Princess Cruises' Grand Princess is to lose the Skywalker Nightclub that hangs over the stern at 18th deck level, looking like a sort of spoiler. A new nightclub on deck 15 will replace Skywalkers and, says Princess, "this change will significantly improve the operational performance of the ship, including greater fuel efficiency."
The greater economy apparently is a matter of weight rather than aerodynamics. The Skywalkers "spoiler" on the 2,600 passenger Grand Princess, which entered service in 1998 was constructed with heavier materials than the Skywalkers on the Caribbean Princess, Golden Princess and Star Princess and removing them from those ships would not offer the same efficiency gains. The newest Princess cruise ships also have Skywalkers, but in a more forward location.
The change to Grand Princess is part of what is billed as "the most significant transformation ever of a Princess Cruises ship."
During a 24-day drydocking from April 11 to May 4 at the Grand Bahama Shipyard in Freeport, Bahamas. the ship, which was the prototype for the line's "Grand Class" vessels, will receive many features introduced since the ship's 1998 debut including the Princess signature Piazza atrium. Several new features will be also be added including a unique tea lounge and library called "Leaves," and "Alfredo's," a full-service pizzeria showcasing this renowned Princess dish.
"This is the largest makeover we've ever undertaken for any of our ships," said Jan Swartz, Princess Cruises executive vice president. "When Grand Princess was launched she was the most innovative ship at sea, and now we're adding some of the later innovations we introduced on subsequent ships."
Highlights of the Grand Princess makeover include:
New Piazza atrium – The atrium space of Grand Princess will be completely rebuilt to include this signature Princess feature -- described as "a multi-faceted social hub of the ship combining always-changing quick bites and light meals, beverages, entertainment, shopping and guest services. A new Vines wine bar will offer a selection of more than 30 wines by the glass, plus a selection of tapas and sushi, and a wine shop where passengers can purchase their favorite bottle.
Leaves Tea Lounge and Library – A fusion of tea lounge and library, the new Leaves offers a distinctive opportunity for passengers to custom-blend a variety of base teas with herbs, fruits and spices to create a personalized tea blend.
Alfredo's Pizzeria – Known for serving the best pizza at sea, Princess will introduce Alfredo's, a new sit-down pizzeria named for the line's master executive chef, Alfredo Marzi.
One5 Lounge – The new One5 lounge on deck 15 will replace Skywalkers as the location for nighttime dancing and relaxingand will offer a "cool vibe, contemporary seating and lighting, and a dramatic back-lit bar."
Crown Grill – A classic steakhouse with rich wood surroundings, this specialty restaurant features an open, theater-style kitchen where chefs custom-prepare premium aged beef and fresh seafood items, including live lobsters.
Also part of the renovation will be 10 new suites; remodeled casino, boutiques and art gallery; enhancements to the Horizon Court, Lotus Spa, and wedding chapel; and the addition of Crooner's Martini Lounge.
The newly renovated Grand Princess will debut on May 5 in Ft. Lauderdale where the ship will depart on a transatlantic crossing for her summer and fall homeport of Southampton, from which she will cruise a variety of European itineraries.
February 10, 2011