Princess Cruises reveals first details of future Royal class ships

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Princess Cruises has revealed further details of its next three Royal class ships, which are set to be built by 2022.

Tony Roberts, the line’s vice-president, UK & Ireland, announced the fourth Royal class ship will make four weeks of sailings in the Mediterranean from October 2019.

Speaking at a media and trade event, he added that it was a “great opportunity to get on to the newest ship” when itineraries go on sale in a “few weeks’ time”.

The ship’s name will be announced later this week.

Roberts also chose not to reveal the name of the fifth ship in the class, launching in summer 2020.

However, he did hint that the vessel would operate not far from the Italian shipyard where it was built.

“I am not going to place any bets on where she is but she has been built in Italy so there is a pretty good chance that she will be around [in Europe] for part of summer 2020,” Roberts added.

Princess will also launch another Royal class ship in 2022.

He added: “It is really exciting that Princess continues to grow and that favourite class of ship continues to be built.”

Roberts told the audience that TV presenter Jane McDonald had recently filmed on one of Princess’ ships as part of her cruising programme.

“We started to get very excited about it when we had [Channel 5] on,” he said. “I cannot tell you what the ship was but [McDonald] had a great time on board.”

Earlier, Princess Cruises announced 2019 would be its longest ever season sailing out of the UK.

More than one million cruise nights will be available from Southampton and Dover.

The 2,670-guest Sapphire Princess will spend 198 days sailing from her home port of Southampton – the longest recorded time for a UK-based Princess ship.

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Carnival Corp. to proceed cautiously with Ocean Medallion

Arnold Donald, left, with Travel Weekly’s Arnie Weissmann at CruiseWorld. Photo Credit: Creative FocusFORT LAUDERDALE — Carnival Corp. is taking a slow approach to introducing Ocean Medallion technology, making sure it works right and is delivering the services that customers really want, CEO Arnold Donald said Friday at Travel Weekly’s CruiseWorld.

Speaking to travel agents at the conference, Donald said the technology is so transformational that Carnival Corp. doesn’t want to create a future shock for past passengers.

The Ocean Medallion is a wearable disc that can be worn as a pendant, wristband or clip. Besides functioning as a stateroom key and streamlining the boarding process, the device is billed as a “personal concierge.” When used in tandem with the Ocean Compass app, the Ocean Medallion will enable passengers to make dinner reservations, order drinks to be delivered where they are located, receive excursion invitations based on interests, and play casino games anywhere on the ship.

“We’ve got to be really intelligent about how we introduce this because it’s different,” Donald said.

Carnival Corp. did a multimillion-dollar upgrade of the Regal Princess’ terminal at Port Everglades to create a new embarkation experience. “When guests walk through that terminal, it doesn’t feel like what they’re used to, so we want to manage all the unintended reactions,” Donald said.The first ship to have the Ocean Medallion, Princess Cruises’ Regal Princess, was to offer it on the entire 3,560-passenger ship starting Nov. 13, but the rollout has been scaled back to select guests and groups.

The MedallionNet rapid Internet service, which is in use on the whole ship, is drawing rave reviews, Donald said.

Carnival Corp. is targeting the 2018 first quarter for a wider introduction of the Ocean Medallion. “The guests will decide what they want, how they want it when they want it. That’s why we’re introducing it slowly to make sure we get it right because it’s truly transformational,” Donald said.

Carnival is also moving deliberately on developing a new $200 million beach destination in Grand Bahama. Donald said Carnival signed a deal to build the destination just before a change in government in the Bahamas.

“We’re working closely with the new government to make sure we’ve got the right location, the right development concepts and that it will work for the locals,” Donald said. “It’s not just a matter of building a destination, but building a destination that’s woven through the local community. We hope to have that destination completed in the next few years, but it is a process.”

Donald was also asked why Carnival sells through warehouse club Costco, which uses gift cards convertible to cash as a rebate when club members buy cruises

“I don’t have an easy answer for any of these big-scale folks that go low-cost,” Donald responded. “You have to match up your business where it really will compete effectively.”

He said agents that provide personal service and client understanding will not suffer from bottom-feeder competition, but he said Carnival will look at the issue. “We would prefer to see strong pricing,” he said. “There’s no big reason to be discounting today.”

Princess Cruises reveals next three ships to get Ocean Medallion

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The next three Princess Cruises ships to feature wearable Ocean Medallion technology for passengers have been revealed.

Golden Princess (November 2018), Crown Princess (November 2018) and Ruby Princess (January 2019) join four other Princess ships scheduled to use the system.

Regal Princess will be the first from November 13, followed by Royal Princess on January 19, 2018, Caribbean Princess on March 18, 2018 and Island Princess on May 16, 2018.

Golden Princess returns to Melbourne from October 2018 to April 2019 with departures to South Pacific, Tasmania, South Australia and New Zealand.

Crown Princess will feature Ocean Medallion for the autumn 2018 Caribbean season. With this news, all Princess Cruises Caribbean cruisers will experience Ocean Medallion.

Ruby Princess will be sailing from Los Angeles for a season of West Coast cruising in early 2019.

Jan Swartz, group president of Princess Cruises and Carnival Australia, said: “With the addition of Golden Princess to the fleet of Medallion Class ships, we will make available a more personalised holiday to guests sailing in and around Australia.

“And, as we continue to enhance our ships with the Ocean Medallion, we do so to further our commitment in providing our guests the most memorable and relaxing holiday.”

Ocean Medallion goes beyond the growing number of wearables used by theme parks and other holiday companies by leaving behind the required action of ‘tap’ and “ushering in a new paradigm for guest interactions,” Carnival Corporation claims.