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Work to transform the atrium into the Piazza has begun

Sapphire Princess enters BC dock for signature features

Sapphire Princess arrived Monday at Victoria Shipyards in British Columbia to begin a four-week transformation. The docking continues a multi-year fleet renovation that has brought Princess Cruises’ signature features to most of its ships.

When the 2004-built ship re-enters service on Feb. 4, passengers find a new Piazza atrium with the International Café and Vines wine bar, plus the new Alfredo’s Pizzeria. On the top decks, passengers can view poolside movies on the new giant Movies Under the Stars screen, and relax in the adults-only Sanctuary.

Throughout the drydock, Princess will be featuring a daily photo highlight of the transformation on its social media outlets, including Facebook, Twitter, Flickr and Google+.

The many changes to Sapphire Princess include the transformation of the atrium into a European-inspired social hub combining always-changing quick bites and light meals, beverages, entertainment, shopping and guest services.

The Piazza will feature the International Café for pastries, panini, salads, fresh-baked cookies and a variety of coffee drinks. A new Vines wine bar will offer a selection of more than 30 wines by the glass, plus a selection of tapas and sushi, and a wine shop for bottle purchases.

Introduced last year aboard Grand Princess, Alfredo’s Pizzeria will expand to its second location on Sapphire Princess. The sit-down pizzeria serves a menu of freshly prepared, individual-size pizzas. Named for the line’s master executive chef, Alfredo Marzi, the pizzeria will feature an open kitchen where passengers can watch chefs create their custom-made pies.

Sapphire Princess will be the final ship to introduce Movies Under the Stars. The poolside screen will showcase feature films, concerts, awards shows and sports events, and passengers can watch from padded loungers under warm, fleece blankets. Free popcorn and other treats enhance the experience.

Sapphire Princess is also the final ship to receive The Sanctuary, a tranquil retreat for adults. Added prior to drydock, the new Sanctuary space has already received an enthusiastic welcome, Princess said.

Also part of the renovation are several relocated and upgraded venues, including the Art Gallery, Internet Café and Library, and the Photo-Video Gallery. New carpet and upholstery will be installed throughout the ship, and staterooms will feature new flat-screen televisions.

The ship will resume service in Los Angeles on Feb. 4 when it sails on a 14-day Hawaii cruise.

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