In many ways, Princess is P&O with an American accent, but in recent years it has been more innovative and it is first to get newly-designed ships. It had been operating its Grand Class vessels for some years before P&O launched the similar Ventura and Azura; Royal and Regal Princess are the blueprints for P&O’s Britannia. Princess’s interior décor is widely regarded as bland but is that necessarily a bad thing? Not everyone wants to be shocked by Joe Farcus’s excesses found elsewhere in Carnival Corporation.
Continued reliance on its Love Boat heritage – the cast were godparents to Regal Princess in 2014 – suggests an unhealthy dependence on a generation which was more active in the 70s and 80s, but I have seen young honeymoon couples embarking Princess ships in Southampton and Fort Lauderdale. UK viewers sampled a taste of Princess cruising with the TV documentary series The Cruise Ship, which played to a mixed reception last summer.
The future of the line’s two smaller ships, former R-class vessels Ocean and Pacific Princess, is less clear – both could be sold if the right buyer came along. In the Caribbean year-round, Princess offers extensive summer itineraries around Europe and seasonal programmes to South America, Alaska, the Mexican Riviera, Hawaii & Tahiti, Asia, Canada & New England, Australia and New Zealand. Gratuities not included.