Princess to Activate Three Additional MedallionClass Ships

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Princess Cruises announced today the expansion of its Princess MedallionClass to three additional ships – Royal Princess, Crown Princess and Sky Princess – joining the Caribbean Princess and the Regal Princess starting February 17, 2019.

The OceanMedallion is a wearable device that elevates the guest experience by delivering an enhanced level of personalization and innovative services resulting in high guest satisfaction scores, according to the cruise line.

The Princess MedallionClass experience coming to Crown Princess in July and Sky Princess in October.

The addition of Royal Princess will also be the first time a Princess MedallionClass ship will be sailing in Alaska.

“Guests are finding their vacations enhanced with Princess MedallionClass on Caribbean Princess as a new and memorable experience, and we’re ready to offer these experiences and personalized services to even more of our guests, including everyone who sails with us in the Caribbean in the fall and winter,” said Jan Swartz, president of Princess Cruises. “Starting in April, we will continue the expansion to a total of five Princess MedallionClass ships expected this year, as we continue on our path to fleet-wide activation. And we look forward to bringing the experience to new groups for the first time, such as those sailing to visit exciting destinations in Alaska and Mexico.”

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Princess Cruises unveils biggest ever ex-UK and Europe deployment

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Princess Cruises is to operate its biggest season ever sailing out of the UK and Europe for 2020 – and will name new ship Enchanted Princess in Southampton.

Ex-UK capacity for 2020 will be 30% more than in 2019, with three ships sailing a full season out of Southampton for the first time. It amounts to 1.4 million cruise nights on board.

The 3,080-passenger Crown Princess will sail for more than 150 days out of Southampton between May and November to the Mediterranean, Canary Islands and northern Europe; 2,200-passenger Island Princess will spend June to October sailing from Southampton to northern Europe; and 3,560-passenger Regal Princess will sail out of the UK’s largest cruise port from May to September.

Princess’ European capacity will also increase in 2020 by 15% in 2019, the line revealed last night.

Sky Princess, which launches next year and will carry 3,660 passengers, will spend its first spring and summer season sailing Scandinavia and Russia roundtrip from Copenhagen.

The line’s newest ship Enchanted Princess will hold its naming ceremony in Southampton in late June 2020 and will be the first Princess Cruises vessel to be named in the UK since Royal Princess in 2013. It will sail out of the Mediterranean after its naming ceremony.

Wednesday night’s event was the launch of Princess Cruises’ 2020 programme, which also includes sailings across Asia, the Caribbean, Alaska and Canada & New England. The UK-based ships, Crown Princess and Island Princess, will go on sale 9am on Thursday, November 8, with the rest of Europe, Caribbean and Canada & New England sailings available for agents to sell from 5pm the same day. Alaska and Japan voyages are on sale from Thursday, November 15, at 5pm.

Tony Roberts, vice president Princess Cruises UK and Europe, said: “We have seen great demand for sailings from the UK and it continues to be really strong. We have great support from the trade.

Roberts told Travel Weekly that the ex-UK programme was “bread and butter” for UK agents and that a four-night sampler cruise to Rotterdam and the Channel Islands onboard Crown Princess could help them encourage new-to-cruise customers.

“Once they cruise they want to cruise again,” he said. “Asia has grown largely from people who love cruising and want to go to new destinations in different parts of the world.”

Roberts, who said the UK accounted for around 5%-10% of Princess Cruises’ market, also praised the “successful” introduction of the line’s wearable Ocean Medallion technology, which last month was worn by 100% of guests on board Caribbean Princess – the first time every passenger on a ship has been able to use the technology at once.

Roberts could not reveal dates of when other ships would follow suit but confirmed that the line’s plan is to make the technology available fleet-wide.

Zen Cruises to Start in India with Pacific Jewel

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Another new cruise line is entering the fold as Zen Cruises announced today it had purchased the 1990-built P&O Pacific Jewel and intends to start service in 2019 out of India.

The cruise brand is owned by Essel Group, which describes itself as a “multi-faceted business conglomerate, with a legacy of over 90 years.”

The company today announced the appointment of industry veteran Jurgen Bailom as President and CEO of the Group’s upcoming cruise line business, Zen Cruises Private Limited.

“Bailom will steer the company on a course to captivate Indian cruise passengers with an offering par excellence,” the company said.

The Pacific Jewel entered service in 1990 as the Crown Princess after being built by Fincantieri. It also served as the A’Rosa Blu, AIDAblu and Ocean Village Two before moving to P&O Australia as the Pacific Jewel in 2009. It will wrap up its service career with P&O in March.

Bailom was previously at the head of Grupo Vidanta Cruises prior to Essel Group. He has also held senior corporate director positions within several of Royal Caribbean’s brands.

“I’m thrilled to be a part of the Essel Group which has done pioneering work across sectors and consider it a great opportunity to be at the helm of India’s first cruise company. India has a 6,632 km long coastline along nine states and two union territories which presents the tremendous potential to promote and grow cruise tourism in India. We intend to take the cruise liner experience to a new level for people in India, and I look forward to unveiling our plans soon,” Bailom said.

No further information was released.