The innovative Royal Princess entertainment venues include a live television studio with audience.
Without a doubt, the biggest news in cruising right now involves the introduction of two brand new cruise ships next year. First is Norwegian Breakaway in April, 2013, less than a year away. That ship will sail year round from New York City, going to Bermuda in the summer and the Caribbean in the colder months. The hull artwork will be designed by Peter Max.
But following close on her keel will be the beautiful Royal Princess, a completely new top-down ship design for Princess Cruise Line - slated to arrive in June of 2013. The new Princess ship will provide 3600 passenger berths on a ship of 141,000 gross tons. She is currently under construction at the Fincantieri shipyards in Monfalcone, Italy.
Princess has been releasing details about Royal Princess slowly and teasingly for months now, mostly through online video presentations you can watch online. Two of the most recent videos discussed the entertainment venues and their décor.
Princess Live! The TV Studio
The most interesting new entertainment venue by far will be the brand new "Princess Live! Television Studio." Although neither daily television shows nor T.V. production rooms are new to cruise ships, this will be the first ship with a dedicated live television studio, including an audience, to tape daily cruise shows for onboard broadcast. The room has a modular design, much like a regular television studio, so staging and seating areas can be easily reconfigured to suit a variety of entertainment offerings.
Princess entertainment director Marlin Hall describes it as a "brand new high-tech venue based on a television studio with modular seating (for 280 guests) for a variety of performances such as television talk shows or theater in the round." The shows, which will be taped with a live audience, will include music performances as well as passenger participation game shows, which he says have become a staple on Princess over the years. Everything done there can be seen live in the audience, over the stateroom television and re-broadcasted on the television systems later in the cruise.
Early risers are welcome to come and watch the live broadcast and taping of the daily cruise director-hosted talk show, "The Wake Show." Here the cruise director will chat with various entertainers or ship's personnel - whomever he can manage to rustle up early in the morning, to come and discuss what cruisers may see that day or later on in the cruise. The "Wake Show!" will be presented to the studio audience plus simultaneously broadcast live to the staterooms. It will also be repeated on stateroom televisions throughout the same day.
For musical entertainment, Vice President of Entertainment, Martin Hall, stressed that Princess Live! will also be a unique venue for onboard musical artists to perform "unplugged and in the round" for a more intimate connection with the audience. The adjacent Princess Live! Café will surround passengers with interactive, wall-mounted video screens showing the ship's position, ports of call, points of interest and even international newspapers. The Café will serve up specialty coffees, teas and freshly squeezed citrus juice, plus will offer a selection of fresh-baked croissants and pastries in the morning.
How do you like the idea of a live morning show broadcast on your cruise ship? Comment here.
Other Entertainment Venues
On the video virtual tour of the new Royal Princess' entertainment venues Princess Cruises Executive Vice President of Fleet Operations, Rai Caluori, and Vice President of Entertainment, Martin Hall, also showed us the main showroom, Princess Theater, where the ship's production shows and "state of the art movie presentations" will take place.
There will be some design enhancements over previous ships - such as lower ceiling and an architectural lighting effect that appears to completely envelop the walls and ceiling. The theater will be the largest in the fleet and will "present the signature production shows and high impact award winning entertainers in the evening, with special enrichment presentations (lectures on ports of call, for example) and a premium movie-going experience during the daytime," according to Hall.
The other new venue, the Deck Seven-aft "Vista Lounge" (a signature Princess venue throughout the fleet) will be for "more intimate entertainment" with "cutting edge light and sound technology" that will pair the best of previous Vista Lounges with another signature Princess venue, "Club Fusion," the late-night dance clubs on late-model fleet-mate Princess ships. The showroom includes a spacious dance floor and will feature live dance bands, late night comedy, rock 'n roll shows, cabaret, and special theme night parties.
How do you like the new Royal Princess design so far? Comment here.
2013 Europe and Caribbean Sailings Open
The inaugural season of Royal Princess, beginning June 16, 2013 on, is already on sale although the very first inaugural seven-day Iberian Voyage from London to Vigo (Spain), Lisbon, Gibraltar, Malaga and Barcelona is completely sold out. But you can book the following 12-day "Maiden Mediterranean Voyage" sailing June 23 from Barcelona to Florence, Rome, Naples, Mykonos, Istanbul, Kusudasi, Athens and Venice. That cruise starts at $2359 for interior, $3379 for balcony, $3999 for mini-suites and $6799 for suites (all prices are per person, double occupancy).
But for the best deal I suggest waiting for the 18 day trans-Atlantic Royal Princess CruiseMates Cruise sailing October 9th and including an eight-night regular voyage through the Mediterranean followed by a lanquid nine-day crossing of the Atlantic to bring this incredible new ship to Ft. Lauderdale for its United States debut.
Our CruiseMates cruise starts in Venice with an overnight on the ship so you have plenty of time to see the most beautiful city in the world without getting a hotel. Next stop is Messina Sicily followed by Naples, Rome, Cannes and then Barcelona. During the crossing we stop for a day in Funchal on the remote Portuguese island of Madeira, some 1250 miles from the nearest continent (actually Africa). Seven more days at sea brings us to Ft. Lauderdale.
This cruise starts at a mere $1699 per person with balconies at just $2099 and mini-suites at $2799. Considering you get a real European cruise plus a leisurely crossing on an outstanding brand new ship this is a true bargain. The best part is that you see Europe but only have to fly home from Ft. Lauderdale, saving you some money on airfare over a European cruise. You also get to see the ship before she arrives in the U.S. for the first time.
Does the Royal Princess appeal to you enough to take a cruise? Comment here.