Coming to a port near you in the next few years: Cruise ships topped with giant glass domes.
That’s the word from Princess Cruises, which is unveiling the first details of a new, bigger class of vessels that it plans to start rolling out in 2024.
Princess says the first ship in the series, to be called Sun Princess, will have a giant geodesic dome at its top that covers a multideck pool and lounge area — billed as the first of its kind at sea.
Sign up for our daily newsletter
The ship will also have a more elaborate version of the multideck interior piazzas that are a Princess Cruises signature space and new, elevated suite offerings. Other design details announced Thursday include plans for a lighter, brighter decor than on other Princess ships.
For more cruise guides, news and tips, sign up for TPG’s cruise newsletter.
At 175,500 tons, Sun Princess will be about 21% bigger than the biggest ships currently in the Princess fleet. It’ll rise 21 decks high and accommodate more than 4,000 passengers, assuming two passengers per cabin.
While not the biggest cruise ship in the world, it’ll be among the larger vessels at sea when it begins sailing.
Sun Princess already is under construction at a Fincantieri shipyard in Italy and is scheduled to debut in the first half of 2024.
Here is a look at everything Princess has announced so far about the vessel, which will be the third to hold the Sun Princess name. Princess operated two other ships that went by the name Sun Princess from 1974 to 1988 and from 1995 to 2020, respectively.
The line plans to announce more details of the ship over the next few months.
Sun Princess will have a bigger version of the Piazza areas that serve as central gathering points on Princess ships. Spanning three decks, the Piazza on Sun Princess will have an LED screen at its center that can be moved and configured to deliver live entertainment programming — something new for the line.
Related: The ultimate guide to picking a cruise line
The Piazza also will be adjacent to a new coffee shop, to be called Coffee Currents, and a new cocktail bar called Bellini’s. It’ll also open onto such signature Princess venues as the Crooners Bar and Alfredo’s Pizzeria.
By far the most unusual new feature announced so far for Sun Princess is The Dome. Inspired by the terraces of Santorini, Greece, it’s a multilevel deck area covered with what the line is saying is the first true glass dome ever constructed on a cruise ship.
The Dome will cover an indoor-outdoor pool area and water feature that will be a place to lounge during the day. But at night, the area beneath The Dome will transform into a nightspot with a vibe similar to Florida’s South Beach. The pool will be covered to become a stage; the space will feature state-of-the-art lighting effects and be rigged to allow for aerial performances.
An elevated suite offering
Sun Princess will feature a new level of suite accommodations called the Signature Collection, which will come with exclusive access to a private restaurant, lounge and sun deck. It’s Princess Cruises’ first move toward offering the sort of “ship-within-a-ship” upscale suite areas that have become a mainstay on some giant vessels operated by the likes of Norwegian Cruise Line, MSC Cruises and Royal Caribbean.
The Signature Sun Deck will be a private area reserved for Signature Collection suite passengers within the Sanctuary, the extra-charge adults-only area found on Princess ships.
Related: 7 reasons you should splurge on a suite on your next cruise
Sun Princess also will have a new category of accommodations called the Reserve Collection, which will comprise the best-located minisuite staterooms. Similar to what formerly was called Club class at the line, the Reserve Collection rooms on Sun Princess will come with access to an exclusive Reserve Collection Restaurant.
Sun Princess will have 50 suites in all, among a total of 2,157 cabins. In addition, 100 rooms on the ship will connect to adjacent cabins to create a larger complex for families and groups.
Initial Sun Princess itineraries
Specific itineraries for Sun Princess have yet to be announced. But Princess on Thursday said the vessel would debut in the Mediterranean in the spring of 2024 and remain there through the summer of 2024. It’ll then reposition to Fort Lauderdale’s Port Everglades in the fall of 2024 to operate voyages to the Eastern and Western Caribbean.
Sun Princess’ first three inaugural voyages will be revealed and go on sale at 3 p.m. on Friday.
Related: The TPG Caribbean cruise guide: Everything you need to know
An as-yet-to-be-named sister ship to Sun Princess is on order from Fincantieri to debut in spring 2025.
The new class will be called the Sphere class.
Planning a cruise? Start with these stories:
Featured image courtesy of Princess Cruises.