Tuesday, 10 May 2011

Redone Grand Princess back in service

By Johanna Jainchill
The 2,600-passenger Grand Princess returned to service last week, after the most extensive drydock in Princess Cruises history, which saw the removal of the ship’s iconic Skywalkers Nightclub from its top deck.

Princess said in February that the removal of Skywalkers from the ship's 18th deck would significantly improve the fuel efficiency of the ship by reducing its weight.

The nightclub has given many Princess ships their distinctive profile since the debut of the Grand Princess in 1998.

In its place, Princess built a new nightclub on the top deck of the ship called One5, which will open May 21.

GrandPrincess-newlookThe first passengers on the refurbished ship set sail Friday from Fort Lauderdale after the ship's 24-day drydock that was documented with daily video updates that attracted more than a half million views.

Besides the removal of Skywalkers, the ship was given several features from the line's newest ships, such as the piazza-style atrium and Crown Grill steakhouse, as well as some spaces that are new to Princess: the Leaves tea lounge and library and the Alfredo's pizzeria.

The ship also has seven new suites, a remodeled casino, boutiques and an art gallery.

"This drydock has been a monumental effort, and we're very proud of the teamwork by everyone involved to create this sparkling 'new' ship ready to start a season of Europe sailings," Jan Swartz, Princess' executive vice president, said in a statement. "We know our passengers will appreciate the updated d├ęcor, fresh new feel, and especially all the wonderful added features."