Princess Cruises’ newest ship, Discovery Princess returned to the port of Los Angeles after its first full revenue cruise this past Sunday. It was a momentous moment for the cruise line as it marks the last ship in the line’s now marquee Royal-class of ship. It was also momentous for Captain Gennaro Arma, who’s last charge with passengers was the Diamond Princess during its ill-fated winter 2020 season in Japan.
“Being here today and we are about to complete our inaugural voyage has been exciting for me,” Captain Arma told Travel Market Report onboard the Discovery Princess. “It has been a moment I’ve been looking forward to for two long years. Having guests around, feeling the joy, the noise. Seeing the guests come up the gangway the other day it was quite emotional for me, because it was again real.”
“I believe we all, over the past two years, wondered if we would ever realize the dream of cruising again. And here we come now with the newest ship in the fleet, fulfilling our dreams again.”
The Captain told TMR that while he’s been on several ships during the pandemic while they waited for the restart it was never the same without passengers onboard. “I could feel that there was something missing and clearly the missing part was the most important, the guests.”
“Being in Los Angeles, in San Pedro, and having guests onboard, I could see the puzzle completed.”
Last Royal-Class Ship
With the launch of Discovery Princess, Princess Cruises shuts the book on the Royal Class, which added six ships to the fleet beginning with Royal Princess in 2013.
“Our Royal Class ships have been the perfect evolution for the fleet and each of the six ships has reflected a continued progression from Royal Princess in 2013 to Discovery Princess in 2022,” said John Padgett, president of Princess Cruises.
Signature elements of the class include the Enclave thermal suite, Good Spirits at Sea bar, and the over-the-ocean glass walkway SeaWalk. Newer additions to the class include the Take Five jazz lounge, Bistro Sur La Mer, a Piazza gelato bar and the Sky Suites, each found only on Sky Princess, Enchanted Princess, and Discovery Princess.
Advisors familiar with the Royal-class will find a couple of minor differences on Discovery Princess. Alfredo’s Pizzeria has been renamed Gigi’s in honor of a long-serving executive at Fincantieri, the shipyard at which all the Royal-class ships were built. It’s also only the second Princess ship to have a dedicated Salty Dog Gastropub location in the heart of the piazza. It takes the spot previously occupied by Vines Wine Bar, which has been nixed entirely. (You’ll find both Gigi’s and Salty Dog Gastropub on Enchanted Princess.)
Next for Princess will be the Sphere Class, which Padgett says will build on what the line has done with the Royal Class. “For our next-generation ship, we’re evolving to something completely different – but inspired by the best of our Royal Class vessels... The next Princess ship will deliver even more amenities at larger scale while retaining small ship personalized service.”
Discovery Princess is sailing a short series of Mexican Riviera and California coastal voyages through April 24, before traveling north for a season in Alaska. It will be named at a ceremony at the Port of Los Angeles on April 29. The line has yet to announce a godmother.