Ocean Princess

Princess Cruises

Princess Cruises is an American cruise line, based in the Valencia section of the city of Santa Clarita, California, that operates cruise ships and also shares the same building with Cunard Line headquarters. It is one of the many cruise lines owned by Carnival Corporation & plc. The company was made famous by The Love Boat TV series, in which two of its ships, the Island Princess and Pacific Princess were featured.


Princess Cruises began in 1966, when founder Stanley MacDonald chartered Canadian Pacific Limited's Alaska cruise ship Princess Patricia for Mexican Riviera cruises from Los Angeles during a time when she would have usually been laid up for the winter. However, Princess Pat, as she was fondly called, had never been designed for tropical cruising, lacking air-conditioning, and Princess ended her charter in favor of a more purpose-built cruise ship Italia.

The Italia had originally been ordered in 1963 and was one of the first to implement modern design elements, such as lifeboats mounted lower on the ship, allowing for uncluttered upperdecks, and engines placed far in the rear, allowing for spacious public rooms amidships. Gustavo Finali and Romano Boico had designed the ship's interiors, designers whose résumés included such ships as the Augustus and Raffaello (of Italian Line) and the Oceanic and Homeric (of Home Lines).

Construction proceeded slowly, and accordingly, the Italia was not launched until the spring of 1965, and during the fitting out, both the owners and the builder were declared bankrupt. The Italia was passed onto a bank who created a company to charter or sell the ship, and consequently, the company chartered the Italia to Princess.

Princess, who marketed the ship as Princess Italia but never officially renamed her, used the ship to inaugurate their Mexican Riviera cruises out of Los Angeles, and did not even receive the Princess logo on her funnel until the following year.

In 1969, the Princess Italia was used on Alaskan cruises from San Francisco, but by 1973, the charter was canceled, and the Italia returned to Europe on charter to Costa Cruise Line.

Princess's third charter ship was none other than Costa's Carla C. Originally, Compagnie Generale Transatlantique's Flandre, the ship had been purchased by Costa in the late sixties and given a major rebuilding. Almost immediately after completion, the ship was chartered to Princess, and it was onboard the ship, which was marketed, but again not officially renamed, Princess Carla, that Jeraldine Saunders wrote the first chapters of 'Love Boat.'

Britain's Peninsular & Oriental Steam Navigation Company (P&O) acquired Princess Cruise Line in 1974 and their Spirit of London (originally to have been Norwegian Cruise Line's Seaward) was transferred to the Princess fleet, becoming the first Sun Princess.

The two ships that were to be featured heavily in the television series 'Love Boat' were built in 1971 at Nordseewerke for Flagship Cruises and originally named the Sea Venture (for the original Sea Venture, the 1609 wreck of which resulted in the settlement of Bermuda) and Island Venture. In 1974, P&O purchased them for their Princess division, and they served as the Island Princess and Pacific Princess respectively.

A part time addition to the Princess fleet was the former Swedish transatlantic liner Kungsholm, purchased by P&O from Flagship Cruises in 1978, and then restyled and rebuilt in Bremen as the Sea Princess. She was initially based in Australia as a P&O ship until 1981 when her role there was taken over by the Oriana. After that, she alternated between P&O and Princess colours as she moved between fleets. The Sea Princess returned to the P&O UK fleet permanently and in 1995 and was renamed Victoria to allow a then new Princess ship to be named Sea Princess.

The first P&O Princess Cruises purpose-built cruise ship was the Royal Princess in 1984, the largest new British passenger ship in a decade, and one of the first, if not the first, ships to completely dispense with interior cabins. The ship now serves in P&O Cruises fleet as the Artemis. A new Princess ship, Royal Princess, is set to debut sometime in spring 2007.

In 1986, P&O Princess Cruises acquired Tour Alaska which operated on the Alaska Railroad. Based in Anchorage, Alaska, Princess Tours now operates ten luxury railcars with full-service scenic tours of Mount McKinley and can accommodate over 700 passengers per day.

P&O Princess Cruises acquired Sitmar Line in 1988 and transferred all of its major tonnage to Princess, including three cruise ships then under construction. The and Fair Princess were both ex-Cunarders, and the former Sitmar Fairsky became Princess's Sky Princess. The first of the three new Sitmar ships came into the Princess brand in 1989 as the Star Princess, the largest British exclusively cruising ship. Two 70,000 grt cruise ships entered service in 1990 as the Crown Princess and Regal Princess, bringing Princess's fleet up to ten deluxe cruise ships.

On October 23, 2000, P&O Princess Cruises demerged from Peninsular & Oriental Steam Navigation Company (P&O), to become an independently traded company. Then, on April 17, 2003 the Miami-based Carnival Corporation merged with P&O Princess Cruises at US$5.4 billion, to form Carnival Corporation & plc as the world's largest cruise company. Besides Princess Cruises, Carnival owns 11 other brands.

On 3 April 2008 Mickey Arison, the chairman of Carnival Corporation & plc, stated that due to the low value of the US dollar, inflation and high shipbuilding costs, the company would not be ordering any new ships for their US-based brands (Princess, Carnival Cruise Lines and Holland America Line) before the economical situation improves.

Current fleet

Grand Class

Ship Tonnage Length Passengers Passenger Decks
Grand Princess/Star Princess/Golden Princess 109,000 951 feet 2600 14
Diamond Princess/Sapphire Princess 116,000 951 feet 2670 13
Caribbean Princess 113,000 951 feet 3100 15
Emerald Princess/Crown Princess/Ruby Princess (to enter service in November 2008) 113,000 951 feet 3070 15

Note: Strictly speaking, Diamond Princess, Sapphire Princess, Emerald Princess, Crown Princess and Ruby Princess are "Gem" class ships but are usually grouped under the "Grand" class for marketing purposes.

Sun Class

Ship Tonnage Length Passengers Passenger Decks
Sun Princess/Sea Princess/Dawn Princess 77,499 857 feet 1950 10
Coral Princess & Island Princess 91,627 964 feet 1970 12

Explorer Class

Ship Tonnage Length Passengers Passenger Decks
Tahitian Princess/Pacific Princess/Royal Princess 30,277 593.7 feet 688 9

Former Fleet


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