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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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