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GRAND PRINCESS: A "WORLD'S LARGEST" STORY
The world's largest cruise ship -- At 109,000 tons and with a price tag of $450 millon, Grand Princess is the world's largest and most expensive cruise ship. Grand Princess will increase the number of passengers Princess carries by 40 per cent in Europe, more than doubling capacity in the Mediterranean, and 65 per cent in the Caribbean. By 2001, four additional superliners will join the "Love Boat" fleet -- Sea Princess in 1998, Ocean Princess in 1999 and two yet-to-be-named sister ships to Grand Princess in 2001. The Grand Class (SM) expansion, which began with Sun Princess in 1995, represents a total investment of over 2.5 billion.
"First" in line -- Grand Princess debuts a variety of onboard firsts, offering choices normally found only in full-scale resorts. Passengers can marry in the first wedding chapel at sea, take a "ride" in the virtual reality center, photograph themselves against exciting backdrops in the digital photo studio, swim-against-the-current in the lap pool and sip margaritas in the first Southwestern restaurant afloat.
Affordable luxury -- Grand Princess is redefining luxury on a large-scale ship. It features the largest number of balcony cabins -- 710 -- on board any cruise ship. In fact, 80 per cent of all outside cabins have a private balcony, making this once-exclusive feature an affordable luxury. On Grand Princess, passengers in suites and mini-suites have the added luxury of personal butlers to cater to their every need.
In the family way -- A Princess cruise is a family vacation, offering something for everyone. While parents relax by the pool or get a massage in the spa, children do arts and crafts in the Fun Zone, play video games in Off Limits, the ship's teen center, or swim in their own special pool. Cruising with children is easy with a full-time youth staff and a wide choice of dining and entertainment options. For example, parents can take their children to an early dinner in the pizzeria or 24-hour Horizon Court restaurant and then turn them over to the Princess babysitting staff while they enjoy an elegant meal in the formal dining room.
With her size and onboard choice, how do passengers decide what to do and where to do it? According to Peter Ratcliffe, president of the line, "We decided to build a ship where passengers couldn't possibly get bored. You could literally sail on a seven-day cruise and not see or do everything Grand Princess offers."
Ship Offers What You Want, When You Want Dining
Enjoy intimate breakfasts on a private balcony, five course meals in one of the the three main dining rooms, a quick snack poolside and well, everything in between. Grand Princess is designed to offer passengers more dining options than any other cruise ship. Choices to suit any mood or taste are available, with eight places for dinner, seven to do lunch and four for breakfast.
Three 500-person main dining rooms - Da Vinci, Botticelli and Michelangelo - have been designed to give passengers an intimate dining experience, even on the largest ship at sea. The rooms feature three levels with both cozy nooks and open spaces; seating ranges from tables for four as well as group seating for six, eight or ten. The atmosphere of each room is even designed to reflect the art of its namesake artist.
Meanwhile, Sabatini's Trattoria serves authentic Italian specialties, including brick-oven pizza and homemade pasta. A bubbling fountain and marble and wrought-iron decor ads to the theme.
Outdoors, poolside diners can grab a snack at Trident Grill for burgers and fries, Poseidon's Pizzeria for a quick slice and I Scream Ice Cream Bar for cones and sundaes.
The coffee bar in the Promenade Lounge and Bar serves espresso, capuccino, coffee drinks and freshly baked pastries; there's also a wine and caviar bar for evening cocktails. The setting is relaxed so you can sit and read, catch up with friends or enjoy a casual drink.
With the best views on the ship, a private balcony is a perfect place to dine or just have a relaxing drink any time of day (710 cabins aboard Grand Princess feature a balcony). A full 24-hour room service menu is offered and butler service in suites and mini-suites makes this a casually elegant way to dine.
No longer are cruisers' dining options limited to specific times. Grand Princess has so many dining options you could choose a different setting for each night on a seven-day cruise. And with healthy entrees offered in the main dining room and Horizon Court, you can feel guilt-free in your choices.
Let Grand Princess Entertain you
With exciting Broadway-style productions and glamorous Las Vegas acts on board Grand Princess, passengers are sure to be entertained and amused night after night. The ship boasts unparalleled entertainment choices with three main showrooms, a disco-in-the-sky, bars, lounges and the largest casino at sea -- more nightlife than virtually any land-based resort.
The ship's three main show lounges offer up a wide array of entertainment choices. In the two-level Princess Theatre, passengers can watch an original Broadway-style show each night.
Another option is found in the intimate Explorers Lounge where live cabaret entertainment is featured nightly.
Meanwhile, elsewhere on the ship, a pianist entertains in the Promenade Lounge and Bar; guests can relax with a drink in the Wheelhouse Bar.
Gamblers will enjoy testing their luck in the Atlantis Casino, the largest casino at sea, with its 3-D underwater motif and the latest in Las Vegas-style technology. Of course, there are all the games of chance available on land: poker, blackjack, roulette, craps and slot machines. For quieter games, passengers can head to Players Card Room for bridge or Scrabble(TM).
The ship's cruise staff leads theme nights including pool-side contests, talent nights and trivia games. For more relaxed entertainment, first-run movies play each afternoon in the Princess Theatre.
For in-cabin entertainment, Princess recently enhanced its in-cabin television programming to offer award-winning programs from the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), along with TNT and CNN from Turner Broadcasting. Princess' "Overseas Television" network also features major motion pictures, the Discovery Channel, National Geographic specials, award-winning syndicated television programs, such as "M*A*S*H," "Murphy Brown" and the original "Love Boat."
Virtual Reality Center: Take a "ride" on the motion-based simulator in the virtual reality arcade where 12 passengers will "race" through a number of exciting scenes. They may travel through the sea past underwater creatures, fall down a volcano or join a car race -- the experience changes regularly. Or play interactive video games and shop in the cyber-age gift shop.
"Limelight" Digital Photo Studio: Imagine going on safari in the wilds of Africa, or sky surfing, or winning a million dolars in the casino. Step in front of the screen in Grand Princess' digital photo studio and you're almost there. Choose from more than 40 exciting scenes as the backdrop for your picture. It's the best postcard you'll send home.
Art Gallery at Sea: Passengers can participate in exciting art auctions, view original artwork and perhaps take home a unique souvenir at this first dedicated art gallery aboard a cruise ship. The collection includes limited edition serigraphs and lithographs created for Princess as well as original oils, ceramics and sculpture.
Two-Level Children's Center: The largest children's center afloat has a separate Fun Zone for younger children and Off Limits Teen Center for older kids. The ball jump, life-size doll's house, castle, arts-and-crafts, boardgames and disco on all Grand Class(SM) ships are recreated on a grander scale with the addition of a separate children's pool and teens-only whirlpool spa and sun deck.
Whether you love the night life or are the more sedate sort, you'll be entertained (or can entertain yourself) from dawn to dusk on board the world's largest ship.
Recreation & Fitness
Taking a cruise doesn't mean abandoning exercise -- especially on Grand Princess. The one-third mile Promenade deck is perfect for a brisk morning walk, while those looking for even more activity can take advantage of a full range of exercise equipment in the gym. Joggers will find a special running track, and courts are available for a pick-up game of basketball, paddle tennis or volleyball. Princess' Cruisercise program also offers regular aerobics classes. Of course, guests don't have to do anything: there's surely a perfect lounge chair on deck, a book in the library to read, or a comfortable chair in the three-story atrium to watch passers-by.
Interested in a swim? Choose from any of the four sparkling pools (plus one for the kids). One has simulated coral reefs and beach areas, and another has a crystal magradome that slides into place during inclement weather and in the evenings creates a covered dining and dancing area. Yet another is a swim-against-the-current lap pool, the first in the industry.
Tee Up: On Princess' Grand Class ships, passengers can "play" on some of the world's greatest courses in the simulated Princess Links. On Grand Princess, if they want to practice a shot on a real course, they can head to the nine-hole putting green. Either way, they won't lose their swing while on board.
Plantation Spa: Work out on the top-of-the-ship in the state-of-the-art gymnasium and health spa. Swim against the current in the lap pool, relax in the whirlpool spas, steam up in the sauna, have a massage while watching the ocean views, aerobicize in the gym or work out with weights. Shoot some hoops or play a game of paddle tennis on the top deck Center Court. Afterwards, get a refreshing drink at the juice bar.
Your Wedding At Sea
Grand Princess features the first ocean-going wedding chapel and the only at-sea wedding program allowing passengers to be married by the ship's captain. The line's new wedding program includes a selection of ceremony and reception packages which will make a couple's wedding, reception and honeymoon planning a convenient, one-stop project.
"What could be more fitting than the largest "Love Boat" debuting the first wedding program at sea," said Rick James, Princess Cruises senior vice president of sales and corporate relations. "Not only are we offering passengers an easy and romantic way to get married and honeymoon, we're turning cruising lore into reality by having the captain perform the wedding ceremony."
A choice of three different wedding packages aboard Grand Princess offers a number of special touches and brings together the talents of the ship's chefs, musicians and photographers. Included in each is music, champagne, bridal bouquet and groom's matching boutonniere, photo package, video recording of the ceremony, wedding cake, souvenir wedding certificate and a special lithograph painting of Grand Princess signed by the captain. The couple also has the opportunity to add music performed by an organist or string quartet, candlelight, floral arangements and pampering pre-ceremony spa treatments for the bride.
Packages begin at $1,400 and include fees for the ceremony, registration and official marriage certificate.
After the ceremony, a selection of three different reception options will continue the celebration. All packages include music, hors d'oeuvres, beverages, and three-tiered wedding cake. The ship's photographer will also be available during the reception with photos available for purchase. The one-hour parties for up to 80 guests begin at $70 per person.Marriages aboard ship are performed by the captain under the authority of the ship's registry and are legal marriages. Couples will receive their official marriage certificate following the cruise.
"Offering passengers the opportunity to get married on board is just one more example of the choice and variety we've designed into our Grand Class(SM) ships," added James.
Balconies, Balconies & MORE Balconies
When Juliet uttered her classic question to Romeo, she immortalized the balcony forever. Countless literary, musical and dramatic works use the balcony as a symbol of romance and courtship. For many it is a coveted feature that represents a window on the world outside.
Balcony cabins were once available only to passengers in suites or on luxury liners. And still today, most cruise lines only offer balconies on their top grade cabins. But Princess' new Grand Princess, combined with the other ships of the Princess fleet, offer more balcony cabins than any other cruise line, making this feature affordable for all passengers. On Grand Princess, 80 per cent of all outside staterooms -- or 710 -- have balconies. And what better way to experience this romantic feature than on the world's largest "Love Boat."
Private balconies have been at the top of Princess Cruises' new build design specification for over fifteen years -- ever since the line debuted the Royal Princess in the early 1980s. Grand Princess is the pinnacle of this commitment, offering not only more balconies than any other ship, but also larger space, with standard balconies which measure approximately 50 square feet and suite balconies which range from 86 square feet up to 176 square feet on the two Master Suites.
The balconies on Grand Princess are built out from the body of the ship rather than being cut into it, as on most ships. Because Grand Princess will not pass through the Panama Canal, there is no width restriction, allowing for much wider and more open balconies. The balconies are spacious enough to accommodate two sun loungers and a table and chairs.
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