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Sad news about Albatros(Cunard's Sylvania, Sitmar's Fairwind, Princess' Dawn Princess


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Bill Miller of WOCLS reports that the Albatros is now just a quarter of a ship. Having developed severe engine problems in December, she was hurridly sold to Indian scrap merchants and is now stripped, cut down, and largely demolished. The scrapping is taking place at Alang, India.

 

As Sitmar's Fairwind, she introduced many people to the joys of cruising and to the delightful, excellent service of her Italian crew. Her Italian kitchen produced memorable meals.

 

A sad end to a great ship!

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I'm sorry to hear that. We sailed on her on the Mexican Riviera (10 day) in January, 1991 when Janet Edwards was the CD. She sailed when the first Gulf War started. Because there were no TV's in any staterooms, we all gathered in public lounges where we were able to watch Peter Arnott on live satellite feeds from CNN.

 

Due to port congestion our itinerary was changed so we had 4 straight days at sea. At exactly 11:00pm on the second night when the war started, she had the Ship's Chaplain read a prayer on the loud speaker. I heard that she stopped the show at 10:45 and cancelled the rest of it. (We were in the lounge.)

 

She still had Fairwind livery but sailed as the Fair Princess. I was lucky enough to buy a Sitmar Fairwind logo necktie.

 

Our first Sitmar cruise was on her sister ship, the Fairsea (renamed the Dawn Princess).

 

Do you know where that ship is today?

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She still had Fairwind livery but sailed as the Fair Princess. I was lucky enough to buy a Sitmar Fairwind logo necktie.

 

Our first Sitmar cruise was on her sister ship, the Fairsea (renamed the Dawn Princess).

 

Do you know where that ship is today?

You've got them in reverse... FAIRWIND became DAWN PRINCESS, FAIRSEA became FAIR PRINCESS.

 

The former CARINTHIA/FAIRSEA/FAIR PRINCESS, now called CHINA SEA DISCOVERY, is the last surviving member of the four original SAXONIA-class ships built for Cunard in 1954-57. She is laid-up at Kaoshiung, Taiwan, and has been since 2003. P&O finally sold her in 2001 to Chinese interests and she had been involved in several unsuccessful ventures in China and Taiwan before finally being laid-up at Kaoshiung in poor condition. I do not believe that any futher active trading would be possible for her and assume that she will wind up at the breakers' yard sooner or later.

 

For more on the four SAXONIA-class sisters please see this article by Ruben Goosens. Note that the article is not completely up to date. CHINA SEA DISCOVERY has not been sold to house aid workers in Iraq; that venture turned out to be a hoax. Also, FEDOR SHALYAPIN, ex IVERNIA/FRANCONIA arrived at Alang for scrapping in February 2004 and dismantling has been underway since.

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That being the case, the Fairwind (Dawn) was our first trip - San Juan to Acapulco thru the canal.

 

The second (the one to the Mex Riviera) was the Fair Princess.

 

Sorry. It's been a while.

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Wasn't Fairsea renamed SitMar FairSea (stupid name) for a brief period before the Princesss takeover? I think she was the onlt Sitmar ship to get the new name scheme.

You may be thinking about the Fair Majesty, Sitmar's newbuild at the time Princess bought Sitmar in 1988. Sitmar had only the Fairwind, Fairsea and Fairsky in revenue service, and was building a new ship, named the Fair Majesty.

 

When Princess bought Sitmar, the Fair Majesty was renamed the Star Princess. The ship entered revenue service after Princess took over.

 

BTW, the Fair Majesty was the first of three newbuilds ordered by Sitmar, the other two being launched as the Crown Princess and the Regal Princess.

 

("SITMAR" was an acronym for Società Italiana Trasporti Marittimi)

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Sorry. It's been a while.
No problem. Just didn't want to confuse the other members ;) .

 

Wasn't Fairsea renamed SitMar FairSea (stupid name) for a brief period before the Princesss takeover? I think she was the onlt Sitmar ship to get the new name scheme.
No... That was FAIRWIND. She was renamed SITMAR FAIRWIND and got the new paint scheme with the "swan" logo, which was very short-lived.

 

You may be thinking about the Fair Majesty, Sitmar's newbuild at the time Princess bought Sitmar in 1988.
SITMAR FAIRMAJESTY was actually the catalyst for the new naming scheme, and also the new corporate image, that was applied to SITMAR FAIRWIND. I actually have a photo or two of SITMAR FAIRMAJESTY on early trials painted in this new Sitmar livery but as you say she entered service as STAR PRINCESS.

 

BTW, the Fair Majesty was the first of three newbuilds ordered by Sitmar, the other two being launched as the Crown Princess and the Regal Princess.
This is correct. A myth has long proliferated that CROWN and REGAL PRINCESS were supposed to wind up as sisters to FAIRMAJESTY, but that the design was then modified by Princess. This is completely incorrect.

 

The negotiations with Fincantieri for the ships that would become CROWN and REGAL PRINCESS actually began in 1984 just after FAIRSKY's sucessful entry into service and in fact earlier than negotiations with Chantiers de l'Atlantique for the ship that became SITMAR FAIRMAJESTY/STAR PRINCESS, which were initiated shortly after the negotiations with Fincantieri commenced. The longer lead time on the Italian-built ships was due to the fact that Fincantieri had not built a large passenger ship since 1966 and so essentially needed to start a new passenger ship building operation from scratch. The design for the Fincantieri newbuilds was done in tandem with the Chantiers newbuild project which became SITMAR FAIRMAJESTY/STAR PRINCESS (options for a second ship from Chantiers were never exercised), hence the similarities, but they were never intended to be sister ships.

 

The unique "dolphin" design of the exteriors of CROWN and REGAL PRINCESS, created by Renzo Piano, were comissioned by Fincantieri and Sitmar to commemorate the fact that they were the first large Italian-built passenger ships in nearly a quarter century. The idea was originally conceived by the president of the state-owned IRI industrial conglomerate which was Fincantieri's parent company. In fact the only changes that I know of made to the ships was the elimination of the childrens' facilities, as Princess did not consider families to be part of their target market when they took over Sitmar in 1989. (Sitmar was quite family-oriented, and FAIRSKY and SITMAR FAIRMAJESTY were built with extensive childrens' facilities.) Childrens' facilities were added in 2000 to both ships though they were not as extensive as the ones in the original design. (Today Princess is probably more family-oriented even than Sitmar was in 1989.)

 

("SITMAR" was an acronym for Società Italiana Trasporti Marittimi)
In fact the name was chosen by Alexandre Vlasov at the company's founding in 1938 specifically so that it could be abbreviated "Sitmar" as an homage to the old Sitmar (Societa Italiana Servizi Marittimi) which had been absorbed into Lloyd Triestino in 1931. The idea was to capitalise on the excellent Sitmar reputation, though Vlasov's new Sitmar would wind up far eclipsing its namesake. As I recall, s everal executives of the new Sitmar actually had connections with the previous company though Vlasov himself did not that I know of.
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Thanks Doug, I can't believe I got Fairwind and Fairsea confused.

I never knew about the planned sister to Fairmajesty, was it Sitmar that let the option lapse, or did Princess?

At any rate, that means Sitmar had the potential to add up to four newbuildings in a few years, combined with the Fairsky, that would have given them a modern and quite large fleet for the time. Its a shame they didn't survive.

 

I always thought it strange that Sitmar was sold off like that so soon after the rebranding scheme began and with all those expansion plans in the works- certainly didn't sound like a company ready to be unloaded.

 

A few more questions: would Fairwind and Fairsea have eventually been retired after the arrival of the new ships, and how exactly did Fairstar fit into this, wasn't she owned by Sitmar as well?

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Britanis,

 

I was aboard Fairwind when the sale to Princess took place. We were told, upon asking, that Mr. Vlasov had passed away and that it was the decision of his widow to sell the Company. She did not want to run a shipping company. I recall that the crew were also surprised at the sale inasmuch as she had been scheduled to be aboard the ship for a cruise in the immediate future(this was in the Summer of 1988).

 

The ship sported the colorful "swan logo" that Host Doug mentioned, along with a completely new funnel color/symbol scheme: a dark blue funnel with a colorful seahorse insignia, so that it looked liked the "S" of Sitmar, I assumed. (Am I remembering correctly, Host Doug?)

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A bit of trivia: one of Sitmar's holding companies, Fairline Shipping Ltd., is still in use by Carnival Plc. as registered owner for Dawn, Diamond, Sapphire, and Grand Princess. Fairline even has their own mailing address in Bermuda, separate from Princess' California headquarters.

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Thanks Doug, I can't believe I got Fairwind and Fairsea confused.
My personal usual mistake is writing FAIRSEA instead of FAIRSKY or vice versa. And those weren't even sisters :) .

 

I never knew about the planned sister to Fairmajesty, was it Sitmar that let the option lapse, or did Princess?
Not 100% sure on this but I think it was Sitmar.

 

Its a shame they didn't survive.
Yes, it would have been fascinating to have seen what would have happened. And also to see what would have happened to Princess, who would have been in a very bad spot had Sitmar not come up for sale at precisely the right moment.

 

I always thought it strange that Sitmar was sold off like that so soon after the rebranding scheme began and with all those expansion plans in the works- certainly didn't sound like a company ready to be unloaded.
The company was sold because of the very untimely death of Boris Vlasov. Apparently family were not particularly interested in Sitmar and P&O sensed the opportunity and made a very good offer.

 

would Fairwind and Fairsea have eventually been retired after the arrival of the new ships
I'm not sure... No doubt they would have at some point but I don't think there were immediate plans to retire them at the time that they were sold. They were actually quite up to date as literally everything but the hull, engines, and lifeboat davits (yes, lifeboat davits) dated from the early '70s and they had further gotten very large refits in the mid '80s to bring them up to the standards of the magnificent new FAIRSKY.

 

how exactly did Fairstar fit into this, wasn't she owned by Sitmar as well?
FAIRSTAR was, in essence, a vestige of Sitmar's previous life carrying emigrants from Europe to Australia. This was where Sitmar's passenger service originated just after WWII. Alexandre Vlasov was himself a refugee (and indeed so was Boris; they fled from Russia when he was a young boy) and so had a natural connection to this sort of service. FAIRSTAR was initially used on the Europe-Australia line service.

 

CARINTHIA and SYLVANIA were bought in 1968 by Sitmar with the intention of refitting them for this service, were renamed FAIRLAND (later FAIRSEA) and FAIRWIND, and continued laid-up pending conversion; however in 1970 the British contract for government-assisted immigrant passages to Australia passed on to Chandris who had also been serving the route for some time. As a response, FAIRSKY (III; the 1984 newbuild was the fourth FAIRSKY) and FAIRSTAR became full-time cruise ships from Sydney in 1973 after the loss of the subsidies proved to be the last nail in the coffin of the liner service. Meanwhile a total rethink of what to do with the two new acquisitions was necessary. In the end, the result was the formation of the Los Angeles-based Sitmar Cruises; the two ships were totally rebuilt to an extremely high standard and the rest, as they say, is history.

 

FAIRSKY and FAIRSTAR, though, maintained a separate Australian operation, not of the same standard as the US-market Sitmar ships. FAIRSKY left the fleet after a grounding in 1977 (she was salvaged but declared a constructive total loss) but FAIRSTAR continued on right through 1989 when P&O bought Sitmar. While the US-based ships went to Princess, FAIRSTAR continued on in Australia under what was initially called P&O Sitmar Cruises, complete with the swan log on her funnel. Later, that was replaced by a stylized dolphin logo and the company was renamed P&O Holidays (now P&O Cruises Australia), but she continued on until 1997 when replaced by FAIR PRINCESS (ex FAIRSEA/FAIRLAND/CARINTHIA), which was in turn replaced in 2000 by PACIFIC SKY (ex SKY PRINCESS/FAIRSTAR).

 

it was the decision of his widow to sell the Company. She did not want to run a shipping company.
This is not totally correct, as the Vlasov Group still exists today in the form of V.Ships (managers of Silversea and Radisson Seven Seas vessels among others), though they are not a shipping company per se as they manage other companies' ships (or own them and charter them to other companies). I'm not sure why Sitmar was singled out for sale; it may have had something to do with its very high value and perhaps even with P&O's desire to expand Princess quickly.

 

The ship sported the colorful "swan logo" that Host Doug mentioned, along with a completely new funnel color/symbol scheme: a dark blue funnel with a colorful seahorse insignia, so that it looked liked the "S" of Sitmar, I assumed.
The funnel insignia was the "swan logo", and yes, it was designed to look like an "S" for Sitmar. Sitmar Cruises' original logo (which was never on funnels; they maintained the traditonal buff color with blue Vlasov "V" at the time) was actually an insignia of two pieces of line (rope) intertwined in the shape of an "S" and "C" for Sitmar Cruises (I'll have to get some images here to show these different logos and paint schemes...). Today on PACIFIC SKY, you can still see interior door handles for many public rooms in the shape of that logo, one of the few vestiges of her original interiors left after big refits under Princess in 1989 and 1994.
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Thanks Doug.

 

I didn't know that the Fair Majesty was the first passenger cruise newbuild by Fincantieri.

 

The heavy use by Carnival Corporation of Fincantieri (for many new Carnival and for most of today's HAL fleet) makes it ironic that a "Princess" ship got them into the biz.

 

Do you know what ships operated by other lines were built by Fincantieri?

 

(BTW, we were booked to sail on the Rotterdam VI on its maiden voyage from Venice in Sept (I think) of 1997. Fincantieri was late, however so we tried again for the new maiden voyage from Barcelona. Still late, so we missed altogether and sailed her from Rotterdam in June 1998 following a very rare two night port call and ceremonies attended by Queen Beatrix and many others. We stayed in the New York Hotel, which is the structure in which the original HAL offices were located, and looked out over the ship and the extensive fireworks display. What a sendoff - far more interesting than the "usual" sendoff of a maiden voyage with a speech by Micky Arison and free champagne on the dock.) 28_55068.jpg

 

foto_hotel_zw.jpg

 

Last note; HAL chefs created a huge chocolate cake replica of the hotel on chocolate night on that cruise.

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I didn't know that the Fair Majesty was the first passenger cruise newbuild by Fincantieri.
That's because she wasn't! She was from Chantiers de l'Atlantique. It was CROWN PRINCESS which was the first large passenger ship from Fincantieri in about a quarter century.

 

The contract for SITMAR FAIRMAJESTY was signed after that for what became CROWN PRINCESS, but the ship from Fincantieri took longer as they had to start from scratch while Chantiers were building cruise ships at the time the contract was signed (1986).

 

Ironically the last before her, EUGENIO C in 1966, also was for what is now a part of the Carnival family.

 

And for that matter, the first large passenger ship from Chantiers de l'Atlantique in many years was NIEUW AMSTERDAM in 1983 - yes, another Carnival brand! And Carnival got the last big passenger ships from Kockums (Sweden) and Aalborg Vaerft (Denmark), and the last from Wartsila (Finland) and the first from that same yard's new incarnation, Masa Yards! And if you count in Sitmar, FAIRSKY was the last big passenger ship from CNIM (France). And HOMERIC (became WESTERDAM and now COSTA EUROPA) was the first big cruise ship from Meyer Werft!

 

The heavy use by Carnival Corporation of Fincantieri (for many new Carnival and for most of today's HAL fleet) makes it ironic that a "Princess" ship got them into the biz.
And that a Costa ship got them out of it 20+ years earlier!

 

Of course from its formation under Mussolini through the 1960s, Fincantieri were a very major player in large passenger ships, building all of the big ships for Finmare (i.e. Italia, Lloyd Triestino, Adriatica, etc.) and many other large Italian passenger ships, including FEDERICO C and EUGENIO C.

 

Do you know what ships operated by other lines were built by Fincantieri?
If you mean non-Carnival Corporation & plc lines, from CROWN PRINCESS on... DISNEY MAGIC and WONDER are the only cruise ships that I can think of. Amazing that Fincantieri are the largest builders of cruise ships in the world and they supply Carnival Corporation & plc almost exclusively... And furthermore Carnival build at other yards too (though more at Fincantieri than anywhere else).

 

Consider that since CROWN PRINCESS in 1990, Fincantieri have supplied - if my counting is correct - eleven HAL ships (one on order - this means every single HAL newbuild from STATENDAM on!), ten Princess ships (one on order), three Costa ships (one on order), five Carnival ships (one on order) and that they currently have orders for P&O and Cunard as well! Absolutely amazing and it started with Sitmar back in the mid 1980s.

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  • 2 weeks later...
Captain Romano became captain of the new Sun Princess in 1995. I don't know where he is now.
In the now-nixed Captain's Circle newsletter they used to feature a retired Princess captain each issue, telling what they are up to etc.

 

Unfortunately I have not seen a real Captain's Circle newsletter for probably more than a year - instead they send out what is basically an advertising flyer for future cruises but nothing more.

 

Come to think of it, I think the NCL Latitudes newsletter is gone too, and I'm not sure if RCI's Crown & Anchor newsletter is still around (maybe in a diluted form). HAL never send anything here at all so I have no idea if the Mariner newsletter still exists or not.

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  • 1 month later...

Back in 1957 I sailed as a young, young boy ( I was 5 ) on the Oxfordshire. From Liverpool to Singapore. Years later I researched the ship and found that she was still sailing and now was berthed in Australia. She became the first Dawn Princess. I am saddened to learn that she is now being dismantled in India. However, she sailed longer than many newer ships in her lifetime. An honourable life she has had.

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Back in 1957 I sailed as a young, young boy ( I was 5 ) on the Oxfordshire. From Liverpool to Singapore. Years later I researched the ship and found that she was still sailing and now was berthed in Australia. She became the first Dawn Princess. I am saddened to learn that she is now being dismantled in India.
Sorry, but OXFORDSHIRE is not the ship in question here.

 

She was built in 1957, and sold in 1964 to Sitmar who renamed her FAIRSTAR. At that time Sitmar were not in the cruise business; their business was in emigrant voyages from Europe (primarily the UK and Italy) to Australia.

 

By 1975, Sitmar had lost the contract for emigrant voyages from the UK to Australia to Chandris Lines, and FAIRSTAR became a full-time cruise ship based at Sydney. She served in this capacity until 1997; when Sitmar were bought by P&O in 1988 Sitmar's Australian cruise division was renamed P&O Sitmar Cruises, and then later P&O Holidays.

 

By 1997, she was suffering from frequent mechanical problems and would have required significant upgrading. At the same time, new SOLAS regulations were coming into effect that would also have required expensive changes. P&O decided not to invest in FAIRSTAR, and sold her to Indian breakers.

 

Her replacement was FAIR PRINCESS, which had been built in 1956 as Cunard's CARINTHIA, sister ship to SYLVANIA which is the ship in question in this thread. Cunard sold her and SYLVANIA to Sitmar in 1968 and they entered service in 1972 as FAIRSEA and FAIRWIND respectively. When P&O took over Sitmar and merged them with Princess, FAIRSEA became FAIR PRINCESS and FAIRWIND became DAWN PRINCESS (I). Princess sold DAWN PRINCESS in 1993 to V.Ships who renamed her ALBATROS and chartered her to Phoenix Reisen; this is the ship whose scrapping is referred to on this thread. FAIR PRINCESS was to be sold to Regency in 1994 and renamed REGENT ISLE but Regency went under before the ship could be delivered, thus P&O continued to own her and she was laid-up first at Los Angeles and then at Ensenada until 1997 when she was sent to Australia to replace FAIRSTAR.

 

FAIR PRINCESS was sold in 2000 to Chinese owners, and Princess' SKY PRINCESS, which had been built in 1984 as Sitmar's FAIRSKY (IV), went to Australia to replace her and was renamed PACIFIC SKY. As explained in posts above, FAIR PRINCESS, which was renamed CHINA SEA DISCOVERY, was involved in several unsuccessful Chinese ventures and has been laid-up at Keelung, Taiwan since 2002.

 

So your ship, OXFORDSHIRE, never became a Princess ship, and was scrapped back in 1997. The ship that became DAWN PRINCESS, in turn, was never a cruise ship in Australia, but her sister, FAIR PRINCESS, was, and in fact replaced FAIRSTAR, the former OXFORDSHIRE.

 

For more on OXFORDSHIRE/FAIRSTAR, see this page from SSMaritime.com, an Australian maritime history site. Regardless of the fact that she is not the ship that became DAWN PRINCESS and later ALBATROS, she did as you say enjoy a very long and popular career. She was the very first cruise ship to be based in Australia, and possibly one of the most beloved cruise ships of all time. Today P&O Cruises Australia (originally the Australian division of Sitmar Cruises, then P&O Sitmar Cruises, then P&O Holidays) have not only PACIFIC SKY but are adding a second ship, PACIFIC SUN, formerly Carnival's 1987-built JUBILEE, and the fact that two ships each much larger than FAIRSTAR are now operating for the company are a testament to the large market that FAIRSTAR opened up.

 

Hope this helps to clear that up.

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Guest Celestia

Just wanted to say your posts (and extensive knowledge) of cruise ships and their history make fascinating reading!

 

Guess I could have asked you what became of my beloved Queen Odyssey but I found out on a recent cruise through the Web!

 

FW&FS,

 

C

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  • 1 month later...
Bill Miller of WOCLS reports that the Albatros is now just a quarter of a ship....The scrapping is taking place at Alang, India.

As Sitmar's Fairwind, she introduced many people to the joys of cruising and to the delightful, excellent service of her Italian crew. Her Italian kitchen produced memorable meals.

I first sailed on the Albatros in 1964, when she was a Cunard ship - the Sylvania. At that time, the Sylvania was a passenger liner - a true steamship - between England and Canada, sailing out of Liverpool, via Greenock, to either Halifax or Montreal, depending on the season. This was a time when British trains would deliver emigrants from Industrial England to the docks in Liverpool, and a train would be waiting near the ship in Halifax to take immigrants to industrial Ontario. In the Port Immigration Hall in Halifax, we each got a little package containing helpful hints about our new life in Canada ("take showers daily"), bars of soap, etc.

 

Through some investigation, I found out that the Sylvania went through some transitions and was sailing in the mid-90s for Princess Cruise Lines as the Dawn Princess. Some things had changed. The lavatories were no longer "down the passageway" from the bunk cabins. I believe a superstructure was added - but I still remembered aspects of the ship thirty years later. At the bow, underneath the paint, one could stiil see the faint outline of the word "Sylvania". At this time the ship was still transitioning from Italian Sitmar operation, so still had Italian hotel staff and the pizza bar. I went on several more trips on the Dawn Princess out of Florida and Los Angeles.

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:confused: Which Dawn Princess are you all taking about. The one that I sailed on was the sister ship to the Sun Princess, and was built in 1997. According to Berlitz, this 'Dawn Princess' was never re-named. :confused: john taylor

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:confused: Which Dawn Princess are you all taking about. The one that I sailed on was the sister ship to the Sun Princess, and was built in 1997. According to Berlitz, this 'Dawn Princess' was never re-named. :confused: john taylor
I'm talking about the "original" Princess Dawn Princess - a small /medium ship ~800 pax, ex Cunard Sylvania, ex Sitmar Fairwind. The original Dawn Princess went out of the Princess fleet, and Princess saw fit to give the same name to another new ship - the 2nd Dawn Princess.
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Celestia,

 

Queen Odyssey wound up with her originally intended sisters at Seabourn. She is now Seabourn Legend.

 

She was origianlly intended to be a sister the the Pride & Spirit, but RVL picked up the option and completed her as Royal Viking Queen. Kloster Cruise, owners of NCL, RVL and RCL, first killed off RVL. The Queen was transferred to Royal Cruise Line and renamed Queen Odyssey, joining the Crown Odyssey, Star Odyssey and Royal Odyssey (the latter 2 being former RVL ships themselves).

 

Then Kloster killed Royal Cruise Line, much to my sorrow. I was the last RCL Cruise Director aboard Crown Odyssey during this awful time. The fleet was disbursed into the NCL fleet or sold with the Queen going to Seabourn to join her origianlly intended sisters. She was depicted as the 'ss Legend' in the horrid Speed 2 film (but I still love Sandra Bullock!), where she was crashed into St Martin for the laughable last 15 minutes of the flick.... "Hey, get out of the way! A BIG BOAT is comming your way!" The Oscars were such a disappointment that year.

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