There’s a cruise underway to the ‘Mexican Riviera’, as its known .. which is hardly unusual for this time of year.
But it WAS unusual 50 years ago this week – and that’s why the current cruise is also noteworthy.
It was 50 years ago last week that Stanley McDonald chartered the Princess Patricia from Canadian Pacific Limited for the express purpose of cruises to the Mexican Rivera from Los Angeles, California.
It became pretty obvious pretty quickly that the Princess Patricia was not the most suitable ship for these type of cruises – she was, after all, a converted ferry-boat with a maximum of 400 passengers – but that hasn’t stopped her cementing her place in cruise ship history.
She became the flagship of the new Princess fleet – and her initial voyage for Princess is being replicated as we speak – although the Pacific Princess is doing it with a little more in the way of mod cons!
The Pacific Princess will sail the same itinerary at the Princess Patricia – Los Angeles to Mazatlan in Mexico and on to Puerto Vallarta and Acapulco – and passengers are apparently enjoying menus featuring popular dishes from the past five decades.
Of course, the name Pacific Princess conjures up visions of the Love Boat series, which actually featured two Princess cruise ships: the Island Princess and the Pacific Princess.
Built in 1971 for the television series, they were later purchased by P&O and were renamed – so the Pacific Princess sailing south on the Anniversary Cruise is a much newer vessel.
In fact, she is an R-class vessel, with a passenger load of 680 – bigger than the Princess Patricia, but much smaller than the Royal Class ships like the Royal Princess and her sister the Regal Princess – each of which top out at around 3500 passengers!
More familiar to Aussies are the Sun class ships which include the Sun Princess, the Dawn Princess, and the Sea Princess with a maximum capacity of 1,990 guests.
The Dawn Princess got a notable mention in 1997 when it was christened by the Love Boat cast; The Sun Princess was commissioned in 1995 and was used as the setting for the rebooted series, The Love Boat: The Next Wave.
The Sun Princess is also the main ship of the Sun class and these sister ships are now based in Australia, making runs from Sydney to Melbourne to Perth, and out into the South Pacific.
It’s probably too late to get on a Princess cruise this year, to take part in the 50th Anniversary Year celebrations but if you are yet to sail – Bon Voyage!
And even if you don’t get out to see in what’s left of 2015, there’s always 2016 and beyond – and a whole swag of cruise companies to choose from.
I’ll see you out there!