Princess Cruises’ 13-year old Grand Princess (1998/108,806gt) has lost her distinctive ‘shopping trolley’ profile during a major refit at Grand Bahama Shipyard between 11 April and 4 May. Skywalkers Nightclub, above the ship’s stern on Deck 18 and weighing 211 tons, was removed to improve fuel efficiency by around five per cent.
The 2,600-passenger Grand Princess was the first of a series built for Princess and used a heavier material for the ‘handle’ than younger sisters Golden Princess (2001) and Star Princess (2002), so there are no plans to remove them from these two ships.
In addition to the removal of Skywalkers, a considerable amount of refurbishment work was undertaken in the lower decks to bring the ship in line with her newer fleetmates. A new piazza and pizzeria were constructed on the lower level of the atrium, the casino was moved to Deck 6 and ten new suites were created.
The ‘new’ Grand Princess debuts on 5 May with a 16-day transatlantic repositioning from Port Everglades to her summer homeport of Southampton, from where she sails on a variety of itineraries in Europe.