Princess Cruises Offers Rare Behind-the-Scenes Access to Ship Operations with “Ultimate Ship Tour”
Most cruise ship guests enjoying a relaxing cruise vacation know there’s a bustle of activity behind the scenes, but few have gotten an up-close look at these inner workings. However, with Princess Cruises’ Ultimate Ship Tour, guests have an exclusive opportunity to experience an array of “back of house” areas that are key to a ship’s daily operations.
This pioneering concept gives guests the unique opportunity to explore beyond the public areas with visits to the ship’s engine control room, medical center, incinerator room, print shop, laundry, photo lab, bridge and other spaces for a rare insider’s view of many areas typically seen only by the ship’s crew. Participants also receive a variety of themed mementos at many of the stops along the route.
The Ultimate Ship Tour lasts approximately three hours, and is offered once or twice per cruise on a sea day. Space is limited for the tour, which is available for $150 per person, and can be reserved onboard at the Passenger Services Desk. The tour is available on most Princess ships.
The innovative tour features:
- Back Stage Area – Guests start the tour with a glimpse behind the glitz in the Princess Theater, home to Princess’ sparkling stage productions. They’ll meet the cast and production staff, who will show them all that goes into making sure the show goes on night after night – including costumes and dressing areas, scenery and technical operations such as lighting and sound.
- Galley and Food Production Areas – In the galley, guests will meet the executive chef, learn about the process of providing thousands of guests meals each day, and see the inner workings of the ship’s kitchen areas while enjoying a glass of French champagne and canapés. In addition, guests will get a peek into some of the ship’s vast food storage and production areas, each specially equipped and temperature-controlled for a specific type of food. Each guest will also be presented with an official chef’s jacket.
- Engine Control Room – At the center of the vessel’s mechanical and electrical systems, the engine control room is where the ship’s technical team monitors everything from the operation of the ship’s propellers to the water supply in each stateroom. Participants will meet the chief technical offer and his staff who will explain the numerous functions overseen by the control room, including the vast amount of power generated to operate the ship.
- Incinerator Room – The ship’s environmental officer will show guests just what happens to the waste discarded during the cruise. Participants will see first-hand how all garbage is sorted onboard and how waste streams are processed for recycling or proper shore side disposal.
- Print Shop – Guests will see where their daily Princess Patter, among other things, is produced. The ship’s printer will meet the group and demonstrate the printing equipment and explain which materials guests see each day are printed right onboard. To mark their visit, each guest will receive their own set of personalized stationery printed on board.
- Photo Laboratory – Princess was the first cruise line to go completely digital, and each ship operates a full photo lab with the latest in digital printing equipment. The group will meet the ship’s photo staff and learn how they manage the thousands of pictures taken and printed each day. Participants might even see their own smiling faces print out during their visit.
- Medical Center – The ship’s doctor will meet the group to show them the state-of-the-art medical facilities, including treatment rooms, laboratory facilities, critical care unit, and x-ray room. Participants will learn how the ship’s doctors and nurses – all full-time maritime medicine specialists – keep both guests and crew healthy and handle medical emergencies. They’ll also learn about the most common reasons guests visit the medical center.
- Main Laundry – The ship’s onboard laundries operate 24 hours a day to wash tons of guest and crew linens, towels, and clothing – including more than 20,000 towels a day alone. Here visitors will meet the laundry master and will see this impressive operation in action. Participants will also receive a luxurious bath robe usually reserved for suite guests.
- Funnel – The group will then travel to the upper most deck of the ship to join the staff captain for the opportunity to peek inside the ship’s funnel area high atop the vessel, where they will be treated to spectacular views of the ship and the surrounding ocean.
- Bridge – The tour concludes at the ship’s command center, where guests will meet the captain and his bridge team and learn about the state-of-the-art navigational equipment and safety systems on board. Guests will also take in the dramatic front-of-ship views from the bridge’s wraparound windows, while they enjoy special refreshments and pose with the captain at the ship’s wheel for a complimentary photo. The framed photo and a tour completion certificate signed by the captain will later be delivered to each participant’s stateroom.