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Monday,  April 15, 2024 8:40 AM 

After delays, Sun Princess debuts on maiden voyage to the Mediterranean

  • Cruises
  •   02-29-2024  12:30 pm
  •   Pax Global Media

After delays, Sun Princess debuts on maiden voyage to the Mediterranean
The central Piazza on Sun Princess. (Princess Cruises)
Pax Global Media

After a three-week delay, the sun is finally shining at Princess Cruises as the line on Wednesday (Feb. 28) debuted its first Sphere Class vessel, Sun Princess.

Setting sail on its maiden voyage, the new 177,882-ton, 4,300-guest Sun Princess is “the most impressive, luxurious and stunning Love Boat ever created,” the company said in a press release.

Sun Princess is Princess' largest ship, and is packed with new features, including multi-story dining rooms, a dedicated suite category with its own restaurant and lounge, a panoramic Piazza atrium space, and a glass-enclosed geodesic dome, which covers an indoor-outdoor space that is also part pool deck, part entertainment venue.

The new Sun Princess. (Princess Cruises)

Rocky start

Launching the ship has been rocky, however. Sun Princess’ inaugural voyage, which was originally set for Feb. 8, was postponed twice for reasons that were never fully explained.

READ MORE: Sun Princess inaugural cancelled again, days before departure

In an email to passengers that was circulated earlier this month, the brand’s president John Padgett explained how the ship had to remain in the shipyard “to allow for additional technical work to be completed.”

Taking cruises to a new level

Nonetheless, Sun Princess is officially now open for business, starting its inaugural cruise season on a 10-day Grand Mediterranean cruise roundtrip from Rome.

It will take guests to the ports of Naples, Italy; Crete, Greece; Kusadasi, Turkey (for Ephesus); Athens, Greece; Sicily, Italy; Mallorca, Spain; and Barcelona.

"This is an historic day as our new Sun Princess sets sail on her inaugural voyage, and our guests get to experience our sensational, next-level, Love Boat firsthand," stated Padgett in a news release. "The ship is a magnificent showcase of advanced design, technology and craftsmanship, with elevated spaces and experiences all focused on taking the Princess vacation experience to a new level."

One of the new eye-catching experiences on board is The Dome, a geodesic, glass-enclosed structure at the top of the ship “inspired by the terraces of Santorini.”

The outward and suspended Sphere Atrium, the namesake of this new class of ship, takes the central Piazza hub of the ship into a new dimension.

Here, guests are enveloped with expansive ocean views and an open concept, inspired to deliver the desired lifestyle of relaxed indoor and outdoor living.

"The Sun Princess is absolutely gorgeous and guests are going to love her. The architecture is unbelievable and the amenities on board are next level, especially the glass dome at the front of the ship which is incredibly stunning," stated Monika Best from Nova Scotia, who is the most travelled guest on the inaugural voyage who is sailing for the 141st time aboard a Princess ship.

"Princess is evolving and looking more toward families and generational cruises, which I think is absolutely wonderful because more and more families are cruising together."

New features & design

Sun Princess has 30 restaurant and bar venues. It debuts a first-of-its-kind collaboration with Romero Britto, an artist known for his bold, colourful, and joyful style, to create "Love by Britto," a dining experience celebrating the essence of "Love" aboard Sun Princess.

Debuting a three-story, main Horizons Dining Room with aft views, inaugural menus have been created in collaboration with the Culinary Institute of America.

The ship also features favourites like Crown Grill, Sabatini's and Crooners with new design elements to impress.

The Princess Arena will offer original productions including performances in the round.

The Dome on Sun Princess. (Princess Cruises)

At night, The Dome astonishes audiences with acrobatic Cirque Éloize performances while the Piazza dazzles with a retractable stage and immersive "champagne waterfall."

Sun Princess also features the cruise line's largest casino, two-story Lotus Spa, and an expanded retail environment with more than 200 premium brands.

The first-ever family activity zone, Park19, offers multi-generational fun from the top deck.

Within decks 19, 20 and 21, guests can experience everything from the Sea Breeze, a glider ride that offers panoramic views of the ocean and breathtaking ports of call to the Coastal Climb, an engaging climbing structure where guests can take in the gorgeous views.

With more than 1,500 cabins with balcony views, Sun Princess' re-imagined staterooms include the new Cabana Mini-Suites with extra space for secluded outdoor relaxation.

Sun Princess is also the first LNG (liquefied natural gas) vessel for the cruise line, reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

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