SANTA CLARITA, CA, Dec 2 â€“ As the holidays draw near, Princess ships are preparing for another festive season at sea, and weather conditions are again pointing to unusual snow flurries on board. After an extremely popular debut last year, snow will again magically fall in the shipâ€™s atriums, transforming the vessels into a winter wonderland throughout December. The innovative snow-making process creates falling flakes that vanish on contact, letting passengers enjoy the excitement of snow flurries without the need to bundle up. Princessâ€™ daily snowfall will occur on all ships except for the linesâ€™ three small vessels–Pacific Princess, Tahitian Princess and Royal Princess, which do not have large, multi-story atriums.
â€œWhatâ€™s better than the romance of a white Christmas, especially when itâ€™s an unexpected surprise?â€ said Jan Swartz, Princess senior vice president. â€œOur snowfalls were such a huge hit last year that this has now become a new tradition on Princess ships.â€
Even when the snow isnâ€™t coming down, Princess ships will feature a merry atmosphere. Vessels are decked out in holiday dÃ©cor, even including a Christmas tree on the vesselsâ€™ masts, and strolling carolers fill the air with the sounds of the season.
Passengers can once again participate in a â€œgingerbread challenge,â€ where teams test their holiday housebuilding skills in a fun-filled competition to construct the most creative gingerbread structure. Or they can test their holiday craft skills by creating a personalized photo ornament. And new this year is a turkey-carving demonstration from the onboard culinary experts to prepare passengers to do the honors at their next holiday feast.
Special events also include a reading of â€œThe Night Before Christmasâ€ by either the captain or cruise director, and a holiday variety show adds a seasonal element to the shipâ€™s entertainment offerings. For those who canâ€™t get enough of Christmas carols, the shipsâ€™ Princess Pop Star talent show will feature a holiday edition where competitors can croon their favorite seasonal songs.
Religious services are held as well, and passengers can attend midnight mass or an inter-denominational church service performed by onboard clergy. Passengers will receive a stocking turndown gift and can enjoy classic holiday films or even relax in front of a traditional burning Yule log â€¦ on their stateroom television!
Holiday Feasts â€“ Each Princess shipâ€™s culinary team will delight the senses with spectacular holiday displays and will serve up several delicious feasts. A sumptuous Christmas brunch includes complimentary eggnog. On Christmas Day, passengers will sit down to a dinner of traditional holiday fare including roast turkey and all the trimmings. Freshly prepared stolen and Christmas cookies (even some for Santa) round out the seasonal treats.
Christmas For Children â€“ Junior cruisers can count down to the big day with special holiday activities. Santa Claus makes an appearance with his sack full of toys, and a fun-filled holiday fair in the atrium offers youngsters the opportunity to try their hand at Christmas cookie decorating, balloon making, face painting, games and other competitions. The youth centers will host holiday parties for each age group, and kids can make decorations to display on the centerâ€™s Christmas tree. Youngsters can get creative with other holiday-themed arts and crafts projects throughout the cruise, and they will have an opportunity to sing Christmas carols for passengers. For parents who want to stay up later to celebrate the holidays, free late-night group kid sitting sessions will be available on Christmas Eve and New Yearâ€™s Eve.
Hanukkah â€“ Ships will also offer festivities for passengers celebrating the Festival of Lights. A special area of the ship is reserved for those participating in Hanukkah events and ships will display menorahs and fresh flower arrangements decorated in blue, silver and white. Children will enjoy themed arts and crafts pertinent to the holiday.
Happy New Year â€“ Passengers will ring in a fun-filled 2009 with festive New Year’s Eve parties, complete with music, confetti, noise-makers and a balloon drop to count down to the new year. Earlier in the evening, the dinner menu will feature special treats just for New Yearâ€™s Eve. On New Yearâ€™s Day, football fans will be pleased to know they wonâ€™t miss the holidayâ€™s traditional college bowl games, as the telecasts will be shown (as available by satellite) in a shipboard lounge or on some vesselsâ€™ giant Movies Under the Stars top-deck screen.
The 17-ship Princess fleet will cover the globe this holiday season, with sailings to the Caribbean, Mexico, the Panama Canal, Asia, Australia/New Zealand, South America, Hawaii and the South Pacific. Additional information about Princess Cruises is available through a professional travel agent, by calling 1-800-PRINCESS, or by visiting the company’s website at www.princess.com.