Improving the classics

Princess Cruises is extending the possibilities of its brand
Improving the classics

By Michele Witthaus |

With Royal Princess set to debut in June 2013 and Regal Princess in spring 2014, there is much for Princess Cruises to prepare for as the 141,000-ton, 3,600-passenger vessels are built by Fincantieri at its shipyard in Monfalcone. “The design of these new-generation ships is an evolution of the line’s classic style, while including some new areas and expanded spaces,” says the company’s president, Buckelew. “We’re excited to introduce this new design while still staying true to the signature features that have become emblematic of the Princess experience.”

The commitment to fresh ships is matched by a venture into new source markets: Princess has made a strong commitment to Japan with Sun Princess. How is the line adapting its offering for Japanese cruise guests? “We have had good success with our UK and Australia custom deployments where we’ve slightly modified the onboard product to customise for the market,” explains Buckelew. “We are using this model with our upcoming Japan deployment, which is three times larger than that of any competitive international cruise programme, with superior itineraries specifically designed for the Japanese market. It’s the first time a global cruise line is offering a full season of cruises from April to July 2013 specifically designed for passengers from Japan.”

The Japanese cruise experience will be substantially the same as the Princess Cruises product, providing an extensive array of dining and entertainment options in addition to the line’s signature innovations, such as the Movies Under the Stars poolside theatre and The Sanctuary, an exclusive top-deck retreat. However, Buckelew says, “modifications will be made, including key passenger-facing positions, which will be filled by Japanese-speaking crew members. Dining room menus will offer international Princess cuisine while additional offerings will cater to Japanese tastes, and there will be an a la carte sushi bar. A specially designed enrichment programme will include an expert lecture series on art, culture and history.” There will also be a wide range of excursions tailored for guests from the region.

In addition to investment in new ships and hitherto unexplored markets, Princess has been working on ways to maximise onboard revenue. “We have a multitude of offerings that carry a charge and enhance the overall Princess experience, such as The Sanctuary and our speciality dining options,” says Buckelew. “While the opportunities are good for onboard revenue, we also consider how it impacts the passenger opinion of our brand. We rely on repeat passengers so our strategy for onboard revenue takes into account the fact that we want to keep them coming back to Princess and for them to feel like they’re receiving a great value in return for an amazing experience.”

Keeping abreast of environmental regulations is a priority and Princess has won several awards for environmental compliance. “We are committed to environmental practices which set a high standard for excellence and responsibility, and which help preserve the marine environment in which we operate,” remarks Buckelew. “We have defined clear environmental goals and policies and we have established strict lines of responsibility and accountability within our company for adhering to these guidelines, providing our shipboard staff with the equipment, expertise and training to achieve our environmental standards.”

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