Princess Cruises continues on its carefully planned rollout of ships. Majestic Princess is operating in Alaska, and Regal Princess started operations in the UK earlier this summer. The time has come for Sky Princess to join the party on an itinerary around the UK offering Seacations, cruises tailored explicitly to fully vaccinated British guests.
Sky Princess departs the cruise capital of England, Southampton, today on her first cruise back in action. Princess Cruises have been hard at work on their road towards a successful start-up after the cruise line was a headline feature in the initial outbreaks of cases in February and March of last year. The cruise line is doing this through new technological innovations that set the line apart from the rest.
Slow and Steady Wins the Race
Princess Cruises has been steadily building up to a restart of its ships. The line now has three ships in operation, one in Alaska, Majestic Princess, and two in the UK, Regal Princess and Sky Princess. The gradual approach the line is taking means that fewer ships are operating than other cruise lines, with fewer passengers on board, but the reasoning is well thought out.
Tony Roberts, UK vice-president for Princess Cruises, said this to The Guardian:
“We’ve been building up the crew and they’ve been building up the new protocols; many of them have been onboard for a few months, coming from over 30 countries. We’re making sure the protocols are working so we’re not pushing the capacity – it’s important that we build up gradually.”
It means that Sky Princess will not be full when she sets sail from Southampton’s Ocean Terminal today. Regal Princess has been sailing with approximately 40% of its total capacity, and the expectation is about the same for Sky Princess.
The first cruise for the Medallion-class ship is a four-night cruise from Southampton, during which the ship will stay at sea. The vessel will also be offering three- and five-day cruises around the British Isles.
The ship also offers 6- and 7-day cruises from Southampton, including ports of call in the UK. The six-day voyage will include calls in Glasgow and Belfast, while the seven-day cruise will stop in Portland, Belfast, and Liverpool.
Technology Playing a Huge Role for Princess Cruises
New onboard technologies play a huge role for Princess Cruises. The cruise line has gone all-in with the newly rolled out Medallion Class. The technology includes a wearable and an app that guests can install on their device, which lets guests enjoy expedited embarkation, keyless entry, ordering food whenever and wherever, and payment in shops and the casino, amongst other things.
It also plays a significant role in the safety onboard. The medallion, which guests will receive before they board Sky Princess, will include a tracker which will inform them if specific areas are busy, such as restaurants and theatres. The wearable will also double up as an identification method onboard for the safety briefing and embarkation day lifeboat drill.
MedallionClass ships also offer connectivity that is supposed to be the best Wi-Fi at sea. With a wireless access point in every stateroom, guests can stream movies, shows, games, and music; connect to favorite social media sites; and video chat from anywhere with speeds that the cruise line says rivals broadband speed ashore. This is a vast improvement over the days when even receiving e-mail was a troublesome endeavor.
UK guests can experience everything Sky Princess has to offer until the end of September for UK-based cruises. The ship will commence international cruises from Southampton to Ireland and continental Europe from the start of October. Sky Princess will set sail towards the United States on November 5 with a 15-day Transatlantic voyage that includes several Caribbean ports.