Grand Princess At Sea - My Family Travels

Check out the renovations coming to the Grand Princess, one of Princess lines' most awesome ships with a kids program that makes families sail the seas.

The most significant transformation ever of a Princess Cruises ship will occur this spring aboard Grand Princess. During a 24-day makeover during April-May 2011, the ship, which was the prototype for the line’s “Grand Class” vessels, will undergo a remarkable renovation.

She is slated to receive many of Princess’ trademark features introduced since the ship’s debut, including the signature Piazza atrium.

Grand Facilities Still Reign on Grand Princess

“This is the largest makeover we’ve ever undertaken for any of our ships,” says Jan Swartz, Princess Cruises executive vice president. “When Grand Princess was launched she was the most innovative ship at sea, and now we’re adding some of the later innovations we introduced on subsequent ships.”

We agree with his comment, because at the ship’s christening, an FTF critic had this to say: “The Princess Cruise Lines Grand Princess is a very impressive place to play. After seeing the attention to detail in fabrics, woodworking, chrome and brass trim; the 700+ spacious balconied cabins and efficient layout; the array of facilities; and the small-scale, cozy ambiance, I don’t have to say, “Show me the money.” The $450 million that Princess spent on this vessel is all there for passengers to enjoy.

“Included among the ship’s luxury features are the Lotus Spa, the fun Movies Under the Stars program in which popular films are shown outdoors on a big screen, an entire deck of Mini-Suites, as well as dozens of dining and entertainment options.

“This company is generally thought of as a bit more formal and classy than some others, but each ship caters to families with many kid and teen activites. There is a variety of ‘edutainment’ (where kids learn about ocean life, for example), as well as arts n’ crafts, a splash pool, karaoke, discos, and movies. Groups are divided by age; Princess Pelicans (ages 3 to 7), Shockwaves (ages 8-12), and the Remix (ages 13-17) programs have their own counselors. There’s a youth center, video arcade, and a splash pool for kids. Teens aged 13-17 have their own hot tub and a Teen Center open noon-1am with a big screen video wall, and a karaoke set up. There is a glitzy, laser-lit disco on the tippy-top of the ship (150 feet above sea level) and a large, fully-loaded VR Center with games galore, as long as teens have money to play.”

Grand Princess Renovations In Sight

Many of the attributes we liked then will remain the same, and many will be improved. Current plans call for the replacement of the Skywalker nightclub perched on Deck 18. A brand new nightclub called One5 will be created on the top deck of the ship instead, which will significantly improve the operational performance of the ship, including greater fuel efficiency.

Additionally, families can expect a new Piazza atrium. The atrium space of Grand Princess will be completely rebuilt to include this signature Princess feature — a multi-faceted social hub of the ship combining always-changing quick bites and light meals, beverages, entertainment, shopping and guest services. 

The Leaves Tea Lounge and Library offers a distinctive opportunity for passengers to custom-blend a variety of base teas with herbs, fruits and spices to create a personalized tea blend, which which they can enjoy in the midst of a cozy library setting with a good book.

Alfredo’s Pizzeria will be a new sit-down pizzeria with an open kitchen where passengers can watch chefs create the pizzas they design. The Crown Grill will be the classic steakhouse, also with an open, theater-style kitchen where chefs custom-prepare premium aged beef and fresh seafood items, including live lobsters.

Also part of the renovation will be 10 new suites; remodeled casino, boutiques and art gallery; enhancements to the Horizon Court, Lotus Spa, and wedding chapel; and the addition of Crooner’s Martini Lounge.

The newly renovated Grand Princess will debut on May 5 in Ft. Lauderdale where the ship will depart on a transatlantic crossing for her summer and fall homeport of Southampton, from which she will cruise a variety of European itineraries.

Additional information about Princess Cruises is available through a travel agent, by calling 1-800-PRINCESS, or by visiting Princess Cruises.


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