|Operator:||Princess Cruise Line|
|Port of registry:||Bermuda, Hamilton|
|Yard number:||Monfalcone, 6051|
|Launched:||10 May 2001|
|Completed:||25 January 2002|
|Class and 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 smokey 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 Fifty Cent
On March 10, 2012, en route in the Pacific off South America, three passengers from Star Princess spotted a small boat drifting with waving seamen, apparently in distress. They notified the crew. Star Princess, however, did not change course to investigate. On March 19, the Ecuadorean coast guard rescued the Panamanian fishing boat Fifty Cent with one survivor on board. Subsequent communication between the survivor, a reporter, and the Star Princess passengers led to allegations that the small boat sighted nine days prior was in fact the Fifty Cent, and that Star Princess had failed to stop and render aid.
Princess Cruises first indicated that there had been a breakdown in communication and the captain had not been notified of the sighting. A later report stated that a crew member did in fact convey the passengers' concerns to the bridge, and that the ship's log for that time on 10 March contained an entry recording that the ship had deviated to the west to avoid the fishing nets, and that the fishermen had "signaled their thanks" for avoiding their nets."
By June, two lawsuits had been filed against Princess Cruises on behalf of the fishermen of the Fifty Cent. In August, Princess Cruises responded with the claim that Star Princess and Fifty Cent were never within sight of one another and thus the accusations were the result of mistaken identity. As supporting evidence, the cruise line made public the results of a drift analysis and a photographic investigation they had commissioned.
In April 2013, the Royal Gazette reported that the Bermuda Department of Maritime Administration had closed their official inquiry into the incident. The Bermuda Police Service carried out the investigation. The Department of Public Prosecutions disclosed that the passengers who were material witnesses to the case made a statement that the boat they had seen from the Star Princess was not the same boat as the one recovered by Ecuadorean coast guard.
Ports of call
Star Princess is currently sails out of Los Angeles to Hawaii in the winter season and to Alaska from Vancouver and Whitter during the summer season. Until Spring 2014, she sailed from Los Angeles to Hawaii, Tahiti & Samoa in the winter and from Seattle to Alaska during the summer. From 2014 to 2015, she sailed eleven-day Alaska cruises from San Francisco (replacing Grand Princess, which relocated to Seattle for that summer) and to Mexico and Hawaii during the winter season.
Currently the Star Princess is sailing from Vancouver, BC, Canada to Alaska.
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.
- "Update: Second Suit Asserts Cruise Ship Didn't Aid Stranded Panamanian Fisherman". Cruise Critic. June 4, 2012. Retrieved November 29, 2015.
- Hannah Samson (April 19, 2012). "Star Princess captain never got report of distressed boaters, cruise line says". The Miami Herald. Retrieved April 20, 2012.
- Gwyn Topham (April 17, 2012). "Cruise company investigates claim that ship ignored stricken fishing boat". The Guardian. Retrieved April 29, 2012.
- "Princess Cruises: New Evidence in Claim It Did Not Ignore Distressed Fishermen". Cruise Critic. August 30, 2012. Retrieved November 29, 2015.
- "Case dismissed against Bermuda-registered ship". The Royal Gazette. April 17, 2013. Retrieved November 29, 2015.
- "Pacific Coastal Getaway". Princess.com. Retrieved 2016-02-18.
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