Sovereign of the Seas is the first ship we'd like to talk about today. The ship was built in 1988. She was the largest cruise ship built since Queen Elizabeth at the time of construction. With a tonnage of 73,192 GT, Sovereign of the Seas retained this title until 1995, when Sun Princess was launched.
Sovereign of the Seas cruised mostly the Bahamas and the southern coast of the United States. Miami and Port Canaveral were her home ports.
An interesting fact: in 2004, during the repair, a TV show called Dry-Dock, A Cruise Ship Reborn was filmed on the ship. You may remember that Travel Channel showed it.
A new liner of the Sovereign class called Monarch of the Seas was built for Royal Caribbean in 1991. Just like her sister, this ship became one of the largest ships in the world at the time of her launching.
Monarch of the Seas accommodated more than 2700 guests!
The ship served Royal Caribbean for 22 years! However, there were not only beautiful moments during this time.
In 1998, the ship ran aground (ran on a reef) near Philipsburg, St. Maarten. Monarch of the Seas got a hull breach and began to take in water. Thank God no one was hurt, and the ship was repaired in a dry dock.
It's interesting to know that a woman, Karin Stahre Janson, became the captain of the ship in 2007. She was the first female captain of the cruise liner!
In 2013, Monarch of the Seas was transferred to a partly-owned subsidiary - Pullmantur Cruises.
There she met her sister, the former Sovereign of the Seas we've already talked about.
The name did not change much, although "of the Seas" was removed, and the cruise liner was called simply MS Monarch.
This ship repeated the fate of Sovereign of the Seas a little.
Interesting info: the ship had a seven-story (!) Atrium. If we are not mistaken, it was a breakthrough in the industry at that time.
During her service, the cruise liner operated cruises in almost all oceans on Earth.
In 2015, 20 years after the launch, it was decided to sell the ship to a young German company called TUI Cruises. We do not know whether the word "to sell" is correct in this situation since TUI Cruises is the partly-owned subsidiary of Royal Caribbean.
TUI Cruises, in turn, transferred the ship to its subsidiary company - Thomson Cruises.
Since June 2016, the ship sails under the new name of TUI Discovery.
Legend of the Seas was the last ship that left the company's fleet (as of June 2017).
Legend of the Seas was built in 1994. She became the flagship of the new Vision-class. By the way, as far as we understand, she had the first seven-story Atrium ever!
Legend of the Seas is a record-holder! She cruised almost throughout the world: in Asia, Australia, New Zealand and South Pacific, North and Central America, Caribbean, North Europe and Baltic, West Europe, Mediterranean and the Middle East!
In May 2017, TUI Discovery 2 (the new name of the ship) made her first cruise under the new flag.
It is not the end of our story.
We'd like to tell you about several interesting facts. We did not know which place in chronological order we should give to these ships, so we'll talk about them separately.
Let's call them the "special" ships.
Once Royal Caribbean wanted to say goodbye to these ships, and the company said it. Nevertheless, the ships are still in the fleet.
For example, Majesty of the Seas, the third sister of the Sovereign-class. Majesty of the Seas was built in 1992. Queen Sonja of Norway became the ship's Godmother.
The ship was to repeat the fate of her "senior sisters," Sovereign of the Seas and Monarch of the Seas. At the end of 2014, the company announced that Majesty of the Seas would be transferred to the Pullmantur fleet in 2016.
However, something went wrong. In the summer of 2015, Royal Caribbean withdrew their plans and said that Majesty of the Seas would remain in their fleet!
It's not the end of interesting events. Empress of the Seas was the next ship with the similar fate.
The ship was built in 1989 for Admiral Cruise Lines, but this company was absorbed by Royal Caribbean in 1987, so the ship was already the future RCI ship at the end of her construction. Moreover, there were some changes made to the drawings during construction, and the Viking Crown and Windjammer Cafe, a distinctive feature of the Royal Caribbean brand, appeared on the ship.
The ship was originally named Nordic Empress.
The fact that she was the world's first cruise ship that was designed and built specifically for 3-4 day cruises was her unique feature.
Nordic Empress made cruises in the Bahamas and the Caribbean. In 1999, the ship began to operate cruises to Bermuda from New York.
By the way, Nordic Empress was the last ship in the Royal Caribbean fleet that did not have the "of the Seas" ending.
It lasted until 2004 when the ship was renamed Empress of the Seas after her reconstruction.
This could be the end of our article. But no! :-)
In autumn 2015, Royal Caribbean announced that it would return the ship to its fleet! We can only guess the reasons, but we think that this news delighted many cruise lovers!
New-old Empress of the Seas began to operate cruises to the Bahamas and Cuba. We suppose you already know it. :-)
It was the story of the former ships of Royal Caribbean (and several current ones).
Taking into account the new modern mega-ships that join the company's fleet, we understand that this list is far from over. It means that soon we may release the third part of this article.
Well, we'll see!