A SMALL FAMILY
A conversation with Daniele Cafiso,
General Hotel Manager, Ocean Princess
Richard H. Wagner
Cruise ship interview - Ocean Princess - Princess Cruises -General Hotel Manager Daniele Cafiso
At 32,277 gross tons, Ocean Princess is considered one of Princess Cruises' "small ships."
While the line adheres to the same standards throughout its fleet, the small ships are not
mini-versions of the line's mega-cruise ships, doing the same sort of cruises only on a smaller
platform. Rather, they are a variation on the Princess cruise experience - - at the same time
familiar but different; Princess ships but going their own way. I had the opportunity to speak with
Daniele Cafiso, Hotel General Manager on Ocean Princess about the Ocean Princess experience.
Ocean Princess leads a nomadic life. Unlike most cruise ships, which visit the same set of ports
every week or so, Ocean Princess may not return to the same port for more than a year. Her
cruises take all over the world from Asia to the east coast of North America. During a season,
she may call in such diverse ports as Singapore, Cape Town, Dover, Reykjavik, and New York
Because of her relatively small size, she is also able to visit ports on these voyages that larger
cruise ships cannot enter.
The opportunity to visit far flung places and places off the beaten track as well as the opportunity
to spend more time at sea going between ports tends to attract experienced cruisers. "There are
plenty of days at sea so [experienced cruisers] target these ships. They like the days at sea. They
want to have a little going on - - a quiz and everything - - but they want to have time to relax, to
read their books."
"75 percent of the clientele that we have onboard are repeaters - - . [members of Princess' past
passenger program the] Captain's Circle and out of those Captain's Circle members there is a very
high core of Explorer-class repeaters meaning that they like this class of ship. There is a very
high affection that they have for Princess."
Ocean Princess's voyages are longer than the typical cruise. "The minimum cruise we do is 18
days and we have just come from 32 days cruising. We have people that stay onboard for up to
six months. People do cry when they leave the ship."
What is it about Ocean Princess that generates such affection? First, as noted earlier, the ship
adheres to the same standards as the rest of the Princess fleet - - a formula that has proven very
popular. "Whatever we offer here we offer on the other ships."
Indeed, Ocean Princess has such popular Princess favorites as the Lotus Spa, Sabatini's Italian
Specialty Restaurant and the Sterling Steakhouse. However, just due to the difference in size, a
mega-cruise ship is going to have more pools, restaurants, and features than a smaller ship.
But more venues also mean that the passengers become more dispersed. "It is easier on a ship of
this size to get to meet other people and build friendships and close relationships. . . . You go to
the same spots over and over and of course, it is going to be easier for you to get to know other
The fact that Ocean Princess does longer cruises also aids in making friends. "Over 32 days
cruising where you go five days in a row at sea, you have the time to go out and meet people, be
friendly and share [experiences] - - something you do not have the time to do on a seven day
cruise in the Caribbean. During the seven days you might have three or four ports so the days at
sea are really the first and the last one. You do not have the time to build something."
Along the same lines, it is also easier to get to know the officers and crew on a ship like Ocean
Princess due to the length of her cruises. "We at Princess believe that we have a personal touch no
matter what the ship's size is. However, on this ship it is even more so because you have the
time. They get to know me; they get to know the Captain, they get to know pretty much
everybody. It is a small family - - 600 passengers, three hundred crew."