Princess Pulls Grand from Med

Ship to remain in Caribbean; new ship to be based in Fort Lauderdale year-round

By: Theresa Norton Masek

Princess Cruises has reduced its capacity in the Mediterranean this summer and increased its presence in the Caribbean both this summer and next.

The Los Angeles-based line is pulling the Grand Princess from the Med and basing it in the Caribbean this summer.

In addition, the 116,000-ton ship scheduled for an April 2004 delivery formerly called Crown Princess has been renamed Caribbean Princess and will remain in that destination year-round.

“While consumer demand is adequate for one ship in the Mediterranean, we see stronger demand for closer-to-home cruises,” said Dean Brown, executive vice president of customer service and sales at Princess.

“Keeping the Grand Princess in the Caribbean for the summer supports the booking trends we’re seeing at this time.”

The redeployment of the Grand Princess cancels two trans-Atlantic and 11 12-day Med cruises that had been scheduled between May 4 and Sept. 23. Affected passengers are being automatically rebooked onto the Grand’s sister ship, the Golden Princess.

“Because the two ships are identical and sailing on identical 12-day itineraries, we hope to minimize any impact on our passengers’ vacation plans,” Brown said.

The Grand’s Caribbean season will begin May 4. The ship will alternate weekly eastern and western Caribbean cruises until the fall, when it will continue its exclusive Western itineraries. Rates for the Grand Princess’ 2003 summer cruises begin at $499 per person, double.

In 2004, the new Caribbean Princess will be joined by the Golden Princess in what the line is calling its first two-ship summer in the region.

The Caribbean Princess will alternate eastern and western itineraries from Fort Lauderdale while the Golden Princess will alternate two southern Caribbean routes from San Juan.

Reservation lines for summer 2004 will open March 3. Rates begin at $699 while fares for balcony cabins start at $1,099.