Grand Princess is a Grand-class cruise ship owned by Princess Cruises. Built in 1998 by Fincantieri Cantieri Navali Italiani in Monfalcone, Italy, with hull number 5956, at a cost of approximately US$450 million. She was the largest and most expensive passenger ship ever built at the time. Grand Princess was the flagship in the Princess Cruises until the new Royal Princess took that title in June 2013.
Grand Princess was the first of the Grand-class ships, and has a different decor scheme to her sister ships, using darker woods, and the interior decor is more similar to the smaller Sun-class ships. The cabin layout is also marginally different in the arrangement of the bathroom and the walk-in wardrobe. At a recent refit, the Movies under the Stars feature was added. When Grand Princess was launched, she featured in the Princess Cruises brochures as a "Sun" class ship; it was only with the subsequent launch of Golden Princess that the "Grand class" appeared in brochures.
Grand Princess has a large theatre, a large central performance lounge and an aft show lounge. The inaugural season featured performances by artists including Lorna Luft, Al Martino, Bob Anderson, Red Buttons, Rita Moreno and show-bands including Dominic Halpin with his swing band and Canadian band the Mud Sharks.
In May 2011, Grand Princess completed the most extensive drydock in Princess Cruises history that included a refit and removal of the iconic "Skywalkers" lounge from her stern. Passengers now find a completely new Piazza atrium, several new eateries – including Alfredo's Pizzeria and the Crown Grill – and the line's first specialty tea lounge called Leaves. Also included in the renovation were seven new window 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 new nightclub, The One5, replaced Skywalkers.
The removal of the "Skywalkers" lounge from Grand Princess has resolved her tendency to sail bow high, and has improved her fuel economy by about 3-4%. The bow high tendency was peculiar to Grand Princess, and does not affect any of the other Grand class ships (or the derivative classes) as they all have aluminium upper decks, a feature Grand Princess does not have due to the technology to link these two materials being in its infancy when she was built.
Ports of call
Until Spring 2014, Grand Princess was based year-round out of San Francisco, California as of March 2013, sailing to Hawaii, Mexico Riviera, California Coastal Cruises as well as replacing the Sea Princess' 10 Day cruises to Alaska. As of Spring 2014, the Grand Princess has repositioned to Seattle to operate 7-day roundtrip cruises to Alaska (replaced in San Francisco by sister ship Star Princess). Upon finishing up the Seattle-based schedule, the Grand Princess will also sail special-themed roundtrip cruises from Vancouver to Hawaii and the Pacific Coasts. Each of those voyages will be offered one time on the Fall of 2014 and the Spring of 2015. In between those moments, Grand Princess will offer 15- day Hawaii cruises from Los Angeles.