Regal Princess (II)
Regal Princess is seen leaving Rotterdam at the 27th of april in 2018.
In may of 2010, Carnival Corporation announced the order for two large cruiseships for its Princess Cruises brand. The ships would measure some 141.000-tons, making them the largest cruiseships ever ordered for the line. It also was the first time since 1996 that a totally new design would be used, so these ships were not going to be another version of the popular Grand-class design. The largest ships in the fleet in 2010 were the Diamond Princess and Sapphire Princess of 116.000-tons, so it was a great leap forward in size. In june of 2013, the first of the two megaships entered service under the name of Royal Princess, the thirth time this name was used in the history of the company. The sistership recieved another name formerly used within the fleet, as she became the second Regal Princess. During the construction of the first ships, more sisters were announced for Princess Cruises and P&O. Majestic Princess entered service in 2017, Sky Princess in 2019 and two more ships will enter servce in 2020 (Enchanted Princess) and 2022 (Discovery Princess). For P&O, sistership Britannia came in 2015 and with another new class ordered afterwards, the number of ships in the now called 'Royal'-class will probably stay at seven.
Construction and general statistics
At the 28th of august of 2012, the keel for the second Royal-class ship Regal Princess was laid at the Fincantieri Yards at Monfalcone, Italy. The first Regal Princess had been sailing for Princess Cruises between 1991 and 2007 as one of the ships that came over to the company after the take-over of Sitmar Cruises. It is nice to see that Princess Cruises remains one of the few companies that revives older names from the fleet in respect for their own traditions.
Construction on the new Regal Princess went smoothly and the ship was leaving her buildingdock at the 26th of march of 2013 when she was overhauled to the outfittingpier. The float-out ceremony was performed by the ships first 'madrina' Carolyn Spencer Brown, chief-editor of cruisecritic.com. The trials were sailed in the Adriatic Sea 16th and 21st of april in 2014 and those went good enough so she could be delivered to her owners after these were completed at the following 11th of may.
With a tonnage measurement of 142.714, the ship became the largest ship in the fleet of Princess Cruises, together with her earlier sister. She measures 330 meters in lenght, is 38,27 meters wide and reaches 8,57 meters in depth. Her height is 66 meters from keel to funnel. The ship has a capacity for 3560 passengers on a two-per-cabin basis and the number of 4380 is stated as the maximum. At her 19 decks, also 1346 crewmembers can be found doing their day to day business. The ships Wärstsilä-designed diesel engines make it possible to sail at a speed of 23 knots. Next to this, the ships side-thrusters are powerfull enough to push the ship from the quay faster then the earliest ships within the Princess fleet moved forward. After delivery, the ship was registered in Bermuda, with her hometown being Hamilton.
On the outside, the ship is a massive-looking marvell, with lines of balcony cabins in het superstructure, to a total of 1400. The hull of the ship is hydrodynamicly optimalized, with a huge bulbous bow and ducktailed stern, providing a very good waterflow around the ship so fuel can be saved. The ships funnel is of the same design as the funnel aboard Oasis Of The Seas and her sisters and the design of the stern resembles the Celebrity Solstice class of ships.
The most obvious gimmick aboard the ships of the Royal-class is of course the Sea Walk, extending eight meters outside of the ships hull, some 40 meters above sealevel providing an experience not for the faint-hearted due to its glass floortiles. The main hub aboard is the atrium, double the size of any other atrium aboard a cruiseship. Here, also smaller shows can be performed like hula-hoop demonstrations, acrobatics, cooking demonstrations and wine-and chocolate tastings. Another main entertainment venue is off course the two-deck Princess Theater for the large Broadway-style performances.
Of course also Princess Cruises had to enter the battle of having the most beautifull hull-art on their ships, so the fleet recieved the Princess in large scale at the bow in recent years.
Movies Under The Stars of course also returns aboard the ship, with the largest screen aboard any of the Princess ships at the main pooldeck. This pool also changes at night, becoming a colourfull fountain-show.
For eating opportunities, the large Horizon Court is there as a casual alternative to the three main restaurants, the signature Pizza restaurants are there, a gelato-bar and a barbeque grill. The signature Italian-style Sabatini's is also aboard and at the International Cafe, there are sugar-spun sculptures of for example edible flowers and baskets, created by Indian-born confectioner Naresh Kumar. Furthermore, there are ten lounges and bars for a cool drink or relaxation, including of course the bar opposite of the Sea Walk, providing breathtaking ocean views.
The extensive Lotus Spa is there, and the adults only Sanctuary haven and Retreat Pool provide some rustique alternatives to the main poolarea.
What is different between the Royal Princess and Regal Princess, is that Princess Cruises added a promenade deck and an aft pool to the Regal Princess as passengers complaint about the lack of those on the earlier sistership. Soon after Regal's introduction, also Royal Princess was updated with at least the aft pool.
At the 16th of may 2014, the Regal Princess set sail from Triest in Italy to Kotor in Montenegro for a four-day pre-inaugural cruise, before she headed for Venice where her true Maiden Voyage started, departing at the 20th of may for a Transatlantic cruise to Fort Lauderdale in Florida. Here, the ship was named by the six main characters from the original The Love Boat-series, Gavin MacLeod (captain Stubing), Fred Grandy (chief purser Gopher), Ted Lange (bartender Isaac), Bernie Kopell (ships' doctor Doc Bricker), Lauren Tewes (cruise-director Julie) and Jill Whelan (Vicky Stubing). Together, they pulled a lever sending 50 bottles of champagne towards the bow of the ship. This, as the company celebrated its fiftieth year of operations. To top it off, a 15 liter nebuchadnezzar-size bottle finished this champagne-shower for the new ship. Of course, the ships horn then started playing the tune of the series. It was not the first time the cast of the series named a ship for Princess Cruises, they are also the Godparents to the Dawn Princess from 1997.
Afterwards, Regal Princess settled in for her first Caribbean season, taking her to the likes of Princess Quays, St. Thomas and Saint Martin. During her first three day shake-down cruise, also the cast of The Love Boat sailed along and Gavin MacLeod, in his role of Captain Stubing, even performed a marriage between two cruise-journalists under the watchfull eye of the ships true captain, Edward Perrin. Of course, this is only possible as the ship sails under the Bermuda-flag, allowing marriages at sea.
Next to her Caribbean sailings, the ship is also sailing European cruises in summer.
On march 9th in 2020, Regal Princess docked in Port Everglades, Florida after two members of its crew were tested negative for COVID-19. The ship had been delayed for hours as she was unable to dock in the port while the tests were conducted. This disease originated from China but engulfed the whole world during the spring of 2020. The two crewmembers had earlier worked aboard Grand Princess, a ship on which 21 persons were tested positively for the same virus.
Many cruiseships were affected by this new pandemic and during march and april this caused the whole cruise industry to grind to a halt, bringing every single cruiseship in port and no sailings worldwide were to start for an unknown period. Also Regal Princess did not start any new cruises, but instead she was used to bring back crewmembers of the Holland America Group to Europe as all were now also out of work. The ship left Port Everglades with only crew for Southampton and Rotterdam on april 20th, arriving in Southampton first on may 5th. Here, British crewmembers were disembarked before the ship set sail for Rotterdam, arriving there one day later. On may 8th, the ship then was moored in the far corner of the port, awaiting a very uncertain future.
A very grim and sad incident took place on may the 10th, when a 39-year old female Ukrainian crewmember jumped overboard, commiting suicide by drowning herself. She couldn't handle the uncertaincy after the chartered flight home she was about to take from Amsterdam was cancelled due to again COVID-19. Her body was found in the water at the same day.