Princess Cruises was still taking bookings on the Diamond Princess
last week despite a two-day fire that inflicted significant damage
on the vessel as it was being completed at a Japanese shipyard.
The cause of the fire had not been determined as of press time.
The 113,000-ton, 3,100-passenger vessel was scheduled to enter
service on June 19 in Alaska.
The Diamond Princess is the first of two ships ordered by
Princess parent P&O Princess Cruises from the Mitsubishi Heavy
Industries shipyard in Nagasaki, Japan.
“The extent of the damage is not as yet known, but appears to be
significant,” according to a statement from P&O headquarters in
London. “It will take some time to assess the extent of the damage
and any consequent delay to the scheduled delivery.”
A Mitsubishi spokesman told Reuters that it was unclear whether
the ship could be salvaged.
“Until a full assessment can be made of the damage, we’re not
making a decision on how it will impact the ship’s first season in
Alaska,” Princess spokeswoman Julie Benson said. “If we need to, we
can very easily move Diamond passengers to our new Star Princess,
which will operate the exact same itinerary only a day later. And
we do have space on the Star Princess.”
The Diamond and Star ships are scheduled to operate Inside
Passage cruises roundtrip from Seattle next summer.
P&O Princess said it has contracts with the shipyard and
insurance policies to shield the company from major losses in the
event of extensive damage or a delay in delivery. Mitsubishi also
The Diamond Princess, with construction costs estimated at $450
million, was designed as the largest ship in the Princess
The second ship under construction at Mitsubishi, the Sapphire
Princess, is scheduled to enter service in May 2004.