MS Kungsholm IV 1966 -1978 - Now P&Os Sea Princess, Victoria, Mona Lisa, Oceanic II - to her voyage to the Alang ship breakers in 2015!
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With Reuben Goossens
Maritime Historian, CruisenShip Reviewer, Author & Maritime Lecturer
Please Note: All ssMaritime and other related maritime/cruise sites are 100% non-commercial and privately owned. Be assured that I am NOT associated with any shipping or cruise companies or any travel/cruise agencies or any other organisations! Although the author has been in the passenger shipping industry since 1960, although is now retired but having completed around 680 Classic Liners and Cargo-Passengers Ships features I trust these will continue to provide classic ship enthusiasts the information the are seeking, but above all a great deal of pleasure! Reuben Goossens.
Above & below: Looking at the two photographs we can clearly see what has been done to one of the finest Swedish
ships built in the 1960s and sadly she certainly does not look anything like the magnificent ship we once knew!
The Australian cruise market was a lucrative one for P&O/Princess Cruises and thus the 1954 built SS Arcadia had been operating cruises based in Sydney during the summer months, as well in the Americas and Great Britain. However, she was in need to be replaced and when the Kungsholm came on the market she was the perfect size for P&O and decided that with a comprehensive rebuilding programme and refit she would be the perfect ship for the role and therefore she was purchased by the P&O Passenger Division, and was registered under the ownership of Finance for Shipping Ltd, based in London.
The magnificent MS Kungsholm departed
The photographs below show the rebuilding that was carried out at the Bremer Vulkan Schiffbau und Machinenfabrik GmbH, from October 1978 to January 1979. Two images show the new top sections of the funnel extension before it was added.
The following images are from the authors private collection
were provided to me originally, by the now late, Herr. Horst von
The as yet unnamed P&O ship is in the process of being rebuilt. As we can see already the
oncegazed in aft promenade section of Veranda Deck was closed in and now contains cabins
I believe it was one of the great tragedies when they removed the forward funnel, reducing it to an ugly stump of superstructure
Although on practical terms, it did allow for additional deck space
we see the top section what will form the new aft funnel
Here we see the top section what will form the new aft funnel
is the Sea Princess at the Bremer Vulkan Shipyard on the day of
the official handover to P&O accepted by Captain Peter Love.
This is the Sea Princess at the Bremer Vulkan Shipyard on the day of the official handover to P&O accepted by Captain Peter Love.
The official handing over and naming party on January 15, 1979
just named MV Sea Princess is seen here at her Fit out Berth,
just prior to her sailing for
P&OsMV Sea Princess:
On January 20, 1979 the new Sea Princes
The ex Kungsholm seen with her all new look tall almost pointy funnel as the P&O MV Sea Princess
Note that cabins now occupy the aft end of Veranda Deck as more passenger accommodations were required!
Photo by & © Joni Davis
In due course the new Sea Princess became a popular cruise ships in spite of the shock of her new look by those in the maritime community. The truth was that P&O ensured that she would provide excellent service and with good food and entertainment and with her delightful interior and overall charm she quickly won the hearts of many cruise lovers around the world over the years!
The new MV Sea Princess accommodated 750
passengers in comfort and in style and she was registered as
being 27,670 GRT. When she arrived for the very first time in
Southampton and she was made ready to sail, her first passengers
boarded, with most of who were bound either for
bow view of the Sea Princess in
A troubled ship! It did not take long
for the crew to figure out that this was going to be a
troublesome ship, for there were fuel problems and when she
The 29,664 GRT SS Arcadia was built to be the
traditional P&O passenger liner, operating regular line
voyages between the Southampton and Sydney, then in more recent
times she served as a popular cruise ship based mostly in
Postcard of the very last of the traditional P&O style liners left
in the world, the SS Arcadia seen here fully dressed for cruise duties
Having taken on the
Sea Princess in
Photographer unknown *See photo notes at the bottom of page
She had become a popular cruise ship in
However, the Australians did well, for in
place of the Sea Princess the magnificent 1,500 passenger, 41,915
GRT SS Oriana arrived in Sydney on December 22, 1981 and she was
now officially based in
The very last Orient Liner ever built, the great SS Oriana
She had huge deck spaces, as well as a vast number of lounges, bars and several pools and a host of special facilities! She became one of the most popular cruise ships of her time!
Although the Sea Princess did visit
Sea Princess operated one more Around the World
Voyage in 1985 visiting
Sea Princess arrives for her final visit to
Photograph by & © my good friend Stan Evans
P&Os Sea Princess is seen berthed at the Overseas Passenger Terminal at Circular Quay
Photograph by & © my good friend Stan Evans
In November 1986 the Sea Princess was transferred to Princess Cruises, and externally the only visible change was that the funnel was painted all white with the typical Princess blue Sea Witch logo on it. Princess cruises gave her an extensive refit upgrading her lounges but especially her cabins.
Princess Cruises aerial Postcard of the MV Sea Princess, featuring the Sea Witch logo on her funnel
When completed she spent the early part of 1987 in Port Everglades operating cruises to the Caribbean, then she operated a cruise through the Panama Canal to San Francisco from where she operated cruises to Alaska, and then a Trans-Pacific Cruise to Asia and Australia in December.
Sea Princess is seen during one of her cruises
The handsome bow of the Sea Princess
by & © ex 1986 crew member -
She would return to
The completed new MV Sea Princess
Thus in 1995 the Sea Princess was transferred
Thus in 1995 the Sea Princess was transferred
is seen here after being returned to P&O renamed
She became what we may call a genuine British
P&O cruise ship and she operated with the
Then in 1999, the
This is a fine photo of the MV Victoria and as we can see she now has two more navigation pods topside, making it three!
Due to the arrival of new ships that were being built for the P&O UK, it was decided to dispose of the Victoria, although many P&O regulars were greatly saddened to hear it, for she had been a comfortable ship and she was regarded as an intimate and a happy ship to sail on, a ship that had a rich maritime history and she was a ship that that still felt like a ship! Although her crew may not have agreed, for she was a greatly troubled ship that needed a great deal of maintenance!
At first her livery changed with her new name
on her bow and stern sections and featuring a white funnel with a
large oval painting of the famous
After seven years with P&O and with new
ships being built it was in 2002 that the MV Victoria was sold by
P&O to a Greek Company by the name of Leonardo Shipping,
being officially registered in the
MV Mona Lisa seen here with her first funnel, being white with the painting operated by Holiday Kreuzfahrten
The Mona Lisa was quickly taken up and
chartered by a German company named Holiday Kreuzfahrten and she
operated for them for four years, until they were declared
bankrupt in September 2006. Mona Lisa was laid up at
now famous Maroon-red
In November she was again chartered and she
Royal Caribbean Cruises MV Oceanic II, but still showing her Mona Liza funnel
Photograph by & © Georges Koutsoukis
Soon she was transferred to Pullmantur Cruises, being is a subsidiary of Royal Caribbean International (RCI) for the 2007 northern hemisphere summer season and thus hey repainted her funnel in the Pullmantur traditional blue funnel as well as the logo along the ships hull!
Oceanic II is seen whilst cruising for RCIs Spanish Pullmantur Cruises
Photograph by & © Soren Lund Hviid
However, briefly for just a month, from April 30 to May 28 2007, Louis Hellenic Cruises sub-chartered MV Oceanic II as a temporary replacement for the MV Sea Diamond (ex 1986 Birka Princess) that had tragically ran aground on a well-marked volcanic reef east of Nea Kameni on April 6, 2007.
Having returned to Pullmantur Cruises she continued operating cruises for the Spanish market, however it became known that the Scholar Ship organisation was in need of a ship and they decided to charter her.
She was refitted to become an educational ship for the Scholar Ship international education program, being a cooperative venture between seven major world universities and RCI. Again her blue funnel was given a new Scholar Ship logo. The Scholar Ship offered undergraduate and graduate semester programs during four-month voyages. The inaugural voyage embarked in September 2007, with a second voyage in early 2008.
ScholarShip - MV Oceanic II seen in
Photograph from the authors private collection
In June 2008 the announcement came that the charter would end, thus the MV Oceanic II returned to the Leonardo Shipping Company and her previous name Mona Lisa was restored as well as receiving a comprehensive refit.
Please Note: A Photo Album of her 2008 facilities will be on her Deck Plan & Photo Page 4.
Once again she was returned to the German charter market and another far more successful tour operator now took charge of the Mona Lisa, this being the Giant; Lord Nelson Seereisen. This agreement ran from April 28 to August 31, 2008.
Mona Lisa arrives in
However, on May 4, 2008, the
As soon as the Lord Nelson Seereisen 2008
charter had ended the Mona Lisa was again taken up, but this time
to the Japanese Peace Boat Organisation in order for her to
undertake a three-month Around the World Voyage
Mona Lisa is seen ready to depart
Note the PeaceBoat sign on the forward funnel stump!
Upon her return from the Peace Boat world voyage in April 2009, she was again chartered to Lord Nelson Seereisen to operate the Mona Lisa during the 2009 northern hemisphere summer season. Thus she continued to be a busy ship as she had been constantly in operation, although with a good number of operators.
An excellent starboard view of the Mona Lisa
She also was chartered for the 2010 Winter
Olympics and Paralympics in Vancouver and Whistler from January
26, to March 23, 2010, when the Mona Lisa would be used as a
floating facility, which she was docked at in
Mona Lisa was to continue her cruises with
You may well know, but it was well known by all officers and crew of the Sea Princess that from when she was given her transformation and refit to become the Sea Princess in 1978/79 she was suddenly became besotted with mechanical gremlins from day one when she joined the P&O fleet. I know from what I have been told, this continued to the day she was sold in 2010 to become a hotel. This once perfect ship, for some strange reason became a mechanical monster for her mechanical reports clearly prove that she suffered from ongoing problems and breakdowns! Sometimes, I asked myself, was it the Kungsholm fighting back and angry with what was done to her, one of the finest ships ever built?
The aforementioned came from a certain P&O Officer and he stated that this one perfect ship he knew so well in her previous life, became nothing but trouble, after she was rebuilt, and all he could say is, Ill say no more than that after I asked him, Do you believe in certain powers? Another senior member of the staff on Sea Princess maiden voyage stated that passengers had a wonderful cruise, but behind the scene, there were toilets backing up and overflowing, a fire as well as cabins flooding and other problems! Thus it was rather strange that the MS Kungsholm which had a clean record and certainly no problems, that suddenly after her rebuild she became a difficult ship! Believe it or not, there were even some crew who began to blame Swedish crew who may have sabotaged the ship. Strange, considering that other Swedish ships had been sold and none of them had any problems, but then again not one of them were dramatically destroyed externally!
John Brown & Company,
Tonnage: 26,678 GRT.
Length: 201.2m 660ft.
Width: 26.3m 86.3ft.
Draught: 8.56m - 28.1ft.
Engines: Two direct drive Gotaverken 9 cylinder
slow speed two stroke diesel engines - 27,700 SHP.
Service speed: 16 knots cruising speed.
Passengers: 1979 - 750 One Class.
. 2002 - 782.
. 2007 - 1,187 using all berths when with Louis Cruises.
. 2008 - 778.
. Fully Air-Conditioned.
. Denny Brown Stabilisers.
MV Mona Lisas salvation as the Veronica.
The ex the Mona Lisa sold to DSME of Oman
and she is currently in Oman. She has been rebuilt into a
luxury hotel ship and will be berthed in the
Within a few months, she will be opened as a hotel ship, but as she has been given a new name, she has been renamed the Veronica. Thus with her new role as a luxury hotel, thankfully this once great ship the MS Kungsholm will be with us for whatever number of year she remain in service here. As a hotel she offers several fine dining and spectacular entertainment options. There are a good number of facilities that will be available to her guests such as comfortable lounges, cafes and coffee shops, a shopping gallery, a business center, spa facilities and health center, swimming pools and in and out door sports facilities. The completely refurbished Veronica now offers just 261 luxury rooms all of which and are comfortable and spacious with every possible amenity. Hotel Veronica officially opened in July 2011.
Some of the ships her original cabins have been
redesigned, very similar to those on the great ex
Thus with her new role as a luxury hotel, thankfully this once great ship the MS Kungsholm will be with us in the future. Operating as a hotel she does not require SOLAS certification, thus she will require a massive amount of work to make her certification ready and I doubt that anyone will spend that much. For, I have never been sure if her engines have remained operational, or if she was land serviced? No matter what, she will need to be towed, should she ever be moved as she has no certification!
The ex MV Kungsholm, Sea Princess, Victoria, Mona Lisa, Oceanic II, Mona Lisa & Hotel Veronica closed operations in October 2013, and after a two year lay up at Oman, she was sadly sold to Indian ship-breakers at Alang in October 2015 for around US$20 to 23 million.
The forlorn badly neglected Veronica is seen awaiting her fate at Duqm late 2015
ex Mona Lisa, Victoria, Sea Princess and the Stately MS Kungsholm
Photograph taken by & © Neil Thomas & used with permission!
The tug Kamarina slowly assisted the Veronica
from her berth at Duqm and headed for
I hereby wish to mention that there was an excellent and a long-standing attempt to save this fine ship by Mr. Lars Hallgren. below are some of the final details of his great attempt!
A letter of intent had been signed between the
ships owners and Swedish entrepreneur
This is how she would have looked had the Kungsholm project gone ahead
Tragically as we have discovered in the past
with other port and city authorities, and again in the case of
the Swedish authorities, they are just great at destroying things
and they have no desire in restoring and retaining great things
that really matter, especially the greatest liner ever built in
their country and using it to promote their city and country to
the world! The restored Kungsholm would have provided an
opportunity to display
Thus, Lars Hallgren this is a special thank you from me and the millions of supporters of ssmaritime.com, for you have done a remarkable job!
MS Kungsholm IV INDEX:
Page One Kungsholm Advance 1965 Promotional Brochure
Page Two History - MS Kungsholm from 1966 to 1975 with SAL.
. And 1975 to 1978 with Flagship Cruises.
Page Three Sea Princess, Victoria, Mona Lisa, Oceanic II,
. & Hotel Veronica. Sold in 2015 to breakers in Alang.
Page Four MV Mona Lisa Photo Album & Deck Plan.
Water Liners sailing to the distant shores.
I watched them come, I watched them go and I watched them die.
Memories ~ The Way she Was!
MS Kungsholm is seen here departing Wellington New
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Photographs on ssmaritime and associate pages are either by the author or from the authors private collection. In addition there are some images and photographs that have been provided by Shipping Companies or private photographers or collectors. Credit is given to all contributors, however, there are some photographs provided to me without details regarding the photographer or owner concerned. Therefore, I hereby invite if owners of these images would be so kind to make them-selves known to me (my email address can be found at the bottom of the page on www.ssmaritime.com), in order that due credit may be given.
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