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.