(6:30 p.m. EDT) – Princess Cruises revealed Thursday that its first new Sphere-class cruise ship will be named Sun Princess and offered initial details about the experiences that await passengers aboard the largest ship to ever debut for the line.
The first in an entirely new class of ship for Princess, Sun Princess will carry over 4,000 passengers when it debuts in the Mediterranean in early 2024. Already under construction at the Fincantieri shipyards in Italy, Sun Princess will offer plenty of new features to the line, including multi-level dining rooms, a dedicated suite category with its own restaurant and lounge, panoramic Piazza atrium space and the first-ever glass-encased geodesic dome at sea, covering an indoor-outdoor space that is part pool deck, part entertainment venue.
It will be the 11th Carnival Corporation vessel powered by Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) technology.
“Everything we do with Princess now is about how we can drive innovation,” Princess Cruises President John Padgett told Cruise Critic in an exclusive interview. “We can take the guest experience to the next level, but also at the same time embrace our heritage.
“That’s really what you see with Sun Princess. It’s everything our guests have loved about the Royal class, all taken to the next level with just a few iconic features, more of literally everything.”
Sun Princess: An evolution of the Princess Cruises brand
The new Sun Princess – the third vessel in the line’s history to bear the name – will debut in early 2024 in Europe before crossing the Atlantic to make its home in Port Everglades (Fort Lauderdale), Florida, where it will sail a season of Western and Eastern Caribbean cruises.
“It’s basically princess,” Padgett said of Sun Princess. “It’s not meant to be a revolutionary ship. It’s meant to be evolutionary. And that’s why we chose the Sun Princess name, to make sure we tell the world, ‘Hey, we embrace our heritage. We love what Princess is all about And we can keep pushing into the future to give everyone more of what they love.'”
To that end, Sun Princess will still offer things former Princess passengers have grown to love, like the Crooners Martini Bar; the relaxing Sanctuary Sun Deck; and Princess’ trademark Piazza Atrium, which first debuted aboard Crown Princess in 2006 as a combination atrium and entertainment space.
Princess greatly expanded its Piazza atrium concept aboard its Royal-class vessels such as Royal Princess, and now further enhances it aboard Sun Princess with convertible LED screens, an expanded space and panoramic ocean views.
New suite area on board Sun Princess
Sun Princess will also debut an all-new suite accommodation known as the Signature Collection, which will provide access to its exclusive Signature Restaurant, Signature Lounge and Signature Sun Deck, the latter of which is a private area of the Sanctuary sun deck.
Club Class accommodation aboard Sun Princess and the rest of the fleet will now be renamed The Reserve Collection. These premium mini-suite cabins will offer a new category, Reserve Collection Cabanas, offering a private balcony and cabana, an extra-large outdoor lounge area.
On board Sun Princess, Reserve Collection cabins will also have access to the Reserve Collection Restaurant, designed exclusively for those staying at this level of accommodation.
The ship will also offer standard cabin qualities to suit every taste and budget. What’s more, standard balconies will now offer an in-room sofa; a significant change from Princess Cruises’ previous stateroom layout, which has only offered a desk and chair in standard balcony staterooms.
The dome aboard the Sun Princess
Princess has long used easily recognizable architectural elements to define its ships. The former 1990-1991 Crown Princess and King included a “whale dome” on top designed by architect Renzo Piano, making these vessels some of the most photographed of the 1990s. Early Grand Class ships had their elevated Skywalker’s Disco located high above the ship’s stern.
Now Sun Princess will have The Dome: a glass room that can easily identify the ship at a glance. It covers a multi-level covered deck that has an indoor/outdoor pool with a unique water feature and comfortable places to relax. At night, the pool will turn into a stage and The Dome will become a South Beach-style entertainment venue that will feature aerial performances and advanced lighting effects.
“The Dome is definitely a landmark that everyone is asking about and everyone is excited about,” Padgett said. “It’s the first geodesic glass-covered dome on a ship, which is really neat from an architectural point of view. But more importantly, that’s what it does for the overall guest experience. It allows for a multi-purpose facility on the upper deck that has this terrace, has a beautiful lounge for experience and enjoyment during the day out in the sun, but not really in the sun.”
Padgett tells Cruise Critic that The Dome is also designed to act as a kind of secondary Piazza: an entertainment venue that passengers will want to hang out day and night.
Sun Princess debuts in 2024, Voyages goes on sale Friday
Princess Cruises states that further details about the upcoming Sun Princess will be revealed as the ship’s launch approaches.
Sun Princess will debut in early 2024 in the Mediterranean before later moving across the Atlantic to run Eastern and Western Caribbean cruises from Port Everglades (Fort Lauderdale), Florida.
The ship’s first three cruises will go on sale at 3:00 p.m. ET on Friday, September 16, 2022 to the general public, although former elite passengers with the line can book these sailings immediately.
A sister ship to the Sun Princess is scheduled to enter service in 2025. Princess Cruises’ latest ship, the Royal-class Discovery Princess, debuted earlier this year.