Years ago starting a cruise was like a festival. You’d invite friends, family, some you would miss, some you were glad to leave, but every one to have a mini-party. They would come on the boat with you, see your cabin, tour the ship, maybe have drink or two, and dance to the ship’s band. Then the “time to go” alert would be sounded; kisses, hugs, and bye bye; you were off.
Well not quite. The stay-on-shore crowd would gather on the pier and eyes raised would get ready to catch the ribbon rolls. Each passenger would throw a roll of ribbon while holding on to the end so the strip stretched from your hand to theirs. Ribbon taut, whistle sounding, ship slowly pulling away from the dock to cheers, waves, and maybe a few tears. Stretched to the limit, the ribbon broke and only then were you off.
I’m not sure when that ritual faded, but fade it did, until now.
No more ribbons (environment), but ship visits are back. Princess calls it the “Bon Voyage Experience.” Tempt your friends and family with four hours on board, a four-course dining room lunch with wine, tour of the ship, and a souvenir photo. The cost, not bad, $39 per person. Actually, it helps you to invite someone as you’ll get priority boarding. The $39 can be applied to a future Princess Cruise.
The roll-out schedule for the launch of the Bon Voyage ExperienceSM is:
- Sapphire Princess – March 6 in Los Angeles
- Crown Princess – March 6 in Fort Lauderdale
- Coral Princess – March 7 in Los Angeles
- Emerald Princess – March 7 in Fort Lauderdale
- Island Princess – March 10 in Los Angeles
- Ruby Princess – March 10 in Fort Lauderdale
- Golden Princess – March 14 in Los Angeles
- Royal Princess – March 27 in Fort Lauderdale
- Star Princess – April 10 in Fort Lauderdale
- Caribbean Princess – May 18 in New York
- Sea Princess – June 1 in San Francisco
I bet you can even sneak your own ribbon on board.