Guest onboard the Sapphire Princess viewed the annular solar eclipse that occurred early in the afternoon of Boxing Day along the Straits of Malacca.
More than 2,600 guests from around the world embarked Sapphire Princess in Singapore on Dec. 17 for an 11-day voyage around Southeast Asia visiting ports including Nha Trang and Ho Chi Minh City (Vietnam), Sihanoukville (Cambodia), Bangkok, Koh Samui and Port Klang before arriving in Singapore on Dec. 28.
Guests and crew were given solar filter glasses to safely view the phenomenon. Hundreds of guests gathered on the upper deck of the ship to witness the solar eclipse.
“Guests onboard were delighted to witness the once-in-a-lifetime ‘ring of fire’ solar eclipse onboard Sapphire Princess while celebrating Christmas and Boxing Day,“ said Farriek Tawfik, Director Southeast Asia, Princess Cruises.
The Sapphire Princess has embarked on her maiden Singapore to Southampton 38-night voyage following a two-week dry dock in Singapore.
This “Indian Ocean Grand Europe Adventure” voyage will visit 17 ports including Colombo, Cochin, Dubai, Petra, scenic cruising along the Suez Canal, Santorini, Monte Carlo, Florence, Malta, Gibraltar, Lisbon, Paris before arriving in Southampton.
Homeporting in Southampton for the first time, the Sapphire Princess also makes her maiden calls to the British Isles, Northern Europe and the Mediterranean and will sail three- to 14-night voyages to a total of 42 destinations in this region. The Sapphire Princess will also make Princess Cruises’ first port call to Skagen (Denmark).
Sapphire Princess will return to Singapore in November 2018 to continue her fifth Singapore homeporting season together with Diamond Princess.
The 2,560-guest Sapphire Princess now has a new livery on her bow that features the iconic Princess Cruises logo and has been outfitted with the Princess Luxury beds in all cabins, the company said.
Other upgrades during the drydock include the fitness centre, spa, and retail shops, among other areas.
The new Majestic Princess is poised to move into the Taiwanese market from April to July 2018, after which the 2017-built ship will head to Australia for winter 2018-2019.
According to sources with knowledge of the ship’s deployment, the Majestic will sail three- and four-night voyages from Keelung in all of April and May. A spokesperson for Princess Cruises told Cruise Industry News in a written statement that 2018 itineraries have yet to be confirmed.
Following her Taiwan-based short cruise program, the ship will offer longer cruises to Japan in May, June and July from Keelung. It is not known, however, if they will be mixed in with China-based sailings, or if Princess is continuing to cut capacity in China.
Announced in 2015, the Majestic Princess was built and developed for year-round China operations.
Earlier this year, Princess announced she would re-position seasonally to Australia for 2018-2019.
In addition, the Sapphire Princess, which has been dedicated to the Asia and China markets, will be re-deployed to Europe in 2018.