Princess adds Med cruise capacity for 2010

Princess adds Med cruise capacity for 2010

Princess Cruises has extended its season of summer sailings from Southampton next year in response to strong demand for cruises from the UK.

The cruiseline's 2010 Mediterranean brochure, redesigned to feel more like a magazine, goes on sale from Monday April 20, and also features a selection of new seven-night cruises on the 670-passenger Ocean Princess.

Two depart from Dover, visiting Holland, Denmark and Norway, the rest are flycruises from Civitaveccia, the port for Rome, and between Civitavecchia and Athens. Ocean Princess will also be sailing an 18-night Land of the Midnight Sun round-trip cruise from Dover to Spitsbergen and Murmansk.

In all, Princess will have six ships sailing in Europe for 2010, the same as this year.

Grand Princess returns to Southampton for cruises to the Mediterranean, Ruby Princess will be sailing 12-night voyages between Barcelona and Venice and around the Greek Islands, and Crown Princess will be operating 12-night itineraries from Southampton to the Norwegian fjords and Iceland.

Star Princess replaces Emerald Princess in the Baltic, where Princess offers 10-night flycruises from Copenhagen, Ocean Princess - currently Tahitian Princess but it's name is to be changed in November - will be sailing the seven-night short cruises, while Pacific Princess replaces Royal Princess in the Black Sea and Aegean.

Princess Cruises head of brand marketing Pieter van der Schee said there is 18% more capacity on Grand Princess out of Southampton in 2010.

That follows an increase in capacity this summer when the 2,600-passenger Grand Princess makes its ex-UK debut, replacing the 1,950-passenger Sea Princess.

Van der Schee said: "Grand Princess has been well received this year with strong bookings and good support from the trade so it was right to move to the bigger ship with more facilities." The ship offers Movies under the Stars and has a new adults-only Sanctuary area.

"With the additional sailings next year, we are expecting more growth on our Southampton cruises in 2010."

Van der Schee said the seven-night cruises work well, giving passengers time to relax and see a few destinations. "We expect the ex-UK short cruises to be popular with both UK and international passengers." On the longer cruises from Southampton, 80% of passengers are from the UK.

Seven-night cruises from the UK start from £599 per person, with 14-night Southampton sailings from £1,099 per person. Passengers who book before the end of November will receive free coach transfers to Southampton or parking at the port.

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