Coral Princess Delayed Again

Princess' newest ship canceled debut cruise for second time

By: TravelAge West Staff

The Coral Princess, P&O Princess’s newest ship, has canceled its debut cruise for a second time, again citing delays at the French shipyard. The inaugural Panama Canal cruise now is scheduled to depart Jan. 3.

The first cancellation, announced Nov. 14, had delayed the launch from Dec. 14 to Dec. 24.

“We deeply regret having to cancel this departure,” said Phil Kleweno, Princess’s president.

“The shipbuilder, Chantiers de l’Atlantique, is working hard to deliver the ship as quickly as possible, however the ship requires additional work which will preclude the operation of the Dec. 24 sailing, he said.”

The builder, based in western France, has said it had problems obtaining necessary equipment.

Princess, based in London, said its contract with Chantiers de l’Atlantique will cover cancellation costs so the cruise line’s earnings will not be affected.

Similar contractual protections helped the cruise line in October when a fire at a Japanese shipyard caused severe damage to the Diamond Princess, a ship that has since been renamed.

The almost 2,000 passengers booked on the Dec. 24 sailing of the Coral Princess will receive a full refund and credit toward a future cruise, the cruise line announced last week.

It also promised to protect travel agent commissions on paid bookings.

The 88,000-ton Coral Princess, which will carry 1,970 passengers, will be the first in a new series of ships for Princess.

It is scheduled to be christened Jan. 17 by President Mireya Moscoso of Panama.