Rarely is Australia at the forefront of launching new things in the world of cruising, but Princess Cruises has bucked the trend, announcing Emerald Princess will become the line’s second ship to offer the new-to-Princess “Club Class” concept – a new “mini-suite” stateroom category featuring perks for guests including exclusive dining and VIP amenities.
Club Class sees selected grades of the existing Mini Suites and all “Full” suites moved into a new perk infused category of their own. New VIP perks will complement the existing perks afforded to Mini Suite guests, with guests enjoying champagne on arrival & in-suite features such as massaging shower heads. Further, two additional categories of perks – “Club Class Dining” and “Club Class Amenities” will be exclusive to guests in these suites and mini suites.
The development of a new standard of onboard service for suite guests is a growing trend in the cruising industry, with Celebrity, Royal Caribbean and Cunard among the lines who have added additional perks to their top category accommodations, however Princess’ attempt is the first time that entry level suites have been included.
Perks falling under “Club Class Dining” including exciting new additions to the Princess dining roster including a private Club Class entrance with minimal queues, exclusive club class chef’s specials including new dishes prepared table-side. Guests will also enjoy the expertise of a dedicated selection of the ship’s most senior wait staff handpicked to serve Club Class.
Club Class amenities will also see guests expedited through priority check-in to get onboard and having fun sooner, upgraded in-suite amenities such as premium evening canapés and half bottles of red and white wine on arrival. A priority disembarkation lounge will also serve Club Class guests as they wait to disembark on the final morning.
Mini-suites in this category will also be the first to have the new Princess Luxury Bed installed, with the new upgraded bedding designed in conjunction with leading sleep experts. The new beds will also be rolled out progressively across all staterooms, mini suites and suites on the entire Princess fleet, and are already in place onboard Sun Princess.
Club Class will launch jointly on Ruby Princess & Emerald Princess in the second week of December 2016 with local ships Sun Princess, Sea Princess and Golden Princess scheduled to debut the upgrades in April, September and October 2017 respectively. Princess’ Asian ships – which will be familiar to many Australians – will see China-based Sapphire Princess upgraded in January 2017. Singapore and Japan-based Diamond Princess will be upgraded in April 2017. Dawn Princess will not see the addition of the “Club Class” offering at all as the vessel will transfer to P&O Cruises Australia in mid 2017.