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Old August 1st, 2002, 06:16 PM
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Admiral
 
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Default Future of Summer Caribbean Itineraries

For those who are interested in such itineraries (somehow May-September is not exactly the time of year when I would choose to go to the Caribbean), the announcement of midyear results by parent company P&O Princess Cruises Plc. (http://www.poprincesscruises.com/files/2002Q2Press.pdf) announced the following plans.

Princess continues to expand and enhance its product offering. The positioning of the post-panamax Star Princess on the west coast has proved to be very successful, again demonstrating the ability to deliver the Princess product on large, cost effective ships in destination trades. In accordance with this strategy, for summer 2003, we will have two post-panamax ships, Star Princess and Diamond Princess, in Alaska. They will be based in Seattle, rather than Vancouver, and with weekend departures, introducing another product alternative for our customers. The other two post-panamax ships currently in the fleet, Grand Princess and Golden Princess, will both be positioned in the Mediterranean for summer 2003, with Princess returning to the summer Caribbean in 2004 after the delivery that year of two more post-panamax ships, Sapphire Princess and the new Crown Princess.

Norm.
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Old August 3rd, 2002, 12:39 PM
Carole Dunham
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Default Re: Future of Summer Caribbean Itineraries

That's great news Norm. I adore Seattle and have friends there. Maybe I could talk them into cruising with me some year and not have to worry about getting myself to Vancouver first. I like Vancouver very much but for me Seattle is the better city. Personal opinion folks.

Carole
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Old August 3rd, 2002, 07:48 PM
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Default Re: Re: Future of Summer Caribbean Itineraries

Carole,

You're right -- the Seattle area is gorgeous! I spent 25 months across the sound in Bremerton while serving aboard the USS Long Beach (CGN-9), a nuclear-powered guided missile cruiser, during a complex overhaul at Puget Sound Naval Shipyard and absolutely fell in love with that area. I would return there in a heartbeat if presented with the right opportunity!

The biggest hassle with Vancouver departures seems to be getting there. With cruise ships carrying perhaps 20,000 passengers per week, it would seem sensible for the major airlines to augment service into Vancouver substantially from May until September, yet few do. As a result, it's far cheaper to fly into Seattle....

Of course, the Jones Act remains a major factor in determining where cruises depart. The "Inside Passage" itineraries can operate from Seattle since they return to their port of origin, provided that they call at a Canadian port (usually either Victoria or Vancouver) en route. The "Gulf of Alaska" (Princess's "Voyage of the Glaciers") itineraries, however, cannot originate or terminte in Seattle because the Jones Act requires a ship of foreign flag to call at a "distant" foreign port (all Canadian ports are "near") en route in order for passengers who embark in one U. S. port to disembark in another. Thus, the "Gulf of Alaska" itineraries will continue to operate to or from Vanvouver for the foreseeable future.

Norm.
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Old August 5th, 2002, 09:01 PM
Frank
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Default Re: Re: Re: Future of Summer Caribbean Itineraries

Norm:
There is still a heck of a market for Alaskan cruises that round trip out of San Francisco as this summers sailing of the Regal proved. The reason I've heard for why Princess isn't going to have this next year is because the SF port is so bad. I don't buy it. Crystal has run round trips out of SF to Alaska for years and continue to do so. And if it is good enough for that high class outfit, it should be good enough for Princess.

BTW, when we disembarked in San Francisco on July 28th, both the Regal Princess and the Crystal Harmony had arrived and if that wasn't bad enough, they had closed the Embarcadero for the SF marathon. Talk about a traffic mess. However, there were Crystal people all over the place helping disembarkers regardless of whether they sailed with Princess or Crystal. There was not one single Princess employee around. They left us all to fend for ourselves once we got off the ship. I'm not talking one or two Crystal people, there were at least 15 of them. They loaded and unloaded luggage while helping with logistics. That is one class outfit.
Frank
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Old August 6th, 2002, 05:48 PM
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Default Re: Re: Re: Re: Future of Summer Caribbean Itineraries

Frank,

There is still a heck of a market for Alaskan cruises that round trip out of San Francisco as this summers sailing of the Regal proved. The reason I've heard for why Princess isn't going to have this next year is because the SF port is so bad. I don't buy it. Crystal has run round trips out of SF to Alaska for years and continue to do so. And if it is good enough for that high class outfit, it should be good enough for Princess.

The relevant question might well be on what basis Princess might think that the port is "so bad." Certainly frequent street closures for "special events" and congestion that obstructs movement between the pier and the airport would be a serious problem for Princess's large vessels, though it might not be any problem at all for smaller vessels like Crystal's. It's also possible that the port has an unusally steep graduated fare structure that makes it less profitable to operate from there.

BTW, when we disembarked in San Francisco on July 28th, both the Regal Princess and the Crystal Harmony had arrived and if that wasn't bad enough, they had closed the Embarcadero for the SF marathon. Talk about a traffic mess. However, there were Crystal people all over the place helping disembarkers regardless of whether they sailed with Princess or Crystal. There was not one single Princess employee around. They left us all to fend for ourselves once we got off the ship. I'm not talking one or two Crystal people, there were at least 15 of them. They loaded and unloaded luggage while helping with logistics. That is one class outfit.

Yes, Crystal is a luxury line at the very top of the market -- and it does have an outstanding reputation. The service should be outstanding, as the cruise will be about twice as expensive as the same itinerary with Princess.

BTW, remember that MV Regal Princess originally was scheduled to operate 10-day "Scandanavia/Russia" cruises out of Copenhagen this summer. Princess diverted her to the "Alaska/Canada" itinerary in the wake of the "9/11" attack, partly because there was concern that an outbreak of "hostilities" in the middle east might have blocked her scheduled repositioning cruise from Bangcock to Rome via the Indian Ocean, the Arabian Sea, the Gulf of Aden, the Red Sea, and the Suez Canal and partly because there was concern that cruise passengers might be less willing to fly to Europe to meet their ships in the wake of the attacks. The result was that Princess sold all itineraries on this vessel at 'fire sale" fares in order to fill the ship, so the yields were down substantially even though the ship was full. As she's returning to the Western Pacific in October on itineraries originally assigned to MV Sun Princess followed by substantially the same repositioning itineraries for next summer, the possibility of an "encore" for next summer is quite real -- especially if the United States decides to go into Iraq! The need to keep that option open might well be one reason why Princess did not schedule 10-day "Alaska/Canada" itineraries for next year.

Norm.
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Old August 7th, 2002, 10:12 PM
SF
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Default Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Future of Summer Caribbean Itineraries

I'm hoping Princess does return to the Caribbean during the summer of '04. It would be great to have one of the new ships positioned here. If anyone has any more info in regards to this please post.
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