Princess Cruises will welcome the new ship Sun Princess to its fleet in early 2024, the cruise line announced Thursday.
The ship, the first of its new Sphere class, is Princess’ largest ship yet, accommodating over 4,000 guests, and marks both a new chapter for the line and a nod to its past.
“What we’re really about with Princess is pushing the future, pushing innovation, pushing things greater and greater for our guests, but simultaneously embracing our heritage,” Princess president John Padgett told USA TODAY in an interview.
That is evident as much in the familiar design aesthetic as in the ship’s name. Princess previously operated two other Sun Princess ships, selling the most recent one – which had been introduced in 1995 – in 2020.
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But the vessel also includes a number of innovations and new features from the line. Here’s what guests can expect.
The ship, which is currently being built at Italy’s Fincantieri shipyard, will spend its inaugural spring and summer season in the Mediterranean, according to a news release. In the fall of 2024, Sun Princess will sail Eastern and Western Caribbean trips from Port Everglades in Florida.
As many cruise ships get larger, Padgett said Princess occupies a singular space in the industry, thanks in part to how it personalizes the guest experience.
“…We’re uniquely positioned to have our cake and eat it, too,” he said, “have large ships, all the amenities that our guests desire, while also having that personalized service that is really historically unique to smaller ships and mid-size ships.”
The 21-deck ship will have 2,157 staterooms, 50 of which will be suites. There will also be 100 connecting rooms, and more balcony space than in previous Princess ships. The line will also launch the Signature Collection on Sun Princess, a new suite accommodation level with premium cabin amenities and access to its own restaurant, lounge, and more.
The Club Class will also become the Reserve Collection – mini-suite rooms in prime locations – a change that will roll out on all other Princess ships, though Padgett said the line does not have a specific timeline for that.
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And while the ship was crafted with the line’s heritage in mind, the vessel features some striking innovations, including The Dome, a glass-enclosed dome and covered, multi-level deck. Guests can swim in its indoor-outdoor pool during the day, and return for nighttime festivities when the pool turns into a stage. The space can also host aerial performances, per the release.
There are other entertainment spaces as well, including the line’s Piazza and the Princess Theater.
Dining and beverage options include new coffee shop Coffee Currents, Bellini’s Cocktail Bar, Alfredo’s Pizzeria and Crooners Bar.
Sun Princess was designed with accessibility in mind, which Padgett said will feature in “all the nuances of barriers and doors and thresholds and grades, and handles and placements,” though the line does not yet have a final number of accessible cabins on board.
The ship is also the first Princess vessel dual-fuel powered predominantly by cleaner-burning liquefied natural gas. Travelers can purchase tickets for the ship’s first three trips beginning Sept. 16 at 3 p.m. Eastern time, and a special booking window for Princess Elite members runs from Sept. 15 at 5:30 p.m. through Sept. 16 at 3 p.m. Eastern.
Prices for a February 2024 round-trip sailing from Rome start at $1,999 for an interior room based on double occupancy with the Princess Standard package. That includes “accommodations, dining, and entertainment,” according to the line’s website.
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