Carnival brand returns to home port after 10 years

Frequent cruisers will know that there are only so many destinations one can visit when embarking on an island tour closer to the U.S. — in the Caribbean, some of the most common ports are Nassau in the Bahamas, Cozumel in Mexico and CocoCay, the private island owned by Royal Caribbean  (RCL) .

While some town ports would make for a perfect cruise stop, ships may not stop there for any number of reasons. Sometimes it comes down to local laws or agreements with cruise ship companies while as in the case with the recent political violence in Haiti, itineraries are rerouted at the last minute.

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The capital of Puerto Rico, San Juan, is a stop on many Caribbean itineraries for Royal Caribbean and Celebrity. But Carnival  (CCL) -owned Princess Cruises pulled out of this port in 2015 in order to prioritize other destinations — this week, the cruise company announced that it will be returning to Puerto Rico for the first time in 10 years with a seven-day route aboard the Grand Princess starting in October 2025.

Princess Cruises wants back in on this ‘fast-growing destination’

“Puerto Rico remains one of the fastest-growing destinations in the Caribbean and continues to attract new airlift from source markets across the U.S. as well as markets in Europe and South America, which makes it a great fit for Princess,” Princess Cruises Chief Commercial Officer Terry Thornton said in a statement. “Plus, there are many outstanding options to choose from for a great pre- or post-cruise stay.”

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Both of the new routes, which will alternate one after the other throughout the season, will begin in San Juan and continue on deeper into the Caribbean — the first route will make stops in Tortola, St. Kitts, Dominica, Grenada, and Barbados while the second will stop in St. Thomas, St. Maarten, Antigua, St. Vincent, and Barbados.

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The Grand Princess is going to Puerto Rico instead of Australia and New Zealand

The Grand Princess is a 2,600-passenger ship whose amenities include four pools, an adults-only sanctuary overlooking the sea, a large entertainment theatre and a putting green. According to Princess Cruises, tickets for the new routes will be available for purchase as of May 18 while the season for the new routes will run from October 12, 2025 to March 29, 2026.

Originally, it was supposed to sail from Sydney and Brisbane for a tour of Australia and New Zealand but was reassigned to the Caribbean route departing from San Juan as the closer routes are likely to have more traffic from U.S.-based markets. Puerto Rico, in particular, has been seeing strong interest in the last few years.

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“We are excited to welcome Princess Cruises back home to the Port of San Juan,” Carlos Mercado Santiago, executive director of the Puerto Rico Tourism Company, said in a statement. “This announcement underscores our commitment to cement San Juan as the leading homeport in the region, where guests can sail throughout the wonderful ports of the Eastern and Southern Caribbean. Furthermore, the sailings will help drive economic development for both Puerto Rico and our regional partners.”

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