With Reuben Goossens

Maritime Historian


Page Two


Klosters – Norwegian Cruise Line


SS Norway

ex French Lines - SS France




SS Norway in her latter days as a NCL Cruise Ship


June 1979 the sophisticated, elegant French grand dame entered a new guise when she was sold to the Oslo-based Klosters Rederi A/S, one of Norway's oldest and most respected shipping firms. Renamed SS Norway she was converted to become the largest cruise ship of her time. Many thought that she was too large to be a cruise ship and many felt that the cruise industry was dwindling. How wrong they were, SS Norway started a new wave of interest in cruising.

Above and below: SS Norway seen in her new Guise as a fine Cruise Ship

With her fine heritage and size SS Norway became the most popular cruise ships sailing out of Florida. Her success was so great, other companies realised this market would be profitable and placed their ships in the US market. A wealthy American, Mr. Mickey Arison set up a new cruise company, Carnival Cruises, and marketed it to Mr and Mrs average and the younger market. It was a great success, and today, Carnival Corp, owns more that half of the cruise companies, including the famed Cunard, Holland America, P&O, etc.

SS Norway in the Blohm Voss Dry-Dock #II

Photo from the J& J Larsen photo collection

During her refit, two propellers and four boilers were removed, reducing Norway’s top speed from a maximum of 35 knots down to around 25 knots. Her interiors saw many changes made and she would now successfully serve as a one-class cruise ship. Upon completion, she operated a variety of cruises from Miami, including those to the owner’s private islands in the Cayman Islands.


SS Norway seen prior her massive 1990 rebuilding

Photo from the J& J Larsen photo collection 

A further series of major refits and she was dramatically rebuilt, which changed her appearance greatly, as well as her tonnage. During September and October 1990 two additional decks were added atop the Norway, which added 135 luxury cabins and suites.

Ship lovers worldwide criticised the addition of these two decks. Although still an attractive ship, she looked top heavy! However, in spite of this SS Norway always remained a grand and an imposing sight.


Norway received additional refits in 1993 and 1996 in order to comply with the new SOLAS (Safety of Life At Sea) regulations. These upgrades would allow her to continue cruising well into the future. Thankfully her funnels had been repainted, taken on the new NCL livery with a dark blue funnel with a gold NCL logo, which was a vast improvement.


Specifications SS Norway


Tonnage:                76,049 GRT

Passengers:             2,032 (twin basis)

                              2,370 (all berths)

Crew:                      875


Photo Album - Part One


As the Norway she gained a more modern look internally, as seen here in the Dazzles Disco

The glass dance floor in the background was built on top the former aft pool.















 The Classic Glass enclosed Promenade Deck

 Seen from the entrance of Café de Paris








 -The entrance to Club Internationale and seating on

--Promenade deck










 The Leeward Restaurant


A Lobby


A Stairwell


 Another view of the magnificent Promenade Deck





-Author’s private collection







Raoul Fiebig of Das Ruderhaus-








By Raoul Fiebig of Das Ruderhaus


A fine view of her extensive aft decks and pool


SS Norway’s Final Days

Being a steam ship Norway became expensive to operate, however NCL was taken over by the Malaysian Genting Casino Corporation Star Cruises, who decided to keep her in operation due to her massive popularity and loyal following. In 1999, Norway experienced a turbo-charger fire as she entered Barcelona, which put her out of action for three weeks. 

 A stern view of the Norway revealing the aft extensions to her decks

On May 25, 2003, having docked at 5.00 am in Miami, the Norway was severely damaged by a boiler explosion at 6.30 am. Seven lives were lost as well as seventeen injured. None of the passengers were affected. On June 27, 2003, NCL/Star decided to relocate SS Norway. She departed Miami under tow, although at first NCL/Star refused to announce her destination. However, she headed for Europe and eventually arrived in Bremerhaven on September 23, 2003. Soon NCL/Star announced that boiler parts were available to repair her, and to build a new boiler was out of question.


 SS Norway departs Miami under tow

Provided by Smit Wijs - International Tug company

On March 17, 2004, Colin Veitch Chairman of NCL announced that the “Norway would not return to “North American cruise duties,” however, he stated that NCL/Star “will continue to evaluate appropriate options for the vessel,” however the Norway had “been officially removed from the NCL fleet.”

Aerial Shot of the Norway in Bremerhaven

© taken by Raoul Fiebig of Das Ruderhaus


Norway continues to look magnificent whilst berthed in Bremerhaven

© taken by Raoul Fiebig of Das Ruderhaus

The decision to remove her from the NCL fleet she remained berthed in Bremerhaven until 2005, when she was towed to Port Klang Malaysia. Star Cruises said that she would remain in use, either as a static Casino in Singapore, or on short overnight casino cruises, although at a slow speed on her remaining boiler

SS Norway seen at night in Bremerhaven

© taken by Raoul Fiebig of Das Ruderhaus

However, in December that year, Star Cruises sold her to a Bangladeshi (Liberian registered) breaker who renamed her Blue Lady after which she headed off to be broken up but was soon stopped due to a massive outcry by her loyal followers as well as Greenpeace, who protested regarding the huge amount of asbestos onboard. Apparently, Greenpeace claimed that she sailed to Malaysia illegally due to some asbestor law, and that all asbestos should have been removed prior her departure for Asia. SS Blue Lady was forced to return to Port Klang and was anchored just outside the port, where she remains today (May 7, 2006).
















Above we see SS Norway anchored off Port Klang. In December 2005, her name painted out and her new name Blue Lady stencilled above. We can also see that her large tenders, originally located on her foredeck have been removed, as has much of her fine furnishings and other fittings. Star/NCL will use some items on some of their other cruise ships.

The next page will have the Norway Photo Album Part Two, as well as SS Norway at Port Klang, her renaming, and the underhanded disposal of the ship by Star Cruises to the breakers.



Page One                       SS France

Page Two                      SS Norway

Page Three                    SS Norway – Blue Lady

Page Four                      Norway Deck Plan

Photo                            QE2 passes the Norway

Photo                            Photographer Don Tremain presents his experience and four photographs

Photo                           Tomas-Rosales shares his photographs of the Norway in Miami

Photo                           Michael and Lee Ann Pavlick honeymoon cruise in 2002

Photo                            Norway in BremerhavenPage Two

Photo                            Norway Departs Bremerhaven 23 May 2005

Photo                           A series of photographs of SS Blue Lady in Alang

Story                             Pauli Dangerousli describes his 1997 cruise on the SS Norway

Story                            “The Ship that Saved my Life” – The Karl Henrik Henriksen Story (2 pages)

Article                           “Surreal times on the SS France” by Patrick Jackson

Brochure                       This inaugural SS Norway brochure (1980) was provided by Mr. Michael Bobo


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