Posted September 15th, 2005, 10:25 PM
Last edited by dougnewmanatsea; September 15th, 2005 at 10:44 PM
This is somewhat of a complex question, only because there have been three SUNWARDs - or, more precisely, two SUNWARDs and one SUNWARD II.
We start with the first SUNWARD.
She was built in 1966 under that name for Klosters Sunward Ferries, as a cruise ferry for Southampton-Vigo-Lisbon-Gibraltar service. This was, however, unsuccessful and in December 1966 she moved to Miami and entered into service for Norwegian Caribbean Lines, a joint-venture between Knut Kloster and Ted Arison. (Later, in 1974, Arison would leave NCL and form Carnival.) She continued with NCL - carrying cars and trailers as well as cruise passengers - until 1972, when she was sold to the French state-owned Compagnie Generale Trasmediterranee (CGTM), formerly the Mediterranean arm of Compagnie Generale Transatlantique (CGT, better known as the French Line), who used her on service from Toulon to Sardinia. In 1976, CGTM became the Societe Nationale Corse Mediterranee (SNCM), but later that year, she was sold, renamed GRAND FLOTEL, and used as a floating hotel at Sharjah. In 1979, she was sold to Amar Line, a joint venture between the Monaco-based Vlasov Group and the Saudi entrepreneur Gaith Pharaon. She was renamed SAUDI MOON I and entered service between Jeddah and Suez. She continued as such until 1988 when she was chartered to an American company called Ocean Quest Cruises who renamed her OCEAN QUEST. She was refurbished at Sembawang Shipyard in Singapore and began operating cruises from New Orleans for diving enthusiasts. This lasted until 1990 when she was sold to International Shipping Partners who renamed her SCANDINAVIAN SONG and gave her to their subsidiary SeaEscape. In 1994, ISP chartered her to a Cuban company owned by the Cosulich family of Italy. She was renamed SANTIAGO DE CUBA and began operating cruises from Havana, but this was not successful and she was soon chartered to Singaporean interests who used her on short cruises from Port Klang. She ended her career laid-up at Singapore in November 2002. She was sold for scrap in 2003 and left Singapore in April 2004.
Our second ship, SUNWARD II,
was originally ordered for Overseas National Airways (then a large American charter airline) along with a sister ship. The ships were sold while under construction to Cunard, and "our" ship entered service in 1971 as CUNARD ADVENTURER, Cunard's first purpose-built cruise ship. Cunard soon made plans to replace her and her sister CUNARD AMBASSADOR with larger ships, and in 1977 she was sold to NCL who renamed her SUNWARD II. She continued to serve NCL until 1991, when she was sold to the then-dominant Greek cruise line Epirotiki Lines, who renamed her TRITON. In 1995, Epirotiki merged with Sun Line into Royal Olympic Cruises, and TRITON became part of the new fleet. ROC lasted until 2004, when they went bankrupt. TRITON was auctioned to the Greek Cypriot-owned Louis Cruise Lines
, who allocated her to Louis Hellenic Cruises, a Greek subsidiary which took over ROC's routes in the Greek Isles. She was renamed CORAL and entered service from Piraeus in 2005.
The third (or second, to be technically correct) and final SUNWARD
began life in 1973 as ROYAL VIKING SKY, the third of a series of three ships ordered by Royal Viking Line, a new company created by three Norwegian shipping firms to enter the top end of the American cruise business. RVL was such a success that they decided to "stretch" their ships; in 1982 ROYAL VIKING SKY received a new 28-meter midsection, enlarging her by more than 6,000 GT. In 1987, the original owners sold RVL to Kloster Cruise, the owners of NCL. In 1991, with RVL having taken delivery of the new ROYAL VIKING SUN, Klosters transferred ROYAL VIKING SKY to NCL and renamed her SUNWARD, replacing SUNWARD II. In 1992, the cash-straped Klosters sold her to the Finnish-owned Birka Line AB, who renamed her BIRKA QUEEN and used her on short cruises from Stockholm. This was not a success and later that year she was chartered back to NCL, who once again renamed her SUNWARD and resumed her old schedules from Miami. This continued for just a year until 1993 when NCL sub-chartered her to Princess, who renamed her GOLDEN PRINCESS. In 1996, her charter to NCL and sub-charter to Princess ended, and Birka Line sold her to the then rapidly-growing Singapore-based Star Cruises (ironically, today the owners of NCL). They sent her to Asia and renamed her SUPERSTAR CAPRICORN. This didn't last long though: in 1998, she was sub-chartered to Hyundai who renamed her HYUNDAI KUMGANG and used her for short cruises from South Korea to Mount Kumgang in the North; part of the Hyundai-influenced "Sunshine Policy" toward North Korea. This venture lasted until 2001, when she was re-delivered to Star Cruises who again renamed her SUPERSTAR CAPRICORN and returned her to service. This nomadic vessel was then sold again in 2004 to the Spanish tour operator Iberojet
who put her into service on cruises from Barcelona for the Spanish market. Yet earlier this year (2005), they sold her again to the Norwegian-owned, British-market Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines
, who already own the former ROYAL VIKING SUN, now BLACK WATCH. Fred. Olsen will take delivery of GRAND LATINO next month (October 2005), rename her BOUDICCA, and give her a major refit before she enters their service in February 2006.
So there we have it - the history of the three SUNWARDs, or two SUNWARDs and one SUNWARD II. Sorry I can't help you as to which one you sailed in!