Grand Princess in Split, Croatia, showing refitted stern
|Port of registry:|
|Ordered:||8 February 1994|
|Yard number:||Monfalcone, 5956|
|Launched:||20 May 1998|
|Christened:||29 September 1998, by Olivia de Havilland|
|Maiden voyage:||27 May 1998|
|Refit:||May 2011, March 2019|
|Type:||Grand-class cruise ship|
|Length:||289.86 m (951 ft 0 in)|
|Beam:||35.97 m (118 ft 0 in)|
|Height:||61.26 m (201 ft 0 in)|
|Draught:||7.92 m (26 ft 0 in)|
|Propulsion:||Two shafts; fixed-pitch propellers|
|Speed:||22.5 knots (41.7 km/h; 25.9 mph) (cruising)|
|Boats & landing |
Grand Princess is a Grand-class cruise ship owned by Princess Cruises. It was built in 1998 by Fincantieri Cantieri Navali Italiani in Monfalcone, Italy, with yard number 5956, at a cost of approximately US$450 million. She was the largest and most expensive passenger ship ever built at the time. Grand Princess was the flagship in the Princess Cruises fleet until the new Royal Princess took that title in June 2013.
Grand Princess was the first of the Grand-class cruise ships, and has a different decor scheme to her sister ships, using darker woods, and the interior decor is more similar to the smaller Sun-class ships. When Grand Princess was launched, she featured in the Princess Cruises brochures as a Sun-class ship; it was only with the subsequent launch of Golden Princess that the Grand class appeared in brochures.
Grand Princess has a large theater, a large central performance lounge, and an aft show lounge.
In May 2011, Grand Princess completed the most extensive dry-dock in Princess Cruises history that included a refit and removal of the passengers lounge from her stern. This resolved her tendency to sail bow high, and has improved her fuel economy by about 3–4%. The bow high tendency was peculiar to Grand Princess, and does not affect any of the other Grand-class ships (or the derivative classes) as unlike Grand Princess they have aluminium upper decks. In March 2019, Grand Princess underwent another dry-dock refurbishment.
On 9 August 2017, a dead humpback whale was found stuck on the bow of the ship after it docked in Ketchikan, Alaska. Princess Cruises issued a statement that said "It is unknown how or when this happened as the ship felt no impact. It is also unknown, at this time, whether the whale was alive or already deceased before becoming lodged on the bow." It was the second time in two years that a whale had been carried into an Alaska port on the bow of a cruise ship.
In March 2020, it was reported that two passengers on the ship's cruise to Mexico of 11–21 February 2020 had contracted the COVID-19 coronavirus disease and one of them had died. The announcement came as the ship approached San Francisco with 3,533 passengers aboard (2,422 guests and 1,111 crew members, with 54 nationalities), some of whom were reporting symptoms consistent with the disease, and the ship was held offshore by authorities for quarantine and testing of some of the passengers and crew.
Another Princess-owned Grand-class ship, Diamond Princess, also had experienced an outbreak of the disease in February 2020, and had been quarantined for nearly a month in Yokohama, Japan; at least 712 out of the 3,711 passengers and crew had contracted the virus, and seven of them had died.
On 5–6 March 2020, while the ship was near the coast of California, the California National Guard's 129th Rescue Wing dropped off and retrieved coronavirus tests. As of 6 March, 46 people on the ship had been tested, and 21 tested positive, including 19 crew and 2 passengers. Among the other 25, one test was inconclusive and the others tests were negative. Grand Princess was allowed to dock on 9 March in the industrial Port of Oakland, and some of the passengers were gradually disembarked, starting with those in acute need of medical treatment. Crew members have been held on the ship for quarantine and treatment, and all disembarking passengers are being tested for the coronavirus and transferred by planes or buses to various military bases in California, Texas, and Georgia for quarantine, while a handful who were treated at hospitals and released were moved to various hotels. On 10 March, Canada flew its citizen passengers to the CFB Trenton military base in Ontario for quarantine there. On 11 March, it was reported that one of the repatriated Canadians had tested positive for the virus after disembarking.
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