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Sea Princess & Grand Princess Set Sail
Alese & Morton Pechter


Sea Princess at the dock.

Out to sail the seas? We cannot believe what has been happening in the world of cruising. Having experienced our first-ever cruise onboard The Sun Princess, and finding, to our surprise, that we really had a great time ... we looked forward to seeing the newest of these ships, The Sea Princess, sister ship to the Sun Princess and the Dawn Princess .... The three ships are identical triplets.

Onboard The Sea Princess for an inaugural introduction to the ship we were treated to many celebrities who come in threes! The Pointer Sisters, with hit song after hit song; Salt-n-Pepa, one of rap's most successful female acts; The Shirelles who were rock'n'rolls's first female super group; My Three Sons, one of the longest-running TV sitcoms in the history of television; Leave It To Beaver, one of TV's most popular sitcoms; Steve Cauthen, the youngest jockey to win the Triple Crown; Mitch Gaylord, the only American gymnast to receive three perfect 10s and Ambrose "Rowdy" Gaines IV, the who, as a swimmer, won three gold medals at the 1984 Olympic Summer Games.

We were convinced that good things come in threes and were delighted to hear that several of these groups will be onboard for cruises at various times throughout the year. Their two state-of-the art showrooms and cabaret, the Vista Lounge, will be filled with highly professional, amazing entertainment. You can also dance the night away in Rocky's Disco.

Our night on the ship was special, though much too short a time to get the full flavor of onboard life. We did get a glimpse and feel for the sumptuous assortment of activities. Walking the teak promenade deck that encircles the entire ship, playing paddle ball and basketball on the sports deck and working off the excess poundage in the fitness center ... gave us a chance to sample the onboard choices offered and the opportunity to be free from any kind of regimentation. If you like to look and admire, the ship boasts a $2.5 million dollar art collection. And for the kids, there is a constant activities schedule in one of the two special areas designed just for them .. the Fun Zone, for children and Wired, for teens. Oh, we even found a Links golf simulator and four, count them, four pools.

A personal engraved invitation from The Lord Sterling of Plaistow, CBE, Executive Chairman, The Peninsular and Oriental Steam Navigation Company and Mr. Timothy Harris, Chairman, Princess Cruises; personal dinner place cards done in calligraphy, and the presence of Lady MacPhail to name the ship, broadcast to us that this is a "class" operation. Even Gavin MacLeod, the Captain of TV's Love Boat was onboard. Amid choral singing and fireworks, the ship left the dock for our overnight experience.

We found everything to be of the highest quality ... the accommodations, 410 staterooms with balconies; the food; they have already won numerous awards for their culinary expertise; the cruise personnel who are there to cater to your every whim. Our one night experience was truly memorable and we cannot wait to be onboard for the exciting itineraries that are planned.



Pool Deck / Grand Princess

And as for The Grand Princess .... WOW! We have seen big and bigger but now we have seen biggest! The Princess Cruise lines has the world's largest and most expensive cruise ship on the waters at this time. The Grand Princess, now sailing the Caribbean (Spring 1999) and Mediterranean (Summer 1999) is 109,000 tons and carries a price tag of $450 million.

Though the ship is overwhelming in physical size... would you believe ... 15 stories high!! .. the architects have designed nooks and corners; seating areas; dining areas and play areas that make you feel as if you are on a much smaller ship. It is easy to find yourself that "quiet corner" to relax and do nothing.

We liked the fact that there were so many choices in dining, entertainment and accommodations that it allowed us to do what we wanted ... when we wanted, and we did not have to vacation by anyone else's idea of what they thought we should be doing. Some of the fun "firsts" for this ship include a beautiful wedding chapel at sea and a virtual reality ride center. As we are swimmers, we loved their new lap pool where we could really get some exercise by swimming against a current.

As for the accommodations ... There are 710 balcony cabins, more than any other cruise ship and they are very affordable. If you select a suite or mini-suite they have the added luxury of personal butlers to cater to your every need, including delivering evening canapes, posting mail, pouring afternoon tea on your balcony, making dinner reservations, etc. We did not get to try this luxury but it sure sounds like a great idea for a future trip.

Starving at 3am? We cannot think how you would be but if so, there is a restaurant open. You can choose from four places for breakfast, seven different ways to have lunch and five options for dinner ... and the Horizon Court is open 24 hours a day.

Even with all this food, there is no reason to gain weight onboard. There is a state-of-the-art fitness center with all the equipment you can dream of, "Cruisercise" classes, basketball and paddle tennis courts, open-air track and a nine-hole putting green. Hooray, we could gouge ourselves with food and not gain an ounce!

Lots for families with children of all ages. Parents relax at the pool or grab a massage while the kids do arts and crafts, splash in their own whale-shaped pool, or play video games. Teenagers have their own teen disco and whirlpool spa and there is a babysitting staff to supervise the kids while you enjoy an elegant dinner.

Medical care is the newest and latest with an unprecedented telemedicine program, SeaMed, which links the ship's medical staff with the emergency department at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles to assist the ship's doctor with emergency medical situations. It allows x-rays, ECG information and other vital statistics to be transmitted to the hospital via satellite. You have access to some of the best medical specialists in the world ... if the need arises.



Gavin macLeod / Captain of TV's Love Boat.

The Sea Princess is traveling the Western Caribbean through April and will reposition through the Panama Canal for summer sailing in Alaska.

The Grand Princess is traveling the Caribbean through April and will be in the Mediterranean for the summer.

Princess Cruises operates a fleet of ten ships with approximately 70 different itineraries calling at more than 230 ports worldwide. The cruises range from seven days to 67 days in length with the destinations including the Caribbean, Alaska, Europe, Panama Canal, Mexico, South Pacific, South America, Hawaii/Tahiti, Orient/Asia, India, Africa, Holy Land, Canada/New England, Bermuda and world voyages.

Cruise Line Information:

Princess Cruises .. 954-525-8520

Gavin MacLeod talks about the Love Boat (Sea Princess).
Rick James on the Grand Princess Ft. Lauderdale.

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© 1999 Alese & Morton Pechter