Was reading another board...
Someone mentioned that they had heard that the Med sailings were not filling up very quickly.
Because of that they said that Princess was thinking about pulling one of the ships and putting her in the Caribbean instead.
There are unprecedented deals on Mediterranean cruises on Princess's web site -- as low as $1295 for twelve nights (about $108 per passenger per night), PPDO, aboard either MV Grand Princess or MV Golden Princess for this year's incarnation of the "Grand Mediterranean" itienrary. OTOH, that's much better yields than the specials in the Caribbean -- $549 for seven nights (about $78.50 per passenger per night) -- so there's very little incentive to move either of these ships there even with the current discounts.
If there is a change in deployments, the more likely cause probably would be an outbreak of war in the middle east. MV Regal Princess is scheduled to tranit the Indian Ocean, the Red Sea, and the Suez Canal in March and April en route from the western Pacific to the Mediterranean when she completes her current series of cruises between Australia and New Zealand, followed by a cruise from Rome to Copenhagen for her summer cruises on the Baltic Sea. An outbreak of war in and around Iraq obviously would make such a transit very risky, so Princess officials have to be looking at redeployment options -- and there are two obvious options.
>> The first option would be to have MV Regal Princess reposition "the other way" (by transiting the Pacific Ocean, the Panama Canal, and the Atlantic Ocean). Such a move would disrupt the repositioning cruises (Sydney to Bangcock, Bangcock to Rome, and Rome to Copenhagen) but little else. The changed deployment cruises could go, for example, from Sidney to Honolulu, from Honolulu to Los Angeles, from Los Angeles to Fort Lauderdale (with a port of call in either Aruba or Curacao to comply with the Jones Act), and from Fort Lauderdale to Copenhagen.
>> The second opton would be to divert MV Regal Princess to Alaska for the summer, as Princess did last year when war broke out in Afghanistan, and to reassign the Baltic Sea itineraries to either MV Grand Princess or MV Golden Princess -- but this option is viable only if the scheduled ports of call can accommodate these "Post-Panamax" vessels [/i] this year[/i], which is not certain at all. This option also would introduce a lot more complications, including a lot more changes in existing bookings -- usually accompanied by discount certificates for future cruises -- and a requirement to fill 1010 additional berths on Baltic itineraies, created by the substitution of the larger vessel, and 1570 berths on new Alaska itineraries. Princess would have to offer "fire sale" prices to fill those berths since the affected cruises are less than four months away.
Has anyone heard anything else regarding this?
As I said in a post a couple weeks ago, P&O Princess Cruises Plc. (LSE: POC), the parent company of Princess Cruises, has already announced that MV Star Princess will deploy to the western Pacific for the winter of 2003-2004, then will transit the Indian Ocean and the Suez Canal into the Mediterranean in the spring of 2004, following the introduction of MV [i] Diamond Princess [i] and imminent introduction of MV Sapphire Princess, which will take over the seven-day Mexican Riviera itineraries and the Western Pacific itineraries in the winter while spendign summers in Alaska. Additionally, the company has announced that MV Crown Princess, a derivative of the design of the "Grand Princess" class originally ordered for siser line P&O Cruises and now under construction at the Fincantieri shipyard in Italy, will instead join the Princess Cruises fleet in the spring of 2004. This will pur a total of four (4) "Post-Panamax" Princess vessels in the Caribbean/Atlantic/Baltic/Mediterranean region. The company further announced that one of these vessels will remain in the Caribbean each summer, beginning in 2004 (but we'll see how long that lasts, as it's what they said about MV Grand Princess about three years ago). It appears likely that Princess will deploy two of these vessels to the Mediterranean and one of these vessels either to the Baltic or to Canada/New England in the summer, with the fourth vessel remaining in the Caribbean, and that all four of these vessels will move to the the Caribbean in the winter.