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Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Orpheus - Epirotiki Lines - Brief Bio

Epirotiki Cruises Orpheus. Used primarily for educational cruises. She spent a good chunk of her life on charter to Swan Hellenic Cruises. The ship had a strong following. Ship's decor was that of a county manor. The Orpheus was originally built as the Munster for B&I line in 1948. After being sold to Epirotiki in 1968 and undergoing a two year refit, the ship briefly operated as Epirotiki's Theseus before being re-named Orpheus. The Orpheus was primarily deployed in the Med but also conducted world wide cruises. She had 155 cabins and carried 372 passengers. She was laid up in 1998 and sold to Alang, India breakers in October 2000.

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Monday, February 27, 2012

Carnival Cruise Line Carnival Splendor - Brief Bio

Carnival Cruise Line's New Carnival Splendor.
113,000 tons, delivered in July 2008, 952 feet long, 116 feet wide, draft 27 feet. 2,974 passengers double occupancy. Currently in service.

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Sunday, February 26, 2012

German Atlantic Line's Maxim Gorki

Today is the 3 year anniversary of the arrival of the Maxim Gorki in Alang India. :-(

Another one of my favorite ships, German Atlantic Lines' Hamburg, was delivered in 1969. The Hamburg was quite stylish and sported a unique funnel. Branded as the "Space Ship", because of her spacious and futuristic interiors, the ship was employed on world-wide, longer cruises.

In 1973, with increasing fuel prices, low passenger counts and a slowing economy the ship was sold to the Black Sea Shipping Company and was renamed Maxim Gorki.

Just before she began cruising for the Black Sea Shipping Company, she was employed by Hollywood film makers for the movie Juggernaut.

Under the name Maxim Gorki, she sailed on cruises from New York to the Caribbean until the Soviet ships were banned from sailing from the US.

She was chartered to the German tour operators Neckermann Seereisen and then to Phoenix Seereisen. After the price of fuel increased, Phoenix Seereisen decided to end their charter of the ship an return it to their Soviet owners. The ship was laid up for a short time when a charter / purchase agreement for the ship was announced. The Maxim Gorki was to be renamed Marco Polo II operating under the resurrected Orient Lines banner. Unfortunately demand for the ship's cruises, high refit costs and a slowing economy, halted the operation before it started. The Maxim Gorki was briefly laid up, but almost immediately sold to Indian buyers. The ship sailed under her own power, named Maxim M. for the one way trip to the beaches of India. She was beached on February 26, 2009.

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Saturday, February 25, 2012

Epirotiki Line's Pegasus - Brief Bio.

Pegasus - Epirotiki Lines ex Sundancer, Svea Corona. 12,537 tons, 502 feet long, 72 feet wide and capable of carrying 1200 passengers. Delivered in 1975 as Svea Corona for Silja Line. Ship had a series of mishaps under various owners, hit rocks and took on significant water, caught fire twice, but did manage to have a successful career. Final Name Ionian Express. On March 29, 1995 she left Greece in tow of breakers in Aliaga, Turkey.

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Friday, February 24, 2012

Sun Line's Stella Solaris

Sun Line's famous Stella Solaris was well know for Greek Island Cruises and winter time cruises from Florida to the Caribbean and up the Amazon River. The ship had a loyal following since she was known for her great service, tasty food and great Greek hospitality.

Originally built as the Camboge for
Messageries Maritimes - the ship was primarily a passenger cargo liner utilized on the Mediterranean to Indo-China region cruises. In 1970, the Camboge was sold to Sun Line, who, in 1971, extensively refurbished the ship at Italy's Mariotti Yard. The Stella Solaris emerged in June 1973, representing a new level of luxury with a passenger capacity of 765 in a single class. The Stella Solaris settled into a pattern of cruises conducting 3, 4 and 7 day cruises from Piraeus to Greece and Turkey. In the fall she sailed a transatlantic voyage to Florida and then cruises to the Caribbean and the Amazon River.

In the summer of 1986, the Stella Solaris was repositioned from Greece to New York for a series of cruises to the Caribbean and Bermuda. This was primarily done because the Achille Lauro incident was still fresh on the mind of the traveling public and Americans were unwilling to travel abroad. Although the series of cruises were very popular, it would be a 1 year occurrence and then she would return to the Med for her summer cruises.

In August 1995 Sun Line, would merge with Greek rival Epirotiki to form Royal Olympic Cruises. Nothing really changed for the Stella Solaris, she was still deployed on the same routes but was touted more as the high end ship of the newly combined fleet.

In 2000, Royal Olympic Cruises added two, fast new ships from a German Shipyard to be used on 3 and 4 day cruise circuit - the Olympic Voyager and Olympic Explorer. These fast ships were designed to optimized the passengers time in port. Unfortunately the events of September 11th, 2001 greatly impacted Royal Olympic. The small cruise line was holding the mortgage for two new ships, American travelers were hesitant to travel abroad and the price of fuel was rising.

The Stella Solaris, Stella Oceanus and Apollon were all sold for scrap at just over $5 million dollars. The money from the scrappers were to keep the company operational - but this money only lasted for a few additional months before Royal Olympic went bankrupt.

On November 12, 2003 the Stella Solaris and Stella Oceanus left Eleusis Bay arriving at Alang India on December 11, 2003.

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Thursday, February 23, 2012

Chandris Cruises Amerikanis

One of my favorite ships was Chandris Cruises' Amerikanis. When departing New York the ship gave the appearance of speed and grace with her raked bow and funnel in the titled back position. Under modest speed the Amerikanis, put out a decent amount of black smoke also adding to the illusion of speed. The Amerikanis sat very squat and sturdy in the water, giving the ship the impression of being much larger than she actually was.

Built originally in 1952 as Union Castle Lines' Kenya Castle (Left) and was sold to Chandris Lines, in July 1967. The Amerikanis was significantly rebuilt under the direct control of Chandris shipyard workers. Much of the Cargo hold space was converted into passenger cabins increasing her capacity to 920 passengers. The Amerikanis was a small ship by today standard, but at the time was a medium sized ship at 17,041 tons, 576 ft long and 74 feet wide.

The Amerikanis sailed from New York to Bermuda in the Spring, Summer and Fall and Caribbean Cruises in the Winter. Chandris also changed their marketing name to Fantasy Cruises briefly to appeal to the mass market for shorter cruises. For a period of time, the Amerikains was chartered to Costa Cruise for Caribbean cruises. Eventually when she got older, the Amerikanis (under Chandris Cruises Banner) was repositioned to European water for Northern Europe and Mediterranean cruises where older ships were still attractive. In 1996, Chandris lays-up the Amerikanis in Piraeus Greece in search of a buyer.

With no buyers in sight, the Amerikanis arrived in Alang, India under her own power on June 4, 2001. She was beached and scrapped shortly thereafter.

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Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Reflecting on French Line's S/S France.

The S/S France - Pride of the French Line, with her sleek lines and unique funnel design impressed both passengers and onlookers. It was always a welcoming site to see this great liner enter New York harbor. During the week, when she arrived in New York, I was in school which was quite disappointing, since she frequently spent overnight in New York and sailed from New York at 11:30 AM making it almost impossible to get to see her.

It was quite unfortunately because before I knew it, this great ship was laid up and I was able to only get 1 photograph of her in French Line livery.

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Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Steven's Institute of Techniology's S/S Stevens ex Exochorda of American Export Lines

Probably more famously known as the one of American Export Line's 4 Aces, the s/s Exochorda was a passenger cargo liner on the New York to Mediterranean run. The 473 foot, 14,500 ton ship, was originally constructed in 1944 as a military attack vessel, but converted for American Export Lines in 1948 into a passenger cargo liner. She remained employed by AEL until 1958, when she was returned to the Maritime Administration and was laid up at Stony Point, NY. In September 1967 it was announced that the ship has been sold to Stevens Institute of Technology in Hoboken New Jersey for $130,301 dollars. She arrived at Stevens Institute of Technology on November 10, 1967 and was moored at their 8th Street pier. At Stevens, she served as a floating dormitory on the Hoboken waterfront, where she remained permanent fixture until 1976 when the ship was sold for scrap.

August 26th, 1975, she was towed from Hoboken, NJ to Chester PA for scrapping. She was partially scrapped down to her hull and then was resold to the Kearny Shipyard (Kearny, NJ) in March 1979 where she was totally dismantled.

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Friday, February 17, 2012

So is the Carnival Destiny Going to the Costa Fleet?

Today Carnival Cruise Line announced that the Carnival Valor will replace the Carnival Destiny sailing from San Juan Puerto Rico starting in February 10, 2013.

The Carnival Destiny will offer a 16-day transatlantic crossing departing
Miami Feb. 4 and arriving Civitavecchia (Rome) on Feb. 20, 2013. Featured ports on the crossing include Ponta Delgada (Azores), Portugal; Malaga, Spain; Monte Carlo, Monaco; and Genoa and Livorno, Italy.

Carnival has not yet announced details on the Carnival Destiny’s deployment following the trans-Atlantic

To me it sounds like Carnival is positioning itself to transfer the Carnival Destiny to the Costa brand as a replacement for the ill-fated Costa Concordia. I assume Carnival expects the demand for the Costa brand to resume to normal levels by 2013 and the Carnival Destiny, which is the same basic design as a good portion of the Costa fleet would be a good match. The Carnival Destiny is the oldest of the Destiny Class vessels constructed in 1996.

(Photos show: Top: Carnival Destiny, Bottom: Costa Fortuna - an almost identical ship.

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Thursday, February 16, 2012

Italian Line's Leonardo Da Vinci

Another one of my favorite ships is Italian Line's sleek and modern Leonardo da Vinci of 1960. Built as a replacement for the lost Andre Doria, the Leonardo da Vinci was a new design of ship. Maintaining the centrally located funnel, she has the right proportions and her sleek bow gave her a distinctive profile.

Build by Ansaldo Shipyard in Italy, the modest size 33,340 ton ship was 764 feet long. She began her maiden Voyage on June 30, 1960. She was primarily used on the New York to Genoa run along side the Cristoforo Columbo.

When delivered, the Leonardo had a dark colored hull, but as the ship was use more extensively for cruising, her hull was painted white.

An interesting fact about the Leonardo is that she was constructed with the intent that one day she could be converted to Nuclear power. Unfortunately this never happened.

As time passed, the ship was used on Caribbean cruises but Italian Line kept returning to the transatlantic trade unwilling to let go of its roots. The Leonardo da Vinci's Caribbean cruises became seasonal and sometimes erratic, with Italian Line cancelling Caribbean sailings and replacing them with Transatlantic voyages. The Leonardo was the final Italian Line liner on the transatlantic route in 1976 outliving her sisters - Michelangelo and Raffaello, who were laid up in 1975. In June 1976, the Leonardo da Vinci was also laid up.

In 1977, she returned to service from Miami to the Bahamas on 3 and 4 day cruises with Costa Cruises serving as her general agents. Unfortuantley the Leonardo consumed more fuel tied up at her berth than most newer ships consumed under full speed. Her life on this route was short lived and she returned to La Spezia, Italy in September 1978 where she was laid up.

The Leonardo was laid up until July 4, 1980 when a mysterious fire erupted on-board the ship quickly engulfing the entire ship. After 4 days of burning, the Leonardo was a total constructional loss. What a tragic end to this wonderful ship.

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Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Cunard Line's Caronia

As a follow up to yesterday's post on Universal Cruise Line's Caribia, today I wanted to post some shots of the ship as she was operated as the Caronia for Cunard Line.

The Caronia was constructed by John Brown and Company in Clydebank, Scotland. Her maiden voyage was on January 4, 1949 from Southampto,n England to New York via Cobh Ireland. The Caronia was also known as the "Green Goddess" because it was painted in a unique color scheme of four shades of green. She had an extensive lido and outdoor areas for her worldwide cruising role.

She was very popular among cruise passengers and offered an upscale experience to those with the desire to explore the world.

The Caronia's last voyage for Cunard Line was from New York to Southampton on November 17th, 1957. She remained laid up and was eventually sold to Universal Cruise Line.

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Tuesday, February 14, 2012

43rd Year Anniversary of the Maiden Voyage of Universal Cruise Line's Caribia

Today (February 14, 1969) is the 43rd anniversary of Universal Line's Caribia maiden voyage. The Caribia departed Manhattan's Pier 92 at 4PM on her maiden voyage from New York to the Caribbean. The Caribia operated previously as Cunard's Line famous "Green Goddess" the Caronia. As the Caronia, she had a loyal following of passengers and was know for her longer exotic cruises.

The Caribia was sailing on her inaugural 14 day Caribbean cruise with a compliment of 500 passengers. Her ports of Call included San Juan, St. Thomas, Curacao, Montego Bay and Nassau. Although she was touted by her new owners to be the same quality cruise experience as under Cunard ownership, she returned to New York with less than rave reviews.

Her next and final cruise departed New York on February 28, 1969 with just 325 passengers. While off of St. Thomas, she suffered an engine room fire and explosion. After 20+ hours of floating aimlessly, the Caribia returned to San Juan where passengers boarded Greek Line's Queen Anna Maria or chose to fly home.

After temporary repairs, the Caribia returned to New York and was laid up. As the years passed, her owners attempted to re-introduce the ship but funding for permanent repairs always stood in their way. The ship was rotated from lay-up berth to lay-up berth in the port of New York.

On April 27, 1974, the Caribia left New York towed by a German ocean-going tug “Hamburg” on her way to Taiwan for scrapping. Unfortunately off the the coast of Guam the ship encountered a severe tropical storm and was blown onto a reef. Eventually the once great liner, broke her back and settled in two piece on the reef, cheating the breakers from their prize.

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Monday, February 13, 2012

Flagship Cruises Fleet

Flagship Cruises Fleet

The first ship for Flagship Cruises the m/s Sea Venture operated on the New York to Bermuda cruise circuit when delivered in 1971. When introduced, the ship was the new standard of luxury.

By 1974, the Sea Venture was sold to Princess Cruises and became the "Love Boat" Pacific Princess, She sailed with Princess until 2004 at which time she was sold to Spanish Operator Pullmantur (as the Pacific) and subsequently sold to Quail Cruises. At this time the ship is laid up in Italy under the name Pacific awaiting a buyer.

The Island Venture (1971) was a twin to the Sea Venture and she was utilized for longer 8-14 day cruises from New York to the Caribbean. She never really experienceg the popularity or got the attention the Sea Venture did. She too was sold to Princess Cruises in 1974 and became the Island Princess. She sailed with Princess until 2000. Today she is still in service for Voyages of Discovery as the m/v Discovery. She will undergo a major refit later this year will will extend her life for years to come.

After selling both the Sea Venture and Island Venture to Princess Cruises, Flagship Cruises continued to express an interest in cruising and acquired Swedish America Line's 1966 stylish Kungsholm. Flagship Cruises operated the ship on longer, luxury cruises, appealing to the elite. Unfortunately by 1979, she was sold to P&O Cruises. P&O unfortunately ruined her good looks by removing her forward funnel and leaving a stump behind. P&O acquired Kungsholm for their Australian operation. She was given the name Sea Princess. Her time in Australia was limited and was repositioned to the UK. The Sea Princess made her first cruise from the UK in 1982. In 1986, she was refitted for the American market and given Princess Cruises livery. In 1991 she was returned to the UK market and in 1995 was renamed Victoria.

In 2003 she was sold to operate for a German company as Mona Lisa. In 2002 she was sold to Greek interests who chartered the ship to German Tour Companies as the Mona Lisa.

Today the Kungsholm is the named Veronica and is operating as a floating Hotel at Duqm Oman.

Related Stories:

Veronica Hotel
Pacific Looking for a Buyer

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Saturday, February 11, 2012

Holland America Ships Operating in the 1970s

Holland America Ships of the 1970's
Nieuw Amsterdam - Sailed for Holland America until December 1973. Built originally as a transatlantic liner, by the 1970s, she was used exclusively for cruising. She arrived in Taiwan on February 25, 1974 for scrapping.

Veendam - Originally built as the Argentina for Moore-McC0rmack in 1958, she was sold to Holland America Line (HAL) in 1972. As the Veendam, she originally sailed longer european cruises for HAL, but quickly settled into the 7-day cruise market. She was chartered out later and then eventually sold by HAL to other interests in 1984. The ship had many names with her final name being New Orleans for her final voyage to Alang India for scrapping. She arrived in Alang on December 4th, 2003

Volendam - Originally built as the Brasil for Moore-McC0rmack in 1958, she was sold to Holland America Line (HAL) in 1972. As the Veendam, she originally sailed longer European cruises for HAL, but quickly settled into the 7-day cruise market. She was chartered out later and then eventually sold by HAL to other interests in 1984. The ship had many names with her final name being Universe for her final voyage to Alang India for scrapping. She was beached on December 7th, 2004.

The Prinsendam was a HAL newbuild built in 1973, exclusively for cruising in Indonesia and Alaska. She proved very popular for her short life. On October 4th, 1980, she caught fire (and sank 7 days later) in Alaskan waters. A small ship by today's standards, the Prinsendam was 427 feet long and cost $50 Million dollars to build.

The Rotterdam was the Flagship of the HAL fleet.
Built in 1959, her modern profile made her an instant success. She initially sailed transatlantic and world cruises, but by the early 70's, she spent most of her days cruising. She sailed with HAL until 1997 at which time she became the Rembrandt for Premier Cruises. In 2004, she was sold again and refurbished into a stationary hotel, convention and entertainment center in the Port of Rotterdam as the Rotterdam.

The Statendam of 1958 proved very sucessful for HAL. Again sailing longer itineraries and Transatantic voyages, the Statendam settled into a cruising role. She was very popular on the New York to Bermuda or Nassau cruise circuit. In October, 1982 she was sold to Paquet Cruise and renamed Rhapsody. The Rhapsody was later sold to Regency Cruises in 1986 and became the Regent Star. In 1995 Regency went bankrupt and the ship was laid up. In March 2004, under the name Harmony, the once great Statendam left Greece bound for India ship breakers.

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Home Lines Popular Homeric -- Ex Mariposa

Another of my favorite ships is Home Lines' Homeric.

The Homeric was originally built as Matson Steam Navigation's Mariposa. Measuring 18,017 gross ton ship,and a length of 632 feet and a width of 79.5 feet.

The Mariposa was built by Bethlehem Shipbuilding Corporation, Quincy, Massachusetts. Her maiden voyage was on July 18, 1931. She was popular on the West Coast - Hawaii -Australian route.

In 1953, the Mariposa was sold to Home Lines and renamed Homeric.

The Homeric was completely refitted in Italy which increased her capacity to 147 first class and 1,096 tourist class passengers.

The Homeric initially started her career on the transatlantic service from Southampton to either Montreal or New York, but she quickly settled into Caribbean and Bahamas cruises from New York. The ship developed a tremendous following with many passengers spending back to back weeks on board and with the Homeric achieving incredible occupancy levels.

In July 1973 the Homeric suffered a modest fire in her kitchen and smoke damage to the public areas. She was taken to Italy for evaluation. Because of the age of the ship, she was deemed beyond economic repair and sold to Taiwan scrappers.

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Friday, February 10, 2012

Costa Favorites of Yesteryear - Part II

More memorable Costa Ships in Part II of my tribute to Costa Line and my favorite ships of yesteryear.

Costa's First Passenger Ship - The Anna C.

Costa's Bianca C was originally the La Marseillaise of Messageries Maritimes.

Danae - Originally Built as a passenger/cargo liner Port Melbourne. Was significantly rebuilt under Carras Cruises. Still sailing today for Classic International Cruises as the Princess Danae.

Daphne - Originally Built as a passenger/cargo liner Port Sydney. Was significantly rebuilt under Carras Cruises. Still sailing today for Classic International Cruises as the Princess Daphne.

Franca C - Originally built as Mallory Lines' Medina in 1914 in Newport News Virginia. The ship is still around idle in the Singapore awaiting reactivation as a floating hotel, entertainment center and bookstore.

Costa's Enrico C - Originally constructed as the Provence of Societe Generale Transports Maritimes (SGTM)


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Thursday, February 9, 2012

Costa Favorites of Yesteryear - Part I

Here are some of my favorite vintage Costa ships from years ago.

Costa Riviera ex Lloyd Trestino's Guglielmo Marconi.

Andrea C.

The extensively remodeled Costa Line's Flavia Originally Built as Cunard Line's Media

The Columbus C - ex Europa and Kungsholm

On Charter to Costa Cruises - the Angelina Lauro of Lauro Lines - Previously the Oranje.

Another chartered ship - Chandris Cruises Amerikanis.

The Fulvia ex Norwegian America Line Oslofjord.

Italia - Currently Laid up under Louis Cruise Line ownership as the Sapphire.

Carla C / Carla Costa - ex French Line Flandre

Costa Newbuild at the time - Eugenio C / Eugenio Costa.

Costa's newbuild at the time - The stylish Frederico C.