We are considering booking on the new Caribbean Princess for a trip during the week of May 16, 2004. This ship is supposed to be ready to sail on April 17, 2004. I would appreciate your thoughts about this. What is the likelyhood that this new ship will actually be ready to sail by it's announced sail date? I know many ships fail to make their announced sail date. Do you think it would be ready to sail by May? We have no desire to be on the first cruise out. (like to let them work out the kinks, first). Since this May 16 week is the ONLY week our group can sail, do you think it is worth the risk to seriously consider booking this ship?
I personally would not take the chance. You're taking the chance of either being the first cruise (if there's a slight delay in the ship's release date....which happens often) OR of missing the cruise completely (if the release date is pushed off significantly).
Most recently the debut of the Island Princess was pushed back either two or three months due to shipyard delays.
Sweetsea: It depends on your disposition and flexibility level. It's happened to me twice that the ships had not finished their sea trials, once on the Volendam and once on the Costa Atlantica. Both times it worked to my advantage. The Volendam delay just put me on the Maasdam, in a better cabin, and $200.00 shipboard credit to cover the "inconvenience", which was minimal. Maasdam sailed the same day and same itinerary as the Volendam would have so nothing was lost except the experience of a new ship.
The Costa Atlantica was built in Italy and had not completed U.S. inspections so I was put in a fabulous hotel (The Bristol) in Genoa for 3 extra days, pre-cruise. Costa paid all expenses, meals, tours of the city, concerts at night in beautiful churches and opera houses. Once on board, we all received $100.00 shipboard credit and basically an extra 3 days of vacation. Costa arranged and paid for the changes in air travel.
Both times I was advised of the situation at least 4 weeks before I left home, so had a chance to re-adjust my schedule. So, if you're not too rigid in your needs and schedule, I'd go for it. I think the cruise lines bend over backwards to make it up to their clients.