Carnival Corporation have just announced that Majestic Princess, the third and most recent ship in the Royal Princess class (OK, fourth if you count Britannia) will spend the ‘Austral Summer’ season, from September 2018 to March 2019, home-ported in Sydney. That’s a bit of a surprise because Majestic Princess has been touted as Carnival Corporation’s biggest-yet commitment to the Chinese market.
Majestic Princess was delivered to Princess Cruises earlier this month, and is currently on her maiden voyage (from Civitavecchia back to Civitavecchia). Then she’s set to do a short Mediterranean season before starting a 56-night voyage from Barcelona to Shanghai on 21 May and arriving at Shanghai on 9 July. On the way she’ll call at Dubai, Cochin, Colombo, Penang, Singapore, Bangkok, Ho Chi Minh city, Hong Kong, and several ports in Japan, plus other ports too numerous to mention.
Interestingly you can’t search for any more Majestic Princess cruises on the Princess website after that date (July 2017). I assume that she will be spending the next year-and-a-bit cruising from Shanghai, on itineraries that aren’t bookable from the main Princess website. If so she will certainly be spending the first winter (2017/18) sailing out of China, but not her second – that’s when she’ll be undertaking these voyages out of Sydney. Is it possible that bookings for the first winter aren’t meeting expectations?
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Readers may already know about the actions by crew and engineering officers on board several Princess ships, including Caribbean Princess, that has led to Princess Cruises being fined $40m for marine pollution. Essentially, on some ships the practice of discharging untreated (and therefore contaminated) bilgewater into the sea had arisen. These actions were apparently reported by a British engineering crew member (possibly temporary?) who reported them to UK authorities when the ship he was on (Caribbean Princess) reached Southampton. This was in 2013; Princess and various authorities have been investigating ever since, and the fine represents a proposed final settlement. It’s being dealt with in the US legal system and I’m not quite sure why that is, but perhaps it’s because there’s a very tangled international web here: the incident that was first reported occurred in UK waters; then it was discovered that the unlawful practices were commonly followed on the relevant ships on cruises all over the world; the ship was registered in the Bahamas, I believe; and Princess Cruises is ultimately an American corporation. So I suppose the ultimate sanction could only come via the US legal system.
Here are a few links: first, to a detailed story about the affair, and secondly to a page on the Princess website that gives Princess Cruises’ response. To their credit, they have not tried to minimise the seriousness of the issue but have cooperated with the authorities and have made appropriate changes internally.
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