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Princess Cruises History

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Exterior shot of Caribbean Princess in port with palm trees
Norwegian Cruise Line logo

Who is Princess Cruises' CEO? Jan Swartz (2013 –)

What year was Princess Cruises founded? 1965

Which vessels are in the Princess Cruises fleet?

  • Caribbean Princess
  • Coral Princess
  • Crown Princess
  • Diamond Princess
  • Emerald Princess
  • Enchanted Princess
  • Grand Princess
  • Island Princess
  • Majestic Princess
  • Pacific Princess
  • Regal Princess
  • Royal Princess
  • Ruby Princess
  • Sapphire Princess
  • Sea Princess
  • Sky Princess
  • Star Princess
  • Sun Princess
  • See the complete list.

    Contact your cruise line.


    Founded by Stanley McDonald, Princess Cruises began with the chartering of Canadian Pacific Ltd.'s Princess Patricia from 1965 to 1966, offering Caribbean sailings, and Italia (which sailed as Princess Italia) shortly thereafter in 1967. The latter featured Alaska cruises from the U.S. West Coast but eventually went on to sail for Costa Cruises when the Princess charter was canceled in 1973; another swap was made between the two lines when Carla C. left Costa to join the Princess fleet as Princess Carla in 1968, staying with Princess until 1970.

    In 1974, nine years after Princess' inception, the line was acquired by P&O Cruises, and P&O gifted Princess what would become the original Sun Princess, which sailed with Princess Cruises until 1988. (The current Sun Princess became a part of the fleet in 1995.) The same year, P&O also purchased what eventually became the first Pacific Princess (sailing for Princess from 1975 to 2002) and Island Princess (which sailed for Princess from 1974 to 1999); those two vessels would become the main backdrops for the popular TV series "The Love Boat." (The book on which the series was based was partially penned aboard Princess Carla the previous decade.)

    In 1978, P&O purchased another ship, which sailed off and on as Sea Princess until 1981, when it was replaced by another ship of the same name.

    The line's first new-build joined the fleet in 1984 as Royal Princess, a name which would be held by two more ships throughout the line's history -- the first in 2007 and the second in 2013.

    In 1988, two Cunard ships joined the roster of Princess hardware as Dawn Princess and Fair Princess. (A new Dawn Princess joined the fleet in 1997 and left 20 years later to sail as P&O Australia's Pacific Explorer.) Following P&O's acquisition of Sitmar Line, also in 1988, Princess received Fairsky (Sky Princess) and three planned new-builds: Star Princess in 1989, Crown Princess in 1990 and Regal Princess in 1991. (Regal Princess left the fleet in 2007 and now sails for P&O Cruises Australia as Pacific Dawn; a new Regal Princess made its debut in 2014.)

    In 1993, the fleet gained Golden Princess, which sailed with the line for only three years. (It now sails for Fred. Olsen Cruises as Boudicca.)

    When Grand Princess launched in 1998, it heralded a new era (and class) for Princess. Among the innovations were two now-classic Princess signature offerings -- Movies Under the Stars (affectionately known as "MUTS") and the Sanctuary adults-only sun deck. Other Grand-class ships launched throughout the 2000s: Golden Princess (2001), Star Princess (2002), Diamond Princess (2004), Caribbean Princess (2004), Sapphire Princess (2004), Crown Princess (2006), Emerald Princess (2007) and Ruby Princess (2008).

    In 2003, industry giant Carnival Corporation merged with Princess' parent company, U.K.-based P&O Cruises.

    The line's Royal Class debuted in 2013 with Royal Princess, which was followed by Regal Princess in 2014, Majestic Princess in 2017, Sky Princess in 2019 and Enchanted Princess in 2020. Signature features of this newest ship evolution include an expanded Piazza, the first-ever SeaWalk (a cantilevered, glass-enclosed walkway) and an interactive television studio called Princess Live!

    The line currently three more new-build in the works (a last Royal-class ship, and two new-class ships), slated for delivery in 2021, 2023 and 2025.

Updated February 21, 2020

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