When Golden Princess began the most extensive makeover ever undertaken by the company nearly two weeks ago, Princess Cruises invited cruise fans to follow the progress through a daily photo journal of the ship's transformation. A first for Princess, the journal chronicles the dramatic changes throughout the ship during its nearly 3-week drydock at Victoria Shipyards in British Columbia. While Golden Princess has already been re-floated, the photo journal is a fascinating behind-the-scenes look at the drydock process. At www.princess.com/goldendrydock, the journal will run through tomorrow, May 5th, when the ship sets sail again with its new features, including a new piazza-style atrium, an adults-only Sanctuary, a Movies Under the Stars poolside movie screen (pictured above), a new Crown Grill steak and seafood restaurant, and a variety of other enhancements.
"We know there's a great deal of interest in a ship transformation such as this, so we're inviting cruise enthusiasts to get a unique glimpse of the ship's progress through this drydock," said Jan Swartz, Princess Cruises executive vice president. "None of our other vessels have ever had this many new features added in a single drydock, so our online journal will offer a fascinating behind-the-scenes look at the amount of work required for such a huge undertaking."
The amenities being added during the drydock are the Princess signature features already aboard the line's newest ships, Crown Princess, Emerald Princess, and Ruby Princess. Many have also been introduced aboard on Caribbean Princess, Star Princess, and Grand Princess during earlier drydock periods.
When Golden Princess emerges from drydock, its atrium will feature a new Piazza with an inviting street cafe atmosphere featuring roving entertainers and two new dining options. The International Cafe will serve up specialty coffees, fresh baked cookies, pastries, panini sandwiches, and tapas. Vines, a wine bar, will offer a selection of more than 30 wines by the glass, plus a selection of seafood, artisan meats and cheeses, and a wine shop where passengers can purchase their favorite bottle. A new restaurant, the Crown Grill, will offer an open kitchen where passengers can enjoy watching as chefs prepare chops, steaks, and seafood, including live lobsters. Adult passengers looking to get away from it all will be able to relax in the tranquility of The Sanctuary, Princess' signature retreat featuring plush padded lounge chairs and the services of dedicated Serenity Stewards. For a nominal fee, visitors to this exclusive space can enjoy refreshing beverages and light snacks, or receive a massage in one of two private cabanas.
Above one of the ship's pools, Movies Under the Stars will debut onboard with a state-of-the-art Times Square-style LED screen, offering evening movies and a variety of daytime programming. The 300-square foot screen offers passengers a movie experience comparable to the best shoreside movie theater. In addition to family cinema and first run hits, Movies Under the Stars also features major sporting events, concerts, and other can't-miss programming, with up to 50 different offerings per week.
As part of the renovation, Golden Princess is also being fitted with seven new window suites with ocean-view picture windows, and a relocated casino on deck 7, bringing it into the ship's central entertainment area. In addition, 10 new balcony suites and two ocean view cabins will be added in the aft of the ship, replacing the former video arcade. Other changes include new locations for the sports court, a new Limelight boutique, new shore excursions and Captain's Circle desks, new Internet cafe and library, and the addition of new gym equipment in the fitness center.
Throughout the drydock, Twitter users have received a daily "tweet" about the latest Golden Princess construction progress after signing up to use the site and electing to follow Princess at twitter.com/PrincessCruises. Day-by-day images from the photo journal can be viewed at Flickr: www.flickr.com/photos/princesscruises.