Princess Cruises Overhauls Fleet to Attract Passengers


“The Come Back New Promise,” says Jan Swartz, Princess Cruises president, “differentiates our approach to cruising and offers our guests enriching vacation experiences by connecting them with each other, nature and different cultures in a new way. Our promise is to provide guests transformative moments designed to inspire them to discover the world and themselves, ultimately allowing us to declare that a cruise isn’t good enough unless you ‘come back new.’”

Princess Cruises has recently launched several initiatives to lure passengers as part of the line’s Come Back New Promise, a $450 million, multi-year product innovation and cruise ship renovation program that launched in 2016.That’s a great deal to undertake. Based on my last Princess Cruise four years ago, I’d be delighted if the line would improve its mostly mediocre food. I understand that new menus and food experiences are also part of Princess’ Come Back New program.

New for Princess Cruise Lines

Children’s programs

Princess has renovated its youth and teen rooms and, in partnership with Discovery Communications, revamped the programming to include more “edutainment” content from the media company. In the Treehouse, children ages 3 through 7 can engage in hands-on play. At the Lodge, children ages 8 through 12 can hang out and play air hockey and foosball, learn about sharks, and find out about Alaska and other regions to which the ships sail. At the Beach House, teens ages 13 through 17 can enter video game tournaments, try dance lessons and watch movies.

The new centers and programming are currently on board Grand Princess, and will debut on Caribbean Princess March 2017, Regal Princess, April 2017, Sea Princess, October 2017, and the remainder of the fleet in 2017 and 2018.

The revamped programs and rooms sound great. What would complement the new programming would be to create narrower age groups. Developmentally, there’s a great deal of difference between a 3- and a 4-year-old, and a 6- and 7-year-old. This is not to mention that 13-year-old boys or girls may feel bullied by 17-year-olds.

New tech gadgets: Ocean Medallion

Carnival Corporation, the parent company of Princess Cruises, recently announced that it has developed the “world’s first interactive guest experience platform” designed to enhance service. A wearable device, the Ocean Medallion, allows passengers to check in and out quickly, access their staterooms without a key card, locate family and friends on the ship, purchase merchandise without using any paper, and order food and drinks to be delivered to them wherever they happen to be.

The Ocean Medallion pairs with Ocean Compass, a digital concierge available online, on smart devices, on stateroom televisions and on tablets and interactive surfaces throughout the ship. Guests use the Ocean Compass to book experiences and create itineraries. Another benefit: The devices are supposedly easy to use.

The Regal Princess will be the first ship to activate Ocean Medallion and Ocean Compass technology, starting with the November 13, 2017 sailing. Royal Princess will launch the gadgets starting January 19, 2018, and the Caribbean Princess, starting March 18, 2018.

The new youth facilities and programs and the hi-tech Ocean Medallions and the Ocean Compass concierge are exciting programs for Princess.