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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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