Princess Cruises has announced that the Grand Princess, formally based year-round in Southampton, will be cruising from San Francisco from May 2013.
The California-based cruise line has decided to relocate the recently renovated 2,600 passenger ship to San Francisco from next year. The former flagship will offer year-round cruises to destinations including Alaska, Hawaii and Mexico — combining stunning summer coastlines and winter-sun beaches.
Princess Cruises' Executive Vice President, Jan Swartz, said: "Our Bay Area passengers and travel agents have long been asking for more cruise options from San Francisco, and our new year-round schedule with Grand Princess will now give them a great selection of itinerary."
Grand Princess will offer 10 day Alaska cruises from May until September, before beginning her winter programme of Mexican, California and Hawaiian cruises. The ship underwent a huge overhaul in 2011 and will no doubt prove to be popular in her new home.
Crown Princess will then replace Grand Princess in Southampton from next year. The 3,080 passenger ship sees Princess Cruises increasing the ex-UK capacity by nearly 400 passengers a week. With Crown Princess replacing Grand Princess and the forthcoming Royal Princess set to sail in Europe during 2013, Princess Cruises will have their youngest fleet yet, based here.
UK Director Paul Ludlow said: "We are so pleased with the success of Princess in the UK that we are increasing our capacity on cruises from Southampton with the introduction of Crown Princess.
Following feedback from our partners we are also supporting UK travel agents with some simplifications of our policies to ensure Princess is even easier to book, further enhancing the opportunities that are available through the brand."
Written by Charlie Hamilton-Beaufort