There will be no more “shopping cart” jokes after the most significant transformation ever of a Princess Cruises ship occurs this spring aboard Grand Princess. The artist rendering here shows her new profile once the aft Skywalkers Nightclub (the “shopping cart” handle) is removed. During a 24-day makeover Grand Princess, which was the prototype for the line’s “Grand Class” vessels, will undergo a remarkable renovation to receive many of Princess’ trademark features introduced since the ship’s 1998 debut, including the 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.
A brand new nightclub called One5, inspired by its deck location, will be created on the top deck of the ship, replacing its iconic Skywalkers Nightclub, which has given the ship its distinctive profile. Skywalkers will be removed from its 18th deck perch, with its replacement located on deck 15. This change will significantly improve the operational performance of the ship, including greater fuel efficiency. As an added bonus, the removal of Skywalkers will allow more sunshine to reach the aft pool area.
“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.”
The changes will be made during a drydock from April 11 to May 4 at the Grand Bahama Shipyard in Freeport, Bahamas. Highlights of the dramatic makeover include:
• New Piazza atrium: The atrium space of Grand Princess will be completely rebuilt to include this signature Princess feature--a multi-faceted social hub of the ship combining always-changing quick bites and light meals, beverages, entertainment, shopping and guest services. The Piazza will feature the International Café for pastries, grilled panini sandwiches, salads, fresh-baked cookies and a variety of coffee drinks. Passenger will also enjoy a new Vines wine bar offering 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. Created in partnership with Mighty Leaf Tea Company, one of the world’s premier maker of artisan teas, Leaves will give passengers an impressive choice of up to 500 different tea blends to suit their palates. A trained tea sommelier will assist passengers in blending a personalized tea creation, which which they can enjoy in the midst of the library and a good book.
• Alfredo’s Pizzeria: Known for serving the best pizza at sea, Princess will introduce Alfredo’s, a new sit-down pizzeria with an enticing menu of freshly prepared individual-size pizzas. Named for the line’s master executive chef, Alfredo Marzi, the pizzeria will feature an open kitchen where passengers can watch chefs create the pizzas they’ll enjoy with a glass of wine or other beverage.
• One5 Lounge: The new One5 lounge will replace Skywalkers as the place to be for nighttime dancing and relaxing. The new lounge on deck 15 (hence its name) takes its inspiration from the chicest urban nightclubs, and 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. Additional information about Princess Cruises is available by visiting the company's website at Princess.com.
And what about the other Grand Class ships with the “shopping cart” handle? Lighter materials were used in the construction of Golden Princess, Star Princess, and Caribbean Princess and there are no plans on the drawing board to redesign them by removing Skywalkers at this time.