New Princess Cruises Ship Cancels Call Due to Tendering Operations

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Being one of the first to sail on a new cruise ship can be both a blessing and a curse. While you get to be among the first to experience all that the new vessel has to offer, the ship might not be completely operational just yet. 

This is something guests onboard Sun Princess are learning the hard way after an itinerary change was made due to the ship not being fully ready. 

Sun Princess Switches Out Cruise Port During Second Voyage

Even after two maiden voyages were cancelled to allow more time to complete work on Sun Princess, the newest ship from Princess Cruises is still working out the kinks. 

As passengers boarded the 4,300-passenger vessel for its second official voyage on Saturday, March 9, 2024, they were informed of an unexpected itinerary change. A letter from the cruise line explained that the ship would no longer be making its maiden call to Santorini (Greece) on March 16 as planned. 

The port of Santorini requires cruise ships to use tenders, or smaller ships like lifeboats, to ferry guests to and from the shore. But due to unspecified technical delays, Sun Princess isn’t yet able to offer tendering at the Greek port. 

“Due to technical delays, we are still working to finalize shoreside tendering operations involving embarkation and debarkation on the ship. Until that is completed, we regrettably will not be able to call to Santorini, including the visit scheduled for Saturday, March 16,” read a letter from Craig Street, the ship’s captain. 

“We understand the allure of Santorini and apologize for the inconvenience and disappointment this change may cause,” Street continued. 

Instead of Santorini, the first of Princess’s Sphere-class ships will call on Chania, Greece, instead, which is located on the island of Crete. The ship is scheduled to arrive at 7 a.m. local time and guests will have until 4:30 p.m. to explore the port. 

“Chania offers a wealth of cultural treasures, stunning landscapes, and warm hospitality that we’re sure will make for an unforgettable experience,” Street wrote. 

Although the fine print of cruise contracts always states that cruise lines have the right to change itineraries without notice, the Carnival-owned cruise line is giving passengers a $50 onboard credit to use on the ship as a “gesture of goodwill.”

Sun Princess Cruise Ship
Sun Princess Cruise Ship (Photo Credit: Vintagepix)

Additionally, any Santorini shore excursions booked through Princess Cruises will be automatically cancelled and refunded to guests’ onboard accounts, with no action necessary from passengers.

Guests will also be alerted as soon as new excursions for Chania become available to book through the Shore Excursions Desk and the Princess Cruises app. 

So far, the rest of Sun Princess’s second official sailing, which embarked from Barcelona, Spain on March 9, has not been changed.

In addition to Chania, the 10-night Mediterranean sailing is also scheduled to call on Palma De Mallorca, Spain; Messina, Sicily; Piraeus (Athens), Greece; Kusadasi (Ephesus), Turkey; and Naples, Italy, before ending in Civitavecchia (Rome), Italy on March 19.

Sun Princess’s Inaugural Sailings Delayed; Ship Still Being Finished

Sun Princess has only been in service for about two weeks, with her maiden voyage embarking from Rome on February 28, 2024. However, her career at sea has been anything but smooth sailing thus far. 

First, the mega ship’s maiden voyage had to be cancelled not once, but twice, due to delays in the ship’s completion. In late January, cruisers were informed that Sun Princess’s original maiden voyage, scheduled to depart from Barcelona on February 8, was cancelled due to unspecified delays. 

The inaugural sailing was rescheduled to February 18, but this voyage was also cancelled four days before it was supposed to embark. The cruise line cited “technical work” as the reason behind the delays, but did not detail what still had to be done.

Sun Princess Cruise Ship
Sun Princess Cruise Ship

Even now, with Sun Princess beginning its second voyage, members of the 1,600-person crew are still working out the kinks and finishing off the final details onboard the 175,500-gross ton ship.

There have been complaints from guests of the inaugural sailings who were disappointed to find that some of the ship’s new venues and services weren’t available or fully operational just yet. 

Read Also: Two Sphere Class Princess Cruise Ships to Sail Mediterranean in 2025

All that said, it’s not all that unusual for inaugural sailings to be a bit bumpy, or for cruise ships to be delayed when construction takes longer than expected.

While being one of the first to sail on a new cruise ship can be exciting, there is always a risk that the ship might not be at its peak performance just yet. The experience onboard Sun Princess will likely improve as the young ship settles into its Mediterranean season.

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