Sapphire Princess

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Sapphire Princess at Tallinn, Estonia
United Kingdom
NameSapphire Princess
OwnerCarnival Corporation & plc
OperatorPrincess Cruises
Port of registry2004–2014 Bermuda Hamilton, Bermuda 2014–present United Kingdom London, England
BuilderMitsubishi Heavy Industries
CostUS $400 million
Christened10 June 2004 in Seattle
StatusIn Service
General characteristics
TypeGem-class Cruise ship
Tonnage115,875 GT
Length290 m (951 ft 5 in)
Beam37 m (121 ft 5 in)
Speed22 knots (41 km/h; 25 mph)
Capacity2,670 passengers

Sapphire Princess is a cruise ship owned by Princess Cruises that entered service in 2004 as the sister ship of Diamond Princess. At the time she was one of the world's largest cruise ships, with a capacity of 2,670 passengers [1] and is the second Gem-class ship built by Princess Cruises. Sapphire Princess was christened on 10 June 2004, in Seattle—the first cruise ship ever to be christened in that port.[2]

Design and construction[edit]

Sapphire Princess at Ketchikan, Alaska

Sapphire Princess was built in Japan by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, the second Princess Cruises ship to be built in a Japanese shipyard. Her only sister ship is Diamond Princess, with whom she swapped names during construction. She and her sister ship were the largest cruise ships to be built by Mitsubishi since the Crystal Harmony in 1991.

The name swap occurred because a major fire swept through the original Diamond Princess (presently sailing as today's Sapphire Princess) during construction, leading to a construction delay.[3] Both sister ships were being constructed at the same time, so the original Sapphire assumed the role of Diamond. This name swap assisted in keeping the delivery date of Diamond Princess on time, and kept Sapphire Princess on schedule as it was nearing completion early.[4] Due to the fire and name swap, she would be the last Carnival Corporation & plc vessel built by Mitsubishi until the completion of AIDAprima in 2016.[5]

Despite being technically similar to her Grand-class sister ships, she lacks the "wing" across the rear and above the stern that housed the Skywalkers Nightclub, which can be seen on Golden Princess, Star Princess, and Caribbean Princess.


Her diesel-electric plant includes four diesel generators and a gas turbine generator. The diesel generators are Wärtsilä 46 series common rail engines, two of the straight 9-cylinder configuration, and two of the straight 8-cylinder configuration. The 8- and 9-cylinder engines can produce approximately 812 and 912 MW of power respectively. These engines are fueled with heavy fuel oil (HFO or bunker c) and Marine Gas Oil (MGO) depending on the local regulations regarding emissions, as MGO produces much lower emissions but is much more expensive. The gas turbine generator is a GE 2500, producing a peak of 25 MW of power and being fueled by MGO. This generator is much more expensive to run than the diesel generators, and is used mostly in areas, such as Alaska, where the emissions regulations are strict. It is also used when top speed is required to make it to a port in a short time period. There are two propulsion electric motors which drive fixed-pitch propellers and six thrusters used during maneuvering; three bow and three stern. The propulsion electric motors (PEMs), are conventional synchronous motors made by Alstom Motors, driven by synchroconverters made by Alstom Power Conversion (now GE Power Conversion). The two motors are each rated to 20 MW and have a maximum speed of 154 rpm. (Rated speed of 0-145 rpm.)[6]

Areas of operation[edit]

Sapphire Princess previously sailed on the west coast of the United States but in 2014 the ship undertook Asian cruises from Shanghai in the summer months and in the winter cruises out of Singapore.[7] After her Singapore season concluded in 2016, the ship sailed from China year-round until 2017. The winter sailings from Singapore resumed during the 2017–18 season.[7]

On 28 March 2018 she re-positioned to Southampton, UK with a 38-day cruise where she was based until 21 October 2018 when she returned to Singapore with another 38 day cruise. Sapphire Princess will again in 2019 re-position to Southampton for the northern summer before returning to Singapore later in 2019. She will be homeported in Singapore for 2020.[8] Following her summer season in Asia, Sapphire Princess will be based in Melbourne in October 2020 for Australia and New Zealand sailings.[9]

Following the outbreak of SARS-CoV-2, Sapphire Princess will be deployed to Australia six months early.[10]

Incidents and accidents[edit]

Whale strikes[edit]

On two occasions, whales have been found dead on the bulbous bow of Sapphire Princess, a year apart from each other. On 25 July 2009, the ship docked at Canada Place Terminal, in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, with a dead fin whale lodged on its bow.[11] The estimated 21.3 metres (70 ft) whale was found on top of the bulbous bow.[12] Preliminary reports from the Fisheries and Oceans necropsy suggest the whale might have been sick.[13]

On 28 July 2010, Sapphire Princess had a whale stuck on the bow of the ship.[14] The estimated 12.2 m (40 ft) humpback whale became entangled on the ship's bulbous bow while Sapphire Princess was sailing from Ketchikan to Juneau.[15]

Prior to the first incident with Sapphire Princess, the last time that an Alaskan cruise ship docked in Vancouver with a whale on its bow was in 1999, when a dead 20-metre (66 ft) fin whale was found on Galaxy.


In 2014, a 29-year old woman drowned in a pool aboard Sapphire Princess. [16]

In 2015, another passenger also drowned in the Neptune pool aboard Sapphire Princess. [17]

In Manila by COVID-19 pandemic[edit]

Sapphire Princess was anchored in Manila because of the OFWs and passengers from the Philippines and it was one of the 10 ships in Manila.


  1. ^ "Fantastic Cruise Deals for 2021, 2022 & 2023 | CruiseKings". Retrieved 22 November 2021.
  2. ^ "Sapphire Princess Joins Seattle Cruise Ship Market". Port of Seattle. Archived from the original on 5 April 2009.
  3. ^ "MHI Fire incident report". 4 October 2002. Archived from the original on 14 May 2011. Retrieved 12 April 2010.
  4. ^ "Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Cruise Ship "Sapphire Princess" To Be Delivered to Princess Cruises" (Press release). Hideo Ikuno, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd. 26 May 2004. Archived from the original on 18 March 2014. Retrieved 17 April 2013.
  5. ^ "AIDAprima headed for Europe after Mitsubishi HI delivery". Seatrade Cruise News. Seatrade. 14 March 2016. Retrieved 16 March 2016.
  6. ^ "Sapphire Princess - Cruise Ship". Ship Technology. 2012. Retrieved 29 April 2012.
  7. ^ a b "Cruise Search Results: Princess Cruises". Princess Cruise Lines. 2013. Retrieved 16 April 2013.
  8. ^ Staff, CIN (28 March 2018). "New Look Sapphire Princess Sails for Europe". Retrieved 29 March 2018.
  9. ^ Staff, C. I. N. (18 June 2019). "Sapphire Princess Extends Season, Adds Shanghai Program for 2020". Retrieved 24 August 2019.
  10. ^ Staff, C. I. N. (18 February 2020). "Sapphire Princess Redeploying to Australia". Retrieved 24 February 2020.
  11. ^ The Associated Press (26 July 2009). "Dead Whale Gets Stuck in Cruise Ship Bow". Fox News. Retrieved 29 April 2012.
  12. ^ Staff writers (26 July 2009). "Whale wedged on cruise ship bow". BBC News. Retrieved 29 April 2012.
  13. ^ "Necropsy reveals impaled whale may have been sick". The Vancouver Sun. 27 July 2009. Archived from the original on 31 July 2009. Retrieved 29 April 2012.
  14. ^ James Halpin (29 July 2010). "Whale found stuck on bow of cruise ship near Juneau". The Anchorage Daily News. Retrieved 29 April 2012.
  15. ^ Greg Dragonetti (7 August 2010). "Whale Meets Ship With Unfortunate End". CruiseInd. Retrieved 29 April 2012.
  16. ^ "Passenger Drowns in Swimming Pool on Sapphire Princess". 10 August 2014.
  17. ^ "Princess Cruises Criticized After Passenger Drowned". 23 August 2015.

External links[edit]