Golden Princess (II)
In april 2001, a few years after the introduction of Grand Princess, Golden Princess came into service with some short cruises out of Southampton. This new princess was also slightly bigger then her older sister, although you can't see this in any way. She measures some 108.865 tons, has a lenght of 289,51 meters, a width of 36 meters and her draft is 8 meters. She has room for 3100 passengers in total, measured at 2592 persons on a two-per-cabin basis. They are cared for by 1100 crewmembers on the ships' 17 decks, of which 12 are available to the passengers. In contradiction to the first ship of the class, Grand Princess, the ship was registered directly at Hamilton, the Bahamas instead of in Liberia.
Golden Princess, the second time the name was used with Princess Cruises (the first one was a short charter of one of the original Royal Viking Line ships), floated out of her building dock in Monfalcone, Italy where she had been built under yardnumber 5956.
On the 28th of april 2001, the ship was stationed at Southampton from where she undertook several short 'shakedown' cruises. Her first long cruise started from Southampton to the Mediterranean at the 16th of may of that same year. Normally, the ship sails Mediterranean cruises in summer and Caribbean cruises in winter.
The ship was officially named by actress Jane Seymour in Fort Lauderdale at the 21st of october 2001. Jane Seymour is known as the Bond-girl in the 007-movie 'Live And Let Die' (1973) and also from the American TV-series 'Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman (1993-1998).
A lot of people say these ships are not pretty in any way and somehow I agree. But we cannot forget the fact that these ships were the trendsetters for even bigger ships and the growth of the cruiseindustry in total. Also, they have some features that make them easily recognizable, like the overhanging Skywalkers Lounge at the stern. This is a nightclub, actually, and it was designed to be a resemble the design of a Spanish galleon. The bad thing about this lounge is that is overshadowing the aft open deck space and viritually no sun can get there. What is surprising about these ships is that they are incredibly short for ships of this size. Because of this, they mostly grew in height and therefor we really can call them weddingcakes...
Golden Princess from a weird angle in Rotterdam, showing off her Princess Cruises flag.