ON BOARD THE REGAL PRINCESS -- Teresa Anderson snoops around every corner of this 811-foot-long floating resort, fretting over details like a hostess waiting for her party guests.
The new light fixtures haven't arrived for the pizzeria on the Bravo deck. A small tree is blocking the mural in front of the Adagio bar on the Promenade deck. Someone forgot the black granite for the floor in front of the cabaret on the Dolphin deck. The painting outside the Baha deck is . . . questionable -- an abstract of an iceberg.
In a way, this is Ms. Anderson's party. As senior designer for the Baltimore interior design firm H. Chambers Co., Ms. Anderson is most responsible for the sumptuous interior look of the newly christened Regal Princess, the latest and largest "love boat" of Princess Cruises. The Regal Princess is on its inaugural voyage.
And a party it was yesterday. The Maryland Port Administration took the opportunity to fill a Dundalk Marine Terminal building with Maryland-oriented exhibits. On board, every nightclub, disco and lounge was open for business. And Gavin MacLeod, Princess Cruises' celebrity spokesman and former "Love Boat" Capt. Merrill Stubing, was on hand by the pool, a stone's throw from the enclosed, outdoor basketball court, to give the place that truly authentic look.
While the look of the ship's exterior came from Italian architect Renzo Piano, who designed the Georges Pompidou Center in Paris, the interior came from Baltimore's H. Chambers. The $20 million-plus ship, carrying $1 million of original artwork, arrived in Baltimore yesterday to take an entourage of travel agents around the bay for a one-day trip. After it leaves Baltimore today, its next stop will be Fort Lauderdale, Fla., its official home port. From there it's on to the Caribbean for a grueling schedule of seven-day cruises around the islands.
"It's a brand new ship, and we're trying to expose it to as many travel agents as we can," said Richard M. James, senior vice president of Los Angeles-based Princess Cruises. He said the Regal Princess, an Italian-built vessel, arrived in Boston late last month. The ship, which accommodates 1,590 passengers, then cruised into New York to be smashed by champagne-wielding former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and then stopped briefly in Philadelphia.
Like its older sister, the Crown Princess, most of the interior private and public spaces were designed by Chambers: from the three-story, atrium foyer, where two dozen salmon-coated and white-gloved porters greeted guests, to the elegant and subdued captain's lounge, which features a sailing portrait donated by Mrs. Thatcher, to the cinema, theater, shopping mall and casino.
Chambers has an office in Nassau in the Bahamas, and that helpedit make an entree into the luxury cruise business about six years ago, according to J. H. L. Chambers II, chairman of the 92-year-old company.
Aside from the Crown Princess, Chambers has helped refurbish two other Princess Cruises vessels.
Chambers President Robert A. Hickman said that his firm has helped design hotels, including New York's Waldorf-Astoria and the Kuwait Sheraton (before the Persian Gulf war).