Princess adds two R ships
P&O Princess Cruises today announced the acquisition of the former Renaissance vessels, R3 and R4.
The 684 lower berth vessels, which originally entered service in 1999, will be acquired through a lease purchase structure at a total combined capital cost for the two ships of approximately $150 million.
Under the terms of the acquisition contracts, the two vessels are contracted to be deployed in the Pacific Ocean region for at least the first two years of their operation by P&O Princess.
R4, which will be renamed Tahitian Princess, is expected to continue to be deployed in French Polynesia for a further three years.
Tahitian Princess will sail year round in French Polynesia, as part of the Princess Cruises fleet, offering new itineraries to North American customers. Its homeport will be Papeete, Tahiti.
R3 will be renamed Pacific Princess and will operate on a split deployment divided between Princess Cruises and P&O Cruises in Australia. For six months of the year as part of the Princess fleet, it will offer itineraries throughout the Pacific region and French Polynesia. For the other half of the year the ship's homeport will be Sydney and it will offer premium cruises to Australians under the P&O Cruises Australia brand to French New Caledonia and elsewhere in the South Pacific.
With the addition of the Pacific Princess to the contemporary product delivered by the Pacific Sky, P&O Cruises in Australia will increase its capacity by 30% and provide products designed to appeal to the full range of Australian consumer tastes.
Peter Ratcliffe, Chief Executive of P&O Princess Cruises commented:
"Our strong global reach and our increasingly modern fleet gives us the flexibility to deploy our ships strategically. Operating one ship for half the year under our Princess brand and for the other half of the year under our P&O Cruises Australia brand enables us to operate in the peak summer period year round, selling across the northern and the southern hemispheres."
We are delighted to have the opportunity to acquire these ships and look forward to expanding the tourism market in French Polynesia and in the other developing countries in the Pacific region."