Travel Update: Grand Princess Returns to Service After Princess Cruises’ Most Extensive Drydock Ever

Grand Princess sports a new streamlined silhouette after a 24-day drydock that transformed the ship from top to bottom. (PRNewsFoto/Princess Cruises)

SANTA CLARITA, Calif., May 6, 2011 /PRNewswire/ — Following the most extensive drydock in Princess Cruises history, today the first passengers set sail aboard the completely transformed Grand Princess in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. The ship’s remarkable 24-day drydock that transformed it from top to bottom also made the vessel a media star with daily video updates that attracted more than a half million views.

The Grand Princess Drydock Journal captured the dramatic process with 26 video updates plus more than 300 photos of the daily progress at the shipyard in the Bahamas, including the unforgettable removal of Skywalkers nightclub from the ship’s stern and the complete demolition and rebuilding of the atrium to create the new Piazza. Hosted by Grand Princess Cruise Director Martyn Moss, the video series delved behind the scenes with reports on all aspects of the drydock process.

The video journal also offered different perspectives on the project with interviews of key players in the revitalization, including the ship’s Captain Tony Herriott and Chief Technical Officer Gilberto Vinci, plus Senior Vice President of Technical Services John Gunner and Project Manager Steve Storey, who explained what it takes to coordinate 1,400 contractors working around the clock. The videos also shared such tidbits as the time it took to cut Skywalkers from the ship (10 hours) and the amount of new carpeting installed (about 50 square miles).

“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,” said Jan Swartz, Princess Cruises executive vice president. “We know our passengers will appreciate the updated decor, fresh new feel, and especially all the wonderful added features.”

Now that the ship has been transformed, passengers will 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, that replaced Skywalkers, will open May 21.

The drydock video journal covered nearly every area involved in the refurbishment project, including work on the underside of the ship, upholstery work, engine control room, new shore power connection, lifeboat updates, new speakers for Movies Under the Stars, mural painting, theater renovations, and a report from the executive chef who was responsible for feeding all the contractors.

To help celebrate the ship’s return to service, Princess has teamed up with Cruise Critic for a “Grand New Life” trivia contest, where players can test their knowledge of trivia from 1998, the year Grand Princess first debuted as the then-largest cruise ship in the world. The contest will run from May 5-19, and winner will sail away with a cruise aboard Grand Princess. More information about the contest is available at:

Grand Princess set sail today on a 16-day British Isles Passage voyage to its summer homeport of Southampton, England, from which it will sail a season European itineraries, including Mediterranean cruises and a number of shorter “Interlude” voyages.
SOURCE Princess Cruises

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