Cruises ship Sapphire Princess
Sapphire Princess was built in Japan by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, the second Princess Cruises ship to be built in a Japanese shipyard. Her only sister ship, with whom she swapped names, during construction.
The name swap occurred because a major fire swept through the original Diamond Princess (Presently sailing as today's Sapphire Princess) during construction, leading to a construction delay. Both sister ships were being constructed at the same time, so the original Sapphire assumed the role of Diamond. This name swap assisted in keeping the delivery date of Diamond Princess on time, and kept Sapphire Princess on schedule as it was nearing completion early.Sapphire Princess was the second Princess Cruises ship to be built in a Japanese shipyard, and lacks the "wing" or spoiler across the rear which can be seen on .
At the beginning of 2012 Sapphire Princess was refitted with Princess' signature "Piazza" in place of the center atrium, including the International Café and a pizzeria. Princess also added the "Movies Under the Stars" poolside theatre to the top deck and a new adults' retreat, The Sanctuary. The refit brings Sapphire Princess in alignment with the newer features from Grand Princess and others in the Grand Fleet.
Her diesel-electric plant includes four diesel generators and a gas turbine generator. The diesel generators are Wärtsilä 46 series common rail engines, two of the straight 9-cylinder configuration, and two of the straight 8-cylinder configuration. The 8- and 9-cylinder engines can produce approximately 81⁄2 and 91⁄2 MW of power respectively. These engines are fueled with Heavy Fuel oil (HFO or bunker c) and Marine Gas Oil (MGO) depending on the local regulations regarding emissions, as MGO produces much lower emissions but is much more expensive. The gas turbine generator is a GE 2500, producing a peak of 25 MW of power and being fueled by MGO. This generator is much more expensive to run than the diesel generators, and is used mostly in areas, such as Alaska, where the emissions regulations are strict. It is also used when top speed is required to make it to a port in a short time period. There are two propulsion electric motors which drive fixed-pitch propellers and six thrusters used during maneuvering; three bow and three stern. The propulsion electric motors (PEMs), are conventional synchronous motors made by Alston Motors. The two motors are each rated to 20 MW and have a maximum speed of 154 rpm. (Rated speed of 0-145 rpm.)
Ports of call
Sapphire Princess previously alternating Northbound & Southbound Voyage of the Glacier cruises during the summer and in the winter sails Mexico, Hawaii & California Coastal cruises. Beginning in 2014, the ship has been sailing roundtrip Asia cruises from Shanghai in the summer months, then from November through February, the ship sails roundtrip Asia cruises out of Singapore. After her Singapore season concludes in 2016, the ship will be sailing from China year-round. The winter sailings from Singapore will be replaced by the .
In April 2014, Sapphire Princess was supposed to return to Alaska, but those plans were cancelled and will sail Asian cruises instead. Most of the ship's Hawaii cruises for 2014 were cancelled, and from the beginning of that year, which Princess kept it running on more short cruises to the West Coast round-trip Los Angeles, as well as a 10-day cruise that departed March 1, 2014. On April 3, 2014, the Sapphire Princess sailed a 25-day repositioning cruise from Los Angeles to Osaka, which it stopped at Honolulu, Guam, Keelung, Okinawa, Shanghai, Kagoshima and concludes in Osaka.
On April 5, 2014, her previously scheduled cruises at that time was replaced by Crown Princess after its arrival in Los Angeles.
On two occasions whales have been found dead on the bulbous bow of Sapphire Princess, a year apart from each other. On July 25, 2009 the ship docked at Canada Place Terminal, in Vancouver, Canada, with a dead Fin Whale lodged on its bow. The estimated 21.3 (70 ft) whale was found on top of the bulbous bow. Preliminary reports from the Fisheries and Oceans necropsy suggest the whale might have been sick. The estimated 12.2 m (40 ft) humpback whale became entangled on the ships bulbous bow while Sapphire Princess was sailing from Ketchikan to Juneau.
The last time, before Sapphire Princess, that an Alaskan cruise ship docked in Vancouver with a whale on its bow was in 1999, when a dead 20-metre (66 ft) Fin whale was found on MV Galaxy.
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