Sun Princess Maiden Voyage Delayed: Unforeseen Challenges Disrupt Cruise Industry Anticipation

Princess Cruises and Fincantieri Navigate Setbacks as Highly Anticipated Cruise Ship Delivery Faces Unexplained Postponement


Princess Cruises and Fincantieri have jointly announced a delay in the delivery of the highly anticipated Sun Princess cruise ship, a mere two weeks prior to its originally scheduled maiden voyage. The decision, shrouded in mystery, has left industry observers speculating about the underlying causes behind this unforeseen development. Both the cruise line and the esteemed Italian shipbuilder refrained from divulging specific details regarding the rationale behind the deferment or offering insights into the revised timeline for the ship’s commissioning.

A spokesperson representing Princess Cruises, a prominent Carnival Corporation subsidiary, informed Travel Weekly, the esteemed travel agent trade, that the setback is attributed to “unforeseen challenges” encountered at Fincantieri. Regrettably, this delay has compelled the cancellation of the ship’s inaugural 10-day journey, initially slated to embark from Barcelona on February 8th. The company, while having cancelled one voyage, has refrained from disclosing a new projected delivery date, leaving cruise enthusiasts and industry stakeholders in suspense.

John Padgett, President of Princess Cruises, expressed understanding of the disappointment surrounding this announcement, extending sincere apologies for the inconvenience caused. The Sun Princess, with an approximate gross tonnage of 175,500 and accommodations for 4,300 passengers alongside 1,150 crew members, stands as a flagship vessel in a two-ship order placed by Carnival Corporation in July 2018. These sister ships, each boasting a 20 percent increase in size compared to their predecessors, mark significant milestones as the first LNG dual-fuel cruise ships constructed by Fincantieri and the largest cruise ships ever built in Italy to date.

The Sun Princess, the third vessel bearing this name, was ceremoniously floated out at the Monfalcone shipyard in Italy on March 8, 2023, with sea trials conducted in both November 2023 and a little over a week ago. Delays in ship deliveries are not unprecedented, often stemming from last-minute alterations or challenges in completing the vessel’s outfitting. Fincantieri faced a notable delay last summer with the Explora I cruise ship due to fireproofing material certification issues, eventually delivering the vessel after addressing the necessary remediation measures.

The abrupt announcement has left loyal patrons of Princess Cruises expressing their dismay, particularly given the short notice before the maiden voyage. Many had eagerly awaited this voyage since Princess began accepting bookings for the Sun Princess in April 2023. As the disappointment resonates within the cruise community, attention now turns to the future, where the keel for the sister ship, Star Princess, was recently laid down at the Monfalcone shipyard on December 11. Scheduled to commence operations in August 2025 in the Mediterranean before repositioning to the Caribbean, the Star Princess represents the next chapter in Princess Cruises’ ongoing commitment to delivering exceptional maritime experiences.

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