|Operator:||Princess Cruise Line|
|Port of registry:||Bermuda, Hamilton|
|Yard number:||Monfalcone, 6051|
|Launched:||10 May 2001|
|Completed:||25 January 2002|
|Class & type:||Grand class cruise ship|
|Length:||289.62 m (950.2 ft)|
|Beam:||36 m (118 ft)|
|Draught:||8.45 metres (27.7 ft)|
|Deck clearance:||8.45 m (27.7 ft)|
An earlier ship of the same name is now operating as Pacific Pearl. Star Princess was built by Fincantieri in Monfalcone, Italy in 2002, and has hull number 6051. Star Princess differs slightly in upper deck layout from her predecessors, having an extra plunge pool (and one less hot tub) at the stern (deck 15) and with the deletion of the "Off Limits" teenagers' hot tub & sunbathing area featured further forward on her predecessors.
Another ship of similar design, Caribbean Princess, was subsequently built, featuring an additional deck of cabins ("Riviera Deck") to accommodate more passengers.
Accidents and incidents
On 23 March 2006, at about 3 am, a fire broke out in the passenger compartments, amidships, on the port side of the ship. Shortly after, the captain sounded the general emergency signal—seven short blasts followed by one long blast on the ship's whistle (over the PA) and the ship's horn, which woke passengers up all over the ship. Passengers went to muster stations and evacuees were combined into groups, then stationed in muster stations, theatres, restaurants and other public ares, for about seven hours. Some passengers who needed regular medication required crew members to go into their suites and retrieve their medication.
Passengers evacuated their cabins into public areas through smoky hallways, grabbing their life jackets on the way. The evacuation was reportedly orderly, in contrast to deadlier fires such as those on Morro Castle and Yarmouth Castle. Lifeboats were lowered, but proved to be unnecessary, as the fire was contained and doused, and the ship headed into Montego Bay under her own power.
The fire was probably caused by a cigarette left burning on a balcony, which had become hot enough to melt the balcony divides made from plastic polycarbonate, a material that had been approved by international cruise line safety rules. The fire caused scorching damage in up to 150 cabins, and smoke damage in at least 100 more on passenger decks 9 to 12 (Dolphin, Caribe, Baja and Aloha decks). A passenger, Richard Liffidge, 72, of Georgia, died from "asphyxia secondary to inhalation of smoke and irrespirable gases" and thirteen other passengers suffered significant smoke inhalation.
While a smouldering discarded cigarette probably did cause the flames, the following items were also at fault for allowing the fire to spread as quickly as it did:
- The balconies' polycarbonate partitions, polyurethane deck tiles, and the plastic furniture were highly combustible and produced large quantities of very thick black smoke when burned.
- The glass in the doors between the staterooms and balconies was neither fire retardant, to meet with the requirements of an ‘A’ class division, nor self-closing.
- The balconies crossed main zone fire boundaries, both horizontally and vertically, and were without structural or thermal barriers at the zone or deck boundaries.
- No fire detection or fire suppression systems were fitted on the balconies.
Passengers were evacuated to hotels in Jamaica and subsequently were flown home. The ship was en route from Grand Cayman to Montego Bay, Jamaica, after departing Fort Lauderdale, Florida on 19 March 2006. With 79 cabins destroyed and a further 204 damaged, the ship was moved to the Bahamas where she was prepared for a transatlantic crossing to Bremerhaven, Germany for repairs. Her remaining Caribbean cruises and a transatlantic cruise were cancelled, with the anticipation that she would begin her summer season in the Baltic mid-May.
The ship was repaired at the Lloyd Werft in Bremerhaven, set sail again on 13 May 2006, and resumed its regular service on 15 May from Copenhagen. Passengers reported that the only noticeable differences were a strong smell of new carpeting, the addition of sprinklers to all balconies and the replacement of plastic furniture with non-combustible alternatives.
2012 fishing boat incident
On March 10, 2012, en route in the Pacific off South America, three passengers from Star Princess noted a small boat drifting with waving seamen, apparently in distress. They notified the crew. Star Princess, however, continued her course, and did not stop to investigate. Weeks later a boat was recovered with one survivor near the Galápagos Islands; it had originated in Panama, drifted away, and during its 28-day journey two of its three seamen had died. A preliminary investigation by the cruise line indicated that there had been a breakdown in communication and the captain had not been notified of the sighting. However, other reports say the ship's owners subsequently confirmed to one of the passengers who had spotted the boat that a crew member did in fact convey the passengers' concerns to the bridge, and "they did check the ship's log for that time on 10 March 2012, and there was the entry about how the ship had deviated to the West to avoid the fishing nets, how they were supposedly "in contact" with the fishermen, and how they had supposedly "signaled their thanks" for having avoided the nets."
Ports of call
Star Princess is currently sailing year-round from San Francisco. Until Spring 2014, she sailed from Los Angeles to Hawaii, Tahiti & Samoa in the winter and from Seattle to Alaska during the summer. She currently sails eleven-day Alaska cruises from San Francisco (replacing Grand Princess, which relocated to Seattle). After its summer Alaska season, Star Princess is scheduled to remain based in San Francisco, operating cruises to Mexico and Hawaii.
The Star Princess, 2013 in Seattle
Star Princess at Bremerhaven, showing the portside with scaffolding
Star Princess near Split, Croatia; July, 3rd, 2011.
Star Princess behind Sustipan
Star Princess in Greece
Star Princess in Le Havre
Star Princess moored at Ketchikan, Alaska
- "Advanced Masterdata for the Vessel Star Princess". VesselTracker. 2011. Retrieved 24 January 2010.
- Shelby Zarotney (23 March 2006). "Locals Aboard Cruise Ship That Catches Fire". WTOV-News9. Retrieved 25 January 2011.
- "Survivor Recalls Cruise Ship Fire". Good Morning America (ABC News). March 24, 2006. Retrieved 25 January 2011.
- "Star Princess Leaves Repair Yard to Resume Cruises on May 15th". Cruise Ship Report. May 2006. Retrieved 1 January 2011.
- "Star Princess Back and Like Always -- But Better". Cruise Critic. May 18, 2006. Retrieved 25 January 2011.
- Greg Allen (April 19, 2012). "Cruise Ship Didn't Aid Drifting Boat, Passengers Say". NPR. Retrieved April 20, 2012.
- Hannah Samson (April 19, 2012). "Star Princess captain never got report of distressed boaters, cruise line says". The Miami Herald. Retrieved April 20, 2012.
- Don Winner (April 16, 2012). "Captain Edward Perrin - In Command Of Cruise Ship That Failed To Rescue Panamanian Castaways". Panama-guide.com. Retrieved April 29, 2012.
- Gwyn Topham (April 17, 2012). "Cruise company investigates claim that ship ignored stricken fishing boat". The Guardian. Retrieved April 29, 2012.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Star Princess.|
- MAIB Report on the investigation of the fire
- Princess Cruises: Star Princess
- Miramar Ship Index - Star Princess