Guests booked on the very first sailing of Princess Cruises’ first Sphere class vessel, Sun Princess, have been notified that their cruise has unfortunately been cancelled.

Travelers have been offered compensation for the inconvenience of the short-notice cancellation, but the offers appear inconsistent and many guests are understandably upset at the timing of the notification, just four days before the ship was to have set sail.

Princess Cruises has reached out to guests booked on the February 18, 2024 departure of Sun Princess, what was to have been the new ship’s first cruise, to notify them that the cruise is not able to go forward. While the 175,000-gross-ton ship is ready to be delivered from the Fincantieri shipyard to Princess Cruises, more work must be completed before she will be ready to welcome guests.

“While we will be taking delivery of our new Sun Princess on February 14, the ship must remain alongside in the shipyard to allow for additional technical work to be completed and we regret to announce that we have no other option than to cancel the February 18 voyage,” said John Padgett, Princess Cruises’ President.

Sun Princess at the Shipyard (Photo Credit: Novikov Aleksey)

“We share in your deep disappointment and frustration, and sincerely apologize for the extreme disruption the late cancellation of this voyage creates.”

The February 18 sailing was not initially planned as Sun Princess’ inaugural cruise. The ship was first to have welcomed guests on February 8, but that cruise was cancelled on January 24. That gave guests two weeks’ of notice for the travel disruption, while this latest cancellation is just four days before embarkation.

The “technical work” yet to be completed has not been detailed, but it is not unusual for a ship to spend several weeks being outfitted and supplied after being delivered to the cruise line, before the vessel is prepared to set sail.

Passengers have been notified that they will be receiving a full refund of their cruise fare and any onboard, pre-purchased services, such as spa treatments, tours, or drink packages, back to their original form of payment.

Guests will also receive a 50% future cruise credit for any future Princess Cruises sailing booked by November 30, 2024 and sailed by December 31, 2025. This gives travelers a good time window to reschedule their vacation plans.

Sun Princess Cruise Ship

All travelers have also been offered up to $200 (USD) per person to cover change fees related to flights if they have not yet begun their travel to meet the ship. Princess Cruises is also being generous to travelers who are already in the region ahead of the sailing.

“If you already have arrived in the region prior to February 14, Princess will reimburse you for the entire cost of your roundtrip airfare,” the email notification confirmed.

Read Also: Two Sphere-Class Princess Cruise Ships to Sail Mediterranean in 2025

Guests already in Europe ahead of the cruise are also eligible for up to €450 (approximately $481 USD) per night for Sunday, February 18 and Monday, February 19, along with a €140 ($150) per person daily reimbursement to cover hotels, meals, and other expenses while they make travel arrangements to return home.

Documentation for reimbursements must be submitted online for verification and refund consideration.

At this time, only the February 18 departure date is impacted, and Sun Princess‘ next cruise – a 10-night Grand Mediterranean itinerary from Rome to Barcelona – is still anticipated to move forward.

Sun Princess Cruise Ship

Booked guests will be understandably nervous about those plans, however, given the last-minute cancellation of the February 18 sailing. It would be wise to be sure that Princess Cruises has updated email addresses and cell phone numbers in case additional notifications are sent out in the coming days.

Because no details of the “technical work” have been revealed, it is unknown how much is left to complete on Sun Princess before she will be ready to welcome her first guests onboard. With luck, no additional cruises may be impacted and the ship will soon debut with all the fanfare the revolutionary vessel deserves.

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