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Princess Cruises just unveiled its biggest ship ever — and it’s loaded with new features

by Staff

The most notable new Princess Cruises ship in over a decade is finally here.

The much-awaited, 21-deck Sun Princess — the biggest and most venue-packed Princess ship ever — began its first sailing with paying passengers Wednesday after an 20-day delay.

The 4,300-passenger vessel, originally scheduled to debut Feb. 8, departed from Civitavecchia, Italy (the port for Rome), late in the day on a 10-night sailing across the Mediterranean.

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The initial itinerary for Sun Princess will take it to Naples and the island of Sicily in Italy; Piraeus (the port for Athens) and the island of Crete in Greece; Kusadasi, Turkey; and Mallorca and Barcelona in Spain.

“This is an historic day as our new Sun Princess sets sail on her inaugural voyage, and our guests get to experience our sensational, next-level Love Boat firsthand,” John Padgett, Princess Cruises’ president, said Wednesday as the vessel began its first voyage. “The ship is a magnificent showcase of advanced design, technology and craftsmanship, with elevated spaces and experiences all focused on taking the Princess vacation experience to a new level.”

Under development for more than six years, Sun Princess is the first of Princess’ new Sphere Class of vessels. They have been designed to be significantly bigger than previous Princess ships and offer several notable new-for-the-line features.

Related: Princess is getting creative with its newest ship

Among the most significant new offerings, Sun Princess is the first Princess ship with suites that come with exclusive access to a private restaurant, lounge and sun deck — part of an effort to draw more upscale customers to the brand.

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Additionally, Sun Princess offers an innovative new type of “cabana cabin” along the ship’s extra-wide 10th deck that comes with access to a private deck area. Plus, the top deck of the ship received some unusual-for-Princess sizzle with the addition of a glass-dome-topped pool area that transforms into a nightspot after the sun goes down.

Other notable differences between Sun Princess and earlier Princess ships include the lack of a buffet restaurant on its main pool deck. But don’t worry, buffet lovers: There still is a buffet-like venue on the ship. It’s eight decks below the pool deck, closer to the ship’s central piazza and just off its outside promenade.

Sun Princess will have suites in a new suite area of the ship. PRINCESS CRUISES

The ship’s main theater, to be called the Princess Arena, also has a new look. Its new-for-Princess, in-the-round shape can be converted into a more traditional proscenium-type theater or a keyhole-type theater to allow for different types of productions.

Among other standout venues, Sun Princess features a secret hideaway for magical performances designed in partnership with the Magic Castle performance venue in Los Angeles.

The biggest Princess Cruises ship ever

At 177,882 gross tons, Sun Princess is about 22% bigger than the biggest ships in the Princess fleet until now. Although 22% bigger, it’s designed to hold just 17% more passengers.

In other words, its space-to-passenger ratio is greater, making the ship feel roomier — if only modestly.

The arrival of Sun Princess marks the first time Princess has launched a new class of ship in nearly 11 years.

Related: The 3 types of Princess ships, explained

Sun Princess will initially sail in Europe through the fall before repositioning to Fort Lauderdale, Florida, for voyages to the Caribbean. Fares start at $577 per person, not including taxes and fees, for a seven-night Caribbean sailing.

A second ship in the new Sphere Class series, to be called Star Princess, is on order from the Fincantieri shipyard in Monfalcone, Italy, for delivery in 2025. Its first voyage is scheduled for Aug. 4, 2025, and will take place in the Mediterranean.

TPG will be reporting live from Sun Princess starting March 9.

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