Wednesday, January 5, 2022

Old Cruise Ships

 The pandemic has done a great deal of damage to the cruise ship industry. Entire cruise seasons have been cancelled for two years in a row and despite a gradual re-start health authorities are still issuing cautions against taking cruises.  A recently published list of cruise ships sent to the scrap yard in 2021 is staggering (nine ships altogether) and includes several favourites - mostly from years long gone by.

Last seen in Halifax under the name Marco Polo the former Aleksandr Pushkin was built in 1965 as a Transatlantic liner under the USSR flag. It was a familiar sight on the St.Lawrence River even after its conversion to a cruise ship and renaming in 1993.


Not even a cargo crane at the North Sydney pier could spoil the looks of the Aleksandr Pushkin.

Built by the Mathias-Thesen shipyard in Wismar, East Germany, the 19,860gt ship was a stylish looking vessel from the end of the liner era.

As the Marco Polo, the ship arrived at Alang, India January 9, 2021 and demolition began on January 14.

Another stylish ship, built as a cruise ship, but before the "block of flats" era was the Royal Viking Sea. Along with sister Royal Viking Sky they set an aesthetic standard that few other ships could match. Both ships were scrapped in 2021.

Built in 1973 by Wartsila, Helsinki, the ship was lengthened from 169.7m to 205.5m in 1983 increasing gt from 21,897 to 28,018. (It looked better lengthened),

Royal Viking Sea was renamed 91: Royal Odyssey, 97: Norwegian Star, 01: Norwegian Star I, 02: Crown, 04: Albatros. It suffered the indignity of being renamed Tros for delivery to Alang where it arrived July 25, 2021 and was broken up starting July 27. One of its last visits to Halifax was October 11, 2015

Sister Royal Viking Sky suffered a similar fate. Carrying the subsequent names 90: Sunward, 92: Birka Queen, 92: Sunward, 93: Golden Princess, 96: Superstar Capricorn, 98: Hyundai Kumgang, 01:Superstar Capricorn, 05: Boudicca and renamed Edi in 2021 as it made its way to Aliaga, arriving May 17, 2021.

Although not a Halifax caller, another trend setting ship was broken up in Alang starting January 1, 2021. Tropicale was Carnival Cruise Lines' first purpose built new ship, when it emerged from Alborg Verft, Aalborg, Denmark in 1981. It was also the first with the winged funnel that became a Carnival trade mark.

The other trade mark of Carnival was the stylized "C" on the funnel, which was a left over from Canadian Pacific's "Pac Man" funnel mark from the Empress of Canada, Carnival's first ship which they renamed Mardi Gras in 1972. It was scrapped in Alang starting in Decmeber 2003.

A partial recovery of the cruise ship business is predicted in 2022 but nothing is certain, and several well known, and newer, ships may yet be headed for the breakers.


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