess service Gross tonnage Flag Notes Image
Grand Princess 1998 Fincantieri 1998–present 107,517 tons  Bermuda Largest and most expensive ship ever to be constructed upon debut in 1998.[54]

Former flagship of Princess fleet before Royal Princess.

A passenger onboard contracted the virus, COVID-19, on the cruise and died, resulting in the ship being quarantined off the coast of San Francisco because of further infections.[55]

Golden Princess 2001 Fincantieri 2001–present 108,865 tons  United Kingdom Scheduled to transfer to P&O Cruises Australia in 2020[32] Golden Princess tendering in Cabo San Lucas.JPG
Star Princess 2002 Fincantieri 2002–present 108,977 tons  Bermuda Scheduled to transfer to P&O Cruises Australia in 2021[32][56]
Diamond Princess 2004 Mitsubishi Heavy Industries 2004–present (now on quarantine) 115,875 tons  United Kingdom One of two Grand-class ships built in Japan

Outfitted to exclusively sail around Japan and Southeast Asia[57] was on quarantine in Yokohama (Japan) because of COVID-19 infection.

Sapphire Princess 2004 Mitsubishi Heavy Industries 2004–present 115,875 tons  United Kingdom One of two Grand-class ships built in Japan
Caribbean Princess 2004 Fincantieri 2004–present 112,894 tons  Bermuda
Crown Princess 2006 Fincantieri 2006–present 113,561 tons  Bermuda Crown Princess Piräus.JPG
Emerald Princess 2007 Fincantieri 2007–present 113,561 tons  Bermuda
Ruby Princess 2008 Fincantieri 2008–present 113,561 tons  Bermuda On 20 March 2020, it was announced that three passengers and a crew member of Ruby Princess had tested positive for Covid-19.[58] The ship had docked in Sydney Harbour, and the passengers had disembarked before the results came back positive.[59] The ship had returned to Sydney with 1,100 crew members and 2,700 passengers, and 13 people that were sick were tested for the virus.[60] Istanbul Bosphorus Cruise ship Ruby Princess IMG 7926 1920.jpg

Coral class[edit]

Ship Built Builder In Princess service Gross tonnage Flag Notes Image
Coral Princess 2002 Chantiers de l'Atlantique 2003–Present 91,627 tons  Bermuda Panamax-type Coral Princess (ship, 2002) 001.jpg
Island Princess 2003 Chantiers de l'Atlantique 2003–Present 91,627 tons  Bermuda Panamax-type

Increased passenger berths in 2015

Sun class[edit]

These two ships each have a capacity of 1,990 passengers and 924 crew.

Ship Built Builder In Princess service Gross tonnage Flag Notes Image
Sun Princess 1995 Fincantieri 1995–present 77,441 tons  Bermuda Sun Princess was not allowed to dock at a port in Madagascar on 13 February 2020 as it had visited Thailand, where there were cases of SARS-CoV-2, less than 14 days before. The ship docked at Réunion on 1 March, but passengers were met by a crowd of about 30 people who insisted that the passengers must be inspected for SARS-CoV-2, and tried to prevent them from leaving the port area. Missiles were thrown at passengers, and the police deployed tear gas.[61]
Sea Princess 1998 Fincantieri 1998–2003


77,499 tons  Bermuda Previously Adonia with P&O Cruises from 2003 to 2005. Sea Princess departing Vanasadam Tallinn Port of Tallinn 3 July 2016.jpg

R class[edit]

This ship has a capacity of 680 passengers and 373 crew.

Ship Built Builder In Princess service Gross tonnage Flag Notes Image
Pacific Princess 1999 Chantiers de l'Atlantique 2003–Present 30,277 tons  Bermuda

Previously R Three with Renaissance Cruises

Future fleet[edit]

Ship Class Year
Builder Will sail for
Gross Tonnage Flag Notes Image
Enchanted Princess Royal 2020 Fincantieri 2020 145,000 tons  Bermuda [62][63]
Discovery Princess Royal 2021 Fincantieri 2021 145,000 tons TBA [64][65]
TBA Sphere 2023 Fincantieri 2023 175,000 tons TBA 1st LNG-powered Princess ship.[30][66]
Largest ship commissioned for Princess.
TBA Sphere 2025 Fincantieri 2025 175,000 tons TBA 2nd LNG-powered Princess ship.[30]
Sister ship to 2023 vessel.

Former fleet[edit]

Ship In service for
Current Status Image
Princess Patricia (1965–1966) First Princess ship in the fleet.
Built in 1949 and scrapped in Taiwan in 1995.
Princess Italia (1967–1973) Sailed as MS Sapphire between 2002 and 2010 with Louis Cruise Lines.
Sold for scrap in 2012.
"Italia" - Piraeus, 1980.jpg
Princess Carla (1968–1970) Owned by Costa but chartered to Princess.
Never renamed but Princess marketed ship as Princess Carla.
Sold by Costa to Epirotiki Lines and renamed Pallas Athena.
Sold for scrap after being destroyed by a fire in 1994.
Paquebot "Flandre".jpg
Island Princess (1972–1999) Sailed for Voyages of Discovery between 2002 and 2013 as MV Discovery.
Operated with Cruise & Maritime Voyages under the same name.
Scrapped in 2014.
Island Princess 1986.jpg
Sun Princess (1974–1989) Sailed for Runfeng Ocean (Hong Kong) Deluxe Cruises Limited as Ocean Dream beginning in 2012.
Capsized and sunk in February 2016.
Pacific Princess (1975–2002) Sailed for Quail Cruises as Pacific since 2008.
Scrapped in 2013.
Featured prominently on the TV show, The Love Boat.
Pacific Princess 1987.jpg
Sea Princess (1986–1995) Sailed for Lord Nelson Seereisen as MS Mona Lisa since 2008.
Operated as Veronica, a ship hotel in Oman from 2012 to 2013.
Beached for scrap in Alang in 2016.
Sea Princess Venice 1986.jpg
Royal Princess (1984–2005) Sailed for P&O Cruises as the Artemis from 2005 to 2011.
Transferred to Phoenix Reisen in 2011 and sails as MV Artania.
"Royal Princess" - 1987.jpg
Fair Princess (1988–1997) Built for Cunard Line as RMS Carinthia in 1956.
Scrapped in Alang, India in 2005.
"China Sea Discovery" - Kaohsiung, 2002.jpg
Dawn Princess (1988–1993) Sailed as RMS Sylvania for Cunard Line in 1957.
Scrapped in Alang, India in 2004.
"Fairwind" - Southampton, 1969.jpg
Sky Princess (1988–2000) Sailed for Pullmantur Cruises in 2011 as Atlantic Star.
Scrapped at Aliaga, Turkey in 2013.
MS Sky Princess (4490014483) (cropped).jpg
Star Princess (1989–1997) Transferred to P&O Cruises in 1997 as MV Arcadia.
Sold in 2003 to Ocean Village, operating as Ocean Village.
Pacific Pearl Darling Harbour.jpg
Crown Princess (1990–2002) Sailed for Ocean Village as Ocean Village Two from 2004 to 2009, Sailed As Pacific Jewel from

2009–2019, from 2019 Sailing as Karnika for Jalesh Cruises.

Crownprincess skagwayalaska (4305490969) (cropped).jpg
Regal Princess (1991–2007) Sailing for P&O Cruises Australia as Pacific Dawn from 2007 to 2021. Was sold to CMV in 2019 and

will transfer in 2021.

MS Regal Princess (4172014792).jpg
Golden Princess (1993–1996) Chartered to Princess from 1993 to 1996.
Sold to Star Cruises and renamed SuperStar Capricorn.
Sailing for Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines as MV Boudicca since 2005.
Boudicca departing Tallinn 7th September 2013.JPG
Ocean Princess (2000–2002) Sailing for P&O Cruises as MV Oceana since 2002. P&O Cruises Oceana 02 IMO 9169550 @chesi.JPG
Royal Princess (2007–2011) Transferred to P&O Cruises in 2011 and sailed as Adonia.
Sailing as Azamara Pursuit since 2019.
Royal Princess.jpg
Ocean Princess (2002–2016) Sailed as R Four before leased to Princess and renamed Tahitian Princess.
Renamed Ocean Princess in 2009.
Sold to Oceania Cruises in March 2016 to become Sirena.[67][68]
Ocean Princess departing Tallinn 23 June 2013.JPG
Dawn Princess (1997–2017) Transferred to P&O Cruises Australia in 2017 and renamed Pacific Explorer. Dawn Princess, Fremantle, 2016 (06).JPG


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External links[edit]