Princess Cruises 2012-13 salings to open with a bang

Normally, cruise line ship deployment for upcoming seasons is a mysterious event that unfolds over time. Experienced travelers want to book as far in advance as possible but are often kept waiting this time of the year for next year’s deployment schedule to come out. This year, Princess Cruises, for the first time ever, is releasing all sailings for Summer 2012 through Spring 2013 at one time.

All sailings will be available to book starting March 17, 2011 at 3PM Eastern time. That is of particular interest to undecided travelers, trying to weigh options on where and when they might sail. Before, small pieces of the deployment puzzle would be doled out a little at a time over a period of months. Waiting for all options to consider might have meant losing out on the best stateroom selection or pricing.
Princess has good reason for this mass deployment schedule too. In the 2012-13 season, the line will have it’s biggest deployment ever in Europe with more than 125 voyages to the most popular places.

In addition, Princess will sail seven ships to Alaska with 21 cruisetour options. Normally we have to wait until the current season is almost over before knowing what will be offered for the next season. That’s huge and only Princess is doing it. That is a real testament to their commitment to the Alaska market that buyers should not forget when making a buying decision. No “wait and see what happens” attitude here, they’re ready to go right now. This is consistent with many reasons why Princess is the line to see Alaska with.

Earlier we reported that Crown Princess would be returning to Galveston….yes, Galveston, the home port with the fog problems but a hungry cruise audience. They have not sailed from there in years but join sister-line Carnival Cruise Lines who will debut shiny new Carnival Magic in the U.S. from the Texas port.

“We’ve received a great deal of feedback from cruisers interested in sailing from Galveston again,” said Jan Swartz, Princess Cruises executive vice president. “So we’re excited to be returning in 2012 to bring our Western Caribbean sailings back to Texas.”

There must be some good things happening in Galveston for these two cruise titans to put such fabulous hardware in a location that has been considered secondary to traditional Florida homeports, let alone debut ports.

Continuing their “we sail more ships to more places than anyone else” thing, Princess has more voyages than ever to South America, the exotic Amazon, Asia, Canada & New England, the Panama Canal, Tahiti, the South Pacific and even epic cruises around the whole world.

If that’s not enough, Princess also has special Launch Savings of up to $200 per couple for members of their Captains Circle past guest club and the line has sweetened the deal for groups too, offering some of the most generous benefits of all cruise lines.

There is a lot going on at Princess Cruises these days for sure. Your travel agent can sort through all the options and help you find the best values for you. Be it your first cruise or your 100th, Princess has set themselves up for a record year of great values like no other line.

Love Boat captain cruises to 80th birthday, at sea of course

Love Boat Captain birthday

On one of television’s longest running shows he was Captain Merrill Stubing of The Love Boat, cruising through 10 seasons from 1977 to 1986. Gavin MacLeod celebrated his 80th birthday this week along with friends, family and crew members aboard Princess Cruises Golden Princess in Los Angeles.

While the show stopped production in 1986, MacLeod has been “at sea” as Princess Cruises spokesperson. This year marks his 25th anniversary with the line and fans still gather wherever he may be appearing. Still in syndication in 92 countries worldwide, The Love Boat has generated what one expert estimates at over $3 billion in sales for the cruise industry.But my how far things have come since kindly Captain Stubing and the gang rode the high seas on national television. The 20,636 ton Pacific Princess that sailed for Princess Cruises between 1975 and 2002 carried 646 passengers and was seen as seen as one of the latest and greatest of ships, setting the table for a feast of unprecedented growth in the cruise industry.

Today’s latest and greatest ships are easily ten times larger carrying close to ten times more passengers. You can bet that if Captain Merril Stubing was in command, he would know every one of their names too. Happy Birthday Gavin.

Leggo my Love Boat

Lego Love boatWhat took more than 250,000 LEGO bricks, six months to build, measures 10.5 feet long and five feet high? That would be a full scale model of the original Pacific Princess Love Boat built by professional LEGO builder Ryan McNaught.

The son of a Melbourne, Australia travel agent, the 36-year-old McNaught was inspired by the many cruises he has enjoyed over the years.

“I wanted to do something with character so I chose the original Love Boat, Pacific Princess, and studied photos and deck plans to capture her features and her beauty,” McNaught said.

One of only 12 certified LEGO builders in the world, McNaught’s model shows the exterior of the famous Princess Cruises TV ship on one side. The other side is a cutaway showing everything from chefs in the kitchen to passengers working out in the health club. Captain Stubing, Gopher and cruise director Julie, along with some of the show’s most famous guests such as David Hasselhoff are on board too.

Looks like the Love Boat will be making another run too. After showing the creation in Australia, McNaught now plans to move it to Chicago for Brickworld, one of the largest LEGO conventions in the world.

Flickr photos by TheBrickMan

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