NCL had a lot of cruise ships that left the fleet or were owned by the company. Therefore, we'll have the series of articles.
Well, let's begin...
Norwegian Caribbean Line was founded in 1966. Despite the name, the company is American, and its headquarters is located in Florida. NCL was the first in the cruise industry in many respects, but we'll tell you about it in the separate article. Today we'd like to talk about the history of the ships.
A small cruise ferry called Sunward was the first ship of the company.
The ship was built in 1966 for the Kloster Sunward Ferries company. She spent a season as a car ferry sailing from Southampton to Gibraltar. However, the company went bankrupt, and the ship was sold to the newly-formed company - Norwegian Cruise Line.
Probably it's not correct to say that she was sold because the owner of Kloster Sunward Ferries - Knut Kloster - was also one of the NCL founders.
Let's return to the ship. Sunward was transferred to Miami, and it was good because the ship did not have anti-ice protection.
The ship sailed under the flag of NCL for 6 years. It is interesting to note that she was not refitted and continued to transport the cars!
In 1972, the company sold Sunward to Compagnie Generale Transmediterranee. Her new name was Ile de Beaute. The ship operated cruises from Marseilles for 4 years. In 1977, the ship served as a floating hotel in Sharjah, UAE under the name of Grand Flotel.
From 1978 to 1988, the ship was called Saudi Moon I and Saudi Arabian, she operated the Near East and the Middle East cruises.
In 1988, the former Sunward went to America to her new owners - Ocean Quest Cruises.
Then she had the owners from Denmark, Singapore, and Asia. The ship sailed under the names of Scandinavian Song, Santiago de Cuba, and Empress.
In 2004, after 38 (!) years of service, the ship was scrapped in Chittagong, Bangladesh.
The Sunward's success was so great that the company ordered several ships for construction almost immediately.
Starward was the first one. She joined the company in 1968.
Just like Sunward, originally, Starward had a deck for car transportation. Later this deck was converted into the cabins, a casino, and a cinema.
Another interesting fact: in 1975, the ship took part in the famous Peeper comedy.
Starward sailed under the flags of NCL for 27 years!
In 1995, the ship was sold to the cruise company called Festival Cruises. Her new name was Bolero.
In 2005, Orient Queen (the new name of the ship) went to Dubai. She was planned to operate cruises in the Persian Gulf, but this idea failed.
In 2006, the cruise liner participated in the evacuation of the US citizens from Lebanon. The evacuation was accompanied by the two US Navy warships.
The cruise ship Orient Queen departs Beirut, Lebanon. The ship, under contract with the U.S. government, is part of the larger U.S. military mission to assist U.S. citizens in their departure from Lebanon.
Then the ship was sold to Louis Cruises. Until 2016, the ship operated the Mediterranean cruises under the flag of this company.
In 2013, the cruise liner got the new name of Louis Aura.
In early 2016, there was news about the ship's scrapping. However, there's also information that currently the ship operates cruises along the coast of Turkey under the flag of the Turkish company called Etstur.
In 1991, the company sold the ship to Asia. From 1991 to 1993, the ship had many names: Shangri-La World, Asean World, and Fantasy World.
Finally, in 1993, the former Skyward received the name of Leisure World. She still sails under this name.
Mainly, the ship operated cruises from Singapore. In 2000, the former Skyward was sold to the New Century Cruise Line. Since that time, the ship operated cruises from Singapore as a casino ship. She used to be one of the three major casinos operating off Batam. However, in 2014, due to the laws, she remained almost the only one. It is not quite clear whether the ship still operates cruises as the casino, but she still makes sailings from Singapore.
Since 1987, Southward operated cruises from LA. By the way, this event changed the name of the company, which was originally called Norwegian Caribbean Line. Due to the expansion of markets and directions, the company got the new name: it became known as Norwegian Cruise Line, and the abbreviation remained the same - NCL.
Let's return to Southward. The ship was a part of NCL until 1994. In 1995, the ship joined the fleet of her new owners, the British Airtours, which owned the Sun Cruises company. The new name of the ship was Seawing.
In 2004, the former Southward became known as Perla. The ship joined the fleet of Louis Cruise Lines. From 2008 to 2010, the cruise liner sailed under the name of The Aegean Pearl, and the Pearl Navigation company was her new owner.
Then the ship was owned by Rio Cruises and Venus Cruise Lines, and her names were Rio and Venus respectively.
In 2013 the ship was scrapped in Aliaga, Turkey.
Cunard Adventurer launched in 1971 was the next ship of the company. The cruise liner sailed under the flags of Cunard for 6 years. She was the first Cunard's ship in the 20th century that did not have the name beginning on "Queen" or ending with "ia."
In 1977, NCL bought the ship. Her new name was Sunward II.
Sunward II was the part of the NCL's fleet until 1991.
Then the cruise liner sailed under the flag of Epirotiki Line for 4 years.
Then, from 1995 to 2004, the former Sunward II that was called Triton at that time was the part of Royal Olympic Cruises.
The next ship purchased by NCL was the famous ship! One of the best ships in the world - SS France!
We've already talked about this ship in the article called History of Cruises. Part 5. Between the War and Boeing 747.
We'd like to remind you several facts.
At the time of construction (1961), the 65,000 ton SS France was the longest ship ever built. This record remained unchanged until 2004 (!) until RMS Queen Mary 2 was launched.
Besides, the ship was the largest ship! This record was cracked only in 1988.
SS France was the flagship of French Line, also known to us under the name of Compagnie Générale Transatlantique, until 1974. She was one of the best cruise liners of her time.
In 1974, due to financial problems, the ship stopped sailing. SS France just stood at the pier in Le Havre for months.
In 1977, SS France was bought by a millionaire from Saudi Arabia. The purpose of the purchase was to use the cruise liner as a floating museum, the casino, and the hotel! According to rumors, the Soviet Union and China wanted to buy the ship. In the end, in 1979, already known to us Knut Kloster bought the once luxury liner for $ 18mln. The ship became the largest cruise liner in the world!
The ship departed from Miami on her first voyage around the Caribbean islands. It is worth noting that there were many questions about the ship because she was built as the ocean liner. Her length, draft, speed, dimensions of the cabins were quite unusual for the cruise market. Nevertheless, cruises on SS Norway became very popular, and this ocean liner's highlight played an important role.
To match the title of the best ship, she underwent major repairs for several times. For example, in 1993 and 1996.
However, the years were taking their toll, and the once beautiful liner was gradually giving ground... Mechanical issues occurred from time to time.
Despite all the problems, SS Norway remained very popular! However, the problems continued. In 1999, in Barcelona, there was a fire on the ship. It knocked the ship out of service for 3 weeks. After that, the ship broke down in Bergen.
On September 9, 2001, SS Norway departed on one of the last transatlantic voyages from New York to Le Havre. In 2 days, there was the 9/11 terrorist attack.
On May 25, 2003, the liner's boiler exploded when she was in the port of Miami. At least 8 crew members died. 17 people were injured. More than 2,000 passengers and about 900 crew members were evacuated.
On June 27, 2003, NCL decided to send the ship to Europe. The cruise liner crossed the Atlantic under tow.
It was stated that the ship would get the new boiler. During the repair, the crews of the other NCL's ships were trained on the ship.
After the repair, the company decided that the ship would cease operating cruises.
SS Norway anchored in Bremerhaven, Germany, February 2004
In 2005, the once beautiful cruise liner was delivered by a tugboat to Port Klang, Malaysia.
The ship was sent for scrapping in December 2005.
However, after the Greenpeace protests, the scrapping was postponed.
In April 2006, SS Norway was sold to Bridgend Shipping Limited of Monrovia. The ship got the new name of Blue Lady. The ship was still being prepared for scrapping.
After negotiations, a long stay in the waters of Malaysia, the rumors about the plans to restore the ship in the UAE, finally, the former world's best ship SS France/SS Norway was sent for scrapping in Alang.
To be continued.
We'll have more articles about the history of the other ships that sailed under the flag of Norwegian Cruise Line.
Below are photos (18+) for the fans of cruises and ships.
It's the story about how SS France/SS Norway was dying.
Sic transit gloria mundi...
SS Norway in the NCL's livery.