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What was your first Princess cruise? and Your favorite Princess ship?

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10 hours ago, rdsqrl said:

My first Princess cruise was in 1994 aboard the original Island Princess, a 12-day Med cruise.  Still remains one of the best cruises I've ever taken. 

My favourite ship is the current Pacific Princess, with the Coral Princess a very close second. 

Island Princess 1989 LA  and Disembarked MX

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My first Princess cruise was on the Tahitian Princess.  It was such a negative experience that I swore off Princess for about 5 years.  So far, I don't have a favorite Princess ship.  

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First Princess cruise was in 2007 on the Diamond. 

My favorite so far is the Diamond/Sapphire.

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My first time on Princess was a Panama Canal cruise on the old Star Princess in 1995.  1500 passengers and 63,500 tons - and at the time they said we were one of the largest passenger ships ever to transit the Panama Canal.

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First was the old Fair Princess in 1994.  10 Mexican Riviera out of LA.  The air conditioning broke half way through the cruise and many of us slept on deck.

 

My favorite ship was the original Star princess but it now the Ruby. 

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My first Princess cruise was to the Baltic on the OLD Crown Princess back in the summer of 2001.  The ship was originally built for, but never operated by, the old Sitmar cruise line.  The ship was having engine problems--reported on widely here on Cruise Critic during the weeks before our cruise--which caused many delays on all of the cruises leading up to ours.  On our cruise, the ship was late into St. Petersburg--which wreaked havoc on all of our shore excursions--which were all shortened in time so they could account for the delay arriving as well as a rescheduled early departure the second day.  (Princess NEVER admitted to the problems and kept coming up with all sorts of external excuses for the delays).

 

The demographics on the cruise were heavily skewed toward the extremely elderly.  We had our then teenaged daughters with us...and they noted there were less than 20 kids on the entire ship.  Even the Newlywed game thing was incredible--they tried to find a couple newly married, one married about 10 years, one 25 and one married the longest...They got it...but ALL FOUR COUPLES were octogenarians!  The entertainment was pretty bad as well.  Best show was a xylophonist.  They had one comedian who had to be 90 at best...and definitely headed directly into senility.  He kept forgetting the punchlines of his own jokes...But, the jokes were so old that the audience all knew them--and kept helping him out by shouting out the punchlines.  The stop in Stockholm was not in Stockholm, but rather in Nynashamn...which added an extra hour and a half in each direction (plus a lot of extra cost) to the shore excursions.

 

It kept us from going back to Princess for another seven and a half years.  The next European cruise we went on, two summers later, we tried Celebrity--which instantly became our favorite cruise line.

 

Favorite Princess ship?  We really don't have one...We find that every one we've been on (after that first Crown Princess)--the Sapphire, Golden (x2), new Crown, Star and Ruby--to be pretty much the same.  We don't cruise Princess for the ships, rather for the specific itinerary and dates...and the convenience of sailing from a port near home.  We actually prefer EVERY Celebrity, Royal Caribbean and Oceania ship we've cruised on to the "best" Princess ship.  The choppy dining room set-up and disconnected paths of travel on decks with dining rooms, the smaller standard cabins lacking sofas/sitting areas when cruising in less than a mini-suite, the undersized show rooms, the obstructed view cabins all contribute to our opinion of the Princess ships overall.

 

I know many of you will take umbrage at my critique of Princess ships...but please understand, I am only calling it as I see it.  Obviously, it hasn't kept me from cruising on Princess...I can get around those drawbacks and enjoy my cruise.  There is a bit of good to balance out the deficiencies...but they clearly have some deficiencies.

 

I actually live not far from Princess' corporate headquarters...and have a couple of friends who are former Princess executives--one of whom was directly in charge of the fleet...and I got quite accustomed to listening his list of things he felt they had gotten wrong in designing their ships--and, heck, that had been part of HIS job...Of course, he swore he wasn't allowed to call all of the shots and had some limitations placed on him from above...

Edited by Bruin Steve

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Our first Princess cruise was on the Golden Princess in 2001. It was our first time in a balcony cabin. I don't have a favorite ship, but the Sun Princess was my least favorite. I enjoy some of the new things they introduced with the Royal class ships, but I miss the walkable Promenade Deck and Princess Live is an awkward space.

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Our first 4 cruises were on the Grand Princess starting in 2000.  Fifteen cruises later and we've only strayed once to take a Holland America cruise which was very nice as well.  As we were "raised" on the Grand class ships, we have a soft spot for them but it's hard to beat some of the upgrades on the Royal class.  Our perfect ship would be a Royal class with Grand class Caribe balconies and a complete promenade deck.

 

Truthfully we always feel very thankful whenever we can take a cruise and try to make the best of any circumstance.  We're very excited to be taking 3 friends on the Regal this November.  After hearing us yammer on about cruising all these years they've decided to join us for their first cruise to ensure they like cruising before we take an Alaskan cruise/train/lodge adventure to celebrate my wife's 50th birthday in 2020.

 

I've enjoyed reading this thread - smooth sailing everyone!

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First Princess cruise was February 2010 on the Emerald Princess...that was when our son and DIL were married on the ship.

Favorite cruise/ship was the Regal 8-day Eastern.  Hoping Sky in December becomes my new favorite!! 

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I mentioned that our first cruise was on the Fair Princess shortly after Princess took it over from Sitmar where it was named the Fairwind. I forgot to mention our favorite Princess ship which is the Pacific Princess. We have cruised only on Regent, Princess and HAL. Have just shy of 200 days sailing on HAL, 145 days sailing on Regent and a little over 300 on Princess. Regent is our number one line, followed by Princess, the Seven Seas Voyager is our favorite ship. We quit HAL five years ago. We feel that Princess has a significant  edge over HAL.  But that was a while back, but recently confirmed by Berlitz as far as cuisine and service goes:  
 
A few years ago Berlitz dropped Cunard as a major. They now define "major" as those with 10 ships or more. The rest are in their "The smaller Lines" category. 
 
In 2018---MSC #1, Celebrity #2, Princess #3, HAL #4, NCL & RCI tied #5, Carnival #6, AIDA # 7, COSTA #8  
 
In 2019---MSC #1, Princess #2, Celebrity #3, RCI #4, NCL #5,  HAL #6, COSTA & AIDA tied #7, Carnival #8   
 
Congratulations to RCI and Princess   Condolences to Celebrity, Carnival and HAL   
 

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For those unaware, Princess headquarters are in Seattle. Next time there visit the new super Holland America Group headquarters overlooking Elliott Bay.  https://officesnapshots.com/2018/07/24/holland-america-group-headquarters-seattle/
 
"To bring Holland America Group’s brands—Holland America, Princess, and Seabourn—into closer alignment and increase operational efficiencies, the company sought to consolidate operations within a single facility."
 
In case you might have missed out, back in 2013 Carnival Corp announced that effective December 1, 2013, "Stein Kruse, who was then president and CEO of Holland America Line, was being appointed CEO of the Holland America Group, adding Princess Cruises and Holland America Princess Alaska land operations to his current responsibilities of Holland America Line and Seabourn. Kruse reports to Carnival Corporation & plc President and CEO Arnold Donald. In his expanded role, effective December 1, Kruse also will replace Micky Arison as chairman of the board of MANCO, the UK-based entity which oversees operations of Carnival Australia including P&O Cruises, the number one cruise line in the Australian market.The newly created Holland America Group operates 41 cruise ships with over 36,000 employees worldwide who annually deliver 25 million passenger cruise days."
 
At the time Analysts believed the reason Carnival Corp took this action was due to the cutthroat competition in Alaska between Princess and HAL and in Australia between those two and P&O. They wanted to get them all more on the same page, profit motive you know.
 
 

2018  Princess Headquarters Seattle.jpg

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4 minutes ago, kennicott said:
For those unaware, Princess headquarters are in Seattle. Next time there visit the new super Holland America Group headquarters overlooking Elliott Bay.  https://officesnapshots.com/2018/07/24/holland-america-group-headquarters-seattle/
 
"To bring Holland America Group’s brands—Holland America, Princess, and Seabourn—into closer alignment and increase operational efficiencies, the company sought to consolidate operations within a single facility."

 

 

Yeah...sort of...

Remember I said I had friends who were FORMER executives at Princess?

Princess' original headquarters were in Los Angeles--it's earliest routes were based out of Los Angeles--the old "Princess Patricia"--Princess' first ship--1965.  Many years ago, they moved the HQ to the LA suburb of Valencia--a neighborhood of Santa Clarita, CA--otherwise famous as the home of the Six Flags Magic Mountain amusement park.

 

In what was viewed by those inside as strictly a budget cutting measure--"economies" of scale", the Carnival Corp consolidated many of the departments of Princess into those of HAL.  The Santa Clarita HQ still exists...and they have many departments still operating out of there...but sent most of the executive function up to Seattle--which is why my friends no longer work for Princess.  All of their functions were turned over to the folks in the same positions at HAL...with the exception of the General Counsel--who was transferred to Seattle.  I had actually been speaking with her regarding a position at Princess when the word came down that the legal function was being blended into HAL...

 

Here's the California Princess HQ building:

 

image.png.842e7073dd1fb40d3f5ed1456f213af5.png

 

They still have a lot of IT and Finance functions--for both Princess and other lines--operating there...but, yes, the Executive functions no longer exist--it's all rolled into HAL--with mostly HAL execs in charge.

 

Funny enough, sources still list Princess' headquarters being in Santa Clarita--like the Princess article on Wikipedia:

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Princess_Cruises

 

Actually, even when you go to Princess' own website, they list their own address as Santa Clarita, CA:

 

https://book.princess.com/captaincircle/customerCare.page

 

BTW, I posted earlier that my first Princess cruise was on the old Crown Princess...BUT the first cruise ship I ever set foot on was the old Princess Patricia.  I did not cruise on her...My uncle and aunt did...and, back in those days, you could invite guests on board for a Bon Voyage party--so, at my uncle's invitation, my parents took us all down to the Port of LA--where we went onboard and had drinks (I got a "Roy Rogers") and appetizers...before leaving the ship and waving goodbye from the dock...

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Thanks to kennicott and Bruin Steve for your very informative posts and pictures!  I have learned something tonight from your posts.  

 Mr. Kruse has been a long time resident of Seattle (as far as I know) and I had learned that he must have earned many frequent flyer miles flying between Los Angeles and Seattle initially after the Holland America Group was formed and he was named as the Executive Officer.  Not a surprise to me that the executive portion of the Group is now centered in a city that he is located.

 

Jan Schwarz is the President of Princess Cruises.  From what I understand from your posts, she is also now located in Seattle.  Correct?  Or, does anybody know?

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23 hours ago, rkacruiser said:

Thanks to kennicott and Bruin Steve for your very informative posts and pictures!  I have learned something tonight from your posts.  

 Mr. Kruse has been a long time resident of Seattle (as far as I know) and I had learned that he must have earned many frequent flyer miles flying between Los Angeles and Seattle initially after the Holland America Group was formed and he was named as the Executive Officer.  Not a surprise to me that the executive portion of the Group is now centered in a city that he is located.

 

Jan Schwarz is the President of Princess Cruises.  From what I understand from your posts, she is also now located in Seattle.  Correct?  Or, does anybody know?

I'll say, he has been there a long time, that is for certain. Seems like every time I look he is on another board of directors somewhere. I know that he has been on the Saltchuck board for years. He recently sold his home of ten years in Seattle for 5.5 million and bought another for 9 million.  If I recall, Jan Schwarz just was just put on the MGM Resorts board, plus she has been elevated to Group President by Kruse where she heads up Princess and Carnival Australia. 

https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/mgm-resorts-international-expands-board-of-directors-300614126.html

https://www.bloomberg.com/research/stocks/people/person.asp?personId=700702&privcapId=258823

http://www.seatrade-*****/news/news-headlines/jan-swartz-now-group-president-of-princess-cruises-and-carnival-australia.html

https://www.bizjournals.com/seattle/news/2017/09/01/stein-kruse-linda-mansion-for-sale-clyde-hill.html

 

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My first cruise ever was on Ruby Princess in 2011.  My mother-in-law took the whole family on a cruise to celebrate her retiring.

I was hooked and except for one trip have only cruised for vacations since that time.  

 

I find I am partial to the Grand class ships but do not have a favorite, but I did really enjoy my one trip on the Regal Princess.  I missed the aft swimming pool, but the improved buffet made up for it.

 

I will be on the Golden this year for a B2B in Alaska in May.  It will be the first time to have a covered pool.  Hopefully I don't fall in love with her since she will be leaving Princess.  

 

Kim 

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Our first cruise on Princess was back in October 2001.  It was a 14 day btb on the Dawn Princess.  We got married in Barbados on that trip and are still going strong.

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My first Princess cruise was on the Sapphire when it was brand new.  I think we were on it within six months of it being floated out to sea.  What I loved about that ship was it had a steak restaurant, an Asian restaurant, a Southwestern Restaurant, Italian Restaurant and a standard anytime dinning restaurant.  We have always cruised Carnival and I might add we loved each and everyone of our Carnival cruises but our son was getting married and the bride wanted to get married on a Princess ship as it would remind her of the Love Boat weddings.   We cruised to Mexico on a 7 day itinerary and we have sailed Princess mostly since then only to because we wanted to have elite status.  We have cruised other lines as well but we keep coming home to Princess.

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1 hour ago, Gorilla Girl said:

Our first cruise on Princess was back in October 2001.  It was a 14 day btb on the Dawn Princess.  We got married in Barbados on that trip and are still going strong.

I forgot to add that our favorite princess ship is the Regal Princess.  

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First was on the Sun... The Sun class is probably still our favorite ... Or maybe the Coral/Island...

But most all except the new royal class we are happy with ...

Edited by MauiLvrs

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