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Breaking Blues

Posted on Saturday, May 8, 2010 by

MV CASINO ROYALE at Freeport in late 2008. Photo and copyright Peter Knego.

Even though the steel market is down, Alang remains backed up with nearly every plot full, some with a second vessel “in waiting”.  Stripping of WINNER 5 (ex AUSONIA, IVORY) has begun and cutting is imminent.  DALMACIJA and GLORY (ex ANNA NERY, etc.) are nearly gone.  No news yet on the fate of stranded and broken PLATINUM II (ex INDEPENDENCE) off Gopnath other than she continues to be swirled in controversy and no locals have been allowed near the wreck.  MAESTRO (ex RENAISSANCE, BLUE MONARCH, etc.) anchored off Port Said for several days awaiting a sale for further trading but when that fizzled, she transited Suez and has since reached Mumbai, where she will rest at anchor until month’s end before finishing off at Alang (REGAL EMPRESS did the same thing last year).  The unsuccessful ferry/casino/cruise ship CASINO ROYALE (originally the HML ferry CASTALIA of 1974) has reportedly gone to Alang after a long layup at Freeport (see photo above).  Another 1974-built ferry, WINNER 8 (the former PETER PAN, etc.) has also been sold to Alang breakers.  The latter last sailed as Comanav’s OUZOUD.

SAGA ROSE (ex SAGAFJORD) made three calls in South Africa after rounding the Cape and was supposedly moving eastward towards Singapore and then China but is now back in SA waters.  The ship’s last owners, Saga Holidays, remains silent about the ROSE’s fate, fueling much speculation.

And back in the USA, the once popular and trendsetting river cruise boat MISSISSIPPI QUEEN was quietly sold for scrap after being laid up near New Orleans for the past few years.  The vessel, built in 1975, was stripped in preparation for a major refurbishment that never happened due to the collapse of her last operators, Majestic America Line.  The badly neglected MISSISSIPPI QUEEN, reportedly infested with dangerous mold, will proceed some 40 miles north of New Orleans for dismantling.

26 Responses to Breaking Blues

  1. David Walker

    May 10, 2010 at 6:09 am

    Losing the MISSISSIPPI QUEEN is a real tragedy. She is an American Icon and should have been saved. There is no excuse for a ship this small to have been neglected and now on her way to a scrapyard.

  2. Richard Weisenberger

    May 10, 2010 at 9:54 am

    It wasn’t enough that the steamer Delta Queen was relegated to use as a floating hotel. I remember when this boat was built and premiered in Cincinnati during the 1976 Bicentennial. No one will be hearing her whistle or calliope anymore-at least not on her. Could the American Queen be next???

  3. Shipyard Sam

    May 10, 2010 at 12:20 pm

    II was at the planning sessions that became the MISSISSIPPI QUEEN, and when she was launched on Mark Twain’s birthday, the Director of Marine Operations of the owners ran excitedly to me and exclaimed, “That’s your boat that just came down the ways!” But that didn’t prove to be so, but I was working aboard the MQ in 1978 and met the love of my life, a beautiful red haired maid who went by the name of “Fish” who loved that boat with all her heart. Fish died three years ago, and if she had lived to see this day, it would have broken her heart. This tragic loss of the Steamer MISSISSIPPI QUEEN is the end result of what stupid people can do given the chance to get into place they don’t belong. It was gross mismanagement and dirty politics, and not the economy that wrecked not only the MISSISSIPPI QUEEN, but also the DELTA QUEEN and the AMERICAN QUEEN. Overnight steamboating is dead thanks to these bunglers. Betty Blake and the Fish must both be spinning in their graves.

  4. William Hickey

    May 12, 2010 at 6:02 am

    As the Greene line operated the Delta Queen successfully for so many years it is hard to believe that someone would not take over these boats and be able to keep them running. Simple is best but in an effort for sales and marketing people to justify their existence we have lost one of the greatest treasures the Mississippi River, if not the world, shall ever know.

  5. River Rat

    May 15, 2010 at 6:08 am

    She is full of asbestos. All it will take to stop the project is a tip to the EPA.

  6. BlueEyedCubTN

    May 16, 2010 at 4:07 pm

    It is such a shame that Mississippi Queen is to be dismantled. I understand that SOLAS laws nearly did in the Delta Queen, and am grateful that the City of Chattanooga has helped to preserve her, even if her overnight voyages are no more. When will this madness end? I’ve seen too many icons be sent on their way to be destroyed. Mississippi Queen will now join the ranks of such famous names as SS Independence, SS Norway, and a host of others. Mississippi Queen was a gorgeous riverboat. No piece of magnificence should ever have to be in danger of destruction.

  7. Chris

    May 17, 2010 at 8:34 pm

    Was the Casino Royale originally the Scandinavian Saga For Sea escape? I worked on her out of St petersburg back in 1988, i did not think she was in such bad shape she would need to be scrapped.

  8. David

    May 17, 2010 at 11:27 pm

    Does anyone know where the American Queen is laid up. Is she due to be scrapped as well. Hopefully not ! I was a passenger on the Mississippi Queen for New Years cruise in the mid-80’s Loved it.


  9. David

    May 17, 2010 at 11:30 pm

    Does anyone know who if anyone bought the Sagarose ? My guess she is got to much asbestos and will be scrapped. Such a Tragedy.

  10. David

    May 17, 2010 at 11:33 pm

    Castalia (Casino Royale) was basically a larger version of HML’s small cruise ship Aquarius. But could carry car’s.

  11. Franz Neumeier

    May 18, 2010 at 10:28 am

    @David: The American Queen is with the MARAD fleet at Beaumont, TX, and is up for sale. As there is still a high dept on her, it’s very, very unlikely that the MARAD will sell her for scrap. See Google Maps: http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&source=s_q&hl=de&geocode=&q=Beaumont,+Texas,+USA&sll=37.0625,-95.677068&sspn=53.609468,135.263672&ie=UTF8&hq=&hnear=Beaumont,+Jefferson+County,+Texas&ll=30.024014,-94.000496&spn=0.001809,0.004128&t=h&z=19

  12. Deborah DAmbrosi

    May 18, 2010 at 3:28 pm

    Any more word on the CASINO ROYALE?? It’s ashame she can’t still be used, she’s a smart looking ship.

  13. David

    May 18, 2010 at 10:29 pm


    Thank You for the info ! I hope someone will buy her and put her back into service. But it’s to bad the Mississippi Queen is being scrapped. Luckily the Delta Queen is still around even if its only for hotel use.


  14. David

    May 18, 2010 at 10:34 pm

    Does anyone know if HML Castalia’s smaller cruise ship sister Aquarius is still sailing ? For a while I know she was Croatia Lines Adriane.

  15. David

    May 19, 2010 at 10:14 am


    Anyone out there know what happened to the EMPRESS OF THE NORTH ?

    I know her smaller sister QUEEN OF THE WEST, was sold to American cruise line late last year.

    Let us all know

  16. Charles Sears II

    May 19, 2010 at 7:41 pm

    I too am upset about all of these ships going off to be scrapped. The SS Norway was a beautiful ship and I sailed on her 4 times just to be on her,same for the Rotterdam,at least she is being preserved. I sailed on the SS United States as a baby to Europe,and the Queen Elizabeth II two times westward from Europe.Also on the Regal Empress when she was the Caribe for Commodore cruises,and the Starward when she was doing Mexican 3 and 4 night cruises out of LA.I have done about 40 cruises in total and I miss those older classic liners. They had class and a history,not like all these new layer cakes that look like boxes out on the sea,and are so huge and carry way too many people who don’t have the money to pay for all the extras added on to their bills daily.I took/take a cruise to go to the dining room every night and sit with the same people night after night and share stories of their day and their adventures in port,as well as make friends for a lifetime. I have been complimented many times that I have made the cruise very pleasant my tablemates by my conversation and interest in their lives,and my entertaining ways. I can do without the rock climbing and the surfing and all the noise and games from the pool deck and all the restaurants where you spend more to get what you have already paid for if you eat in the dining room or go to the Lido and get it yourself! If I want to eat at Johnny Rockets I will stay home and go out to the one here in my city.I will miss all of the above ships.Goodbye all.

  17. David

    May 19, 2010 at 11:21 pm


    I agree with you. If I want to be with 4000-5000 other people I will stay home. And the idea of having optional dining for a fee. I would rather eat where I have paid and thats it.

    Minor correction………….The Southward was the NCL ship doing 3/4 day’s out of LA. The Starward did for a brief time 7 day Mexico.

    Take care


  18. Norwaylover

    May 20, 2010 at 8:20 pm

    I just saw NCL’s newest ship… and she’s an ugly beast! Since Star Cruises talked out of both sides of their mouths about preserving historic ships… and sent the Norway and the Independence to the scrap heap in Alang, I will never sail on an NCL vessel. They can all kiss my stern!~ Why can’t someone create a ship with classic lines again!~ Here’s a sure fire idea… make replica’s of classic liners… offer something completely different… a recreation of life on an ocean greyhound! I’d book in a heartbeat if a replica of the Mauretania or Olympic came about!~

  19. Chris

    May 24, 2010 at 4:54 pm

    Thanks for the response, it seems a lot of the older ships i worked on are getting scrapped, the Saga my first ship, the Regal Empress my last ship, and some in the middle, Dawn Princess, Fairstar, and the Regent Sun, at least she sank on the way saving her from the cutting torches.

    Very Sad.

  20. Dennis Wake

    May 27, 2010 at 8:19 pm

    My first cruise was with Commodore on the Enchanted Seas. Since, I have been on many mega ships, I still had a much better time on the smaller ship. I am sad to see them go to the breakers. I understand big pays the bills,however the way cruising is going ,we might as well spend our money on a good hotel in Vegas. I know I am missing the point (the hotel does not go anywhere) but when you think of some of the ports of call, who would want to go a shore? Which brings us back to the hotel in Vegas.(new place every time you walk out the door).

  21. GREGG

    January 25, 2011 at 11:03 am

    I have to agree, i have said it before these new ships are ugly, and I certainly do not want to be with 5000 people on a ship waiting in lines for buffets and all the other activities on the ship.
    I look at the Europa and that is what I would like to sail on, even the ex Sitmar liners that Princess bought, the Regal Princess. etc.
    Europeans have it right, they seem to be buying or keeping the older liners because thats what their customers want or demand. Too bad Americans and Canadians didnt do the same. They all seem to want balconies and rock climbing walls and ice skating rinks and shopping malls, whats next amusement rides..

  22. GREGG

    January 25, 2011 at 11:11 am

    I have to agree, some cruise line should make a replica or stick to the traditional classic beautiful ship designs of the 50’s 60’s and 70’s. At least have 2 in their fleet. But with Carnival owning most cruise lines today, that will not happen.

  23. Kenneth Eden

    January 26, 2011 at 5:04 am

    This i an old post from which to comment. I really can not believe that the Mississippi Queen went fot scrap. From what I have dug up, the ship was infested with really dangerous mold, and was scrapped north of New Orleans. I had a lovely cruise in the paddlewheeler, and in her prime, was a beauty. The DQ will become (has?) a museuam. A new paddlewheeler is being built now. Why couldn’t the MQ be saved? I guess mold and rotting in the humid south answers that.

    On to Europeans and old ships, no balconies. The new ships for Costa, P & O, Aida and Hapag Lloyd (new Europa) will certainly have balconies, lots of them. Paquet Cruises, part of Carnival, through Costa, are hopefully going to charter one of the Festival Cruise ships, with 106 balconies.

    It seems the less pricey European cruise lines are snapping up, or having ships transfered to them by parental owners, such as Carnival and RCI, and used for less expensive cruises. This is not a bad thing. Quite opposite, since these lovley older ships are still able to sail, offer the best vacation on earth, and delight many a passsenger. Its not the ships fault that balconies were not the rage when they were built, and frankly, who cares. The ships are saved. Balcony/price/quality may not ensure the perfect cruise.

  24. Heavy

    February 14, 2011 at 10:48 am

  25. john

    December 19, 2011 at 10:51 am

    is the caribou and smallwood scrapped yet, cant seem to find them anywhere on the web

  26. john

    December 19, 2011 at 10:52 am

    is the caribou and smallwood scrapped yet

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