Home » Knego's Ship Blogs » MV MONA LISA, Double Decked! Part One: KUNGSHOLM to SEA PRINCESS to VICTORIA


Posted on Monday, September 6, 2010 by

As this MONA LISA/KUNGSHOLM Decked! is revisited eight years on, the lovely liner is dead-headed to Piraeus to destore fittings prior to being sold. It appears that two attempts to bring the ship to Sweden (the first to her former home port of Gothenburg and the second, to Stockholm) have officially collapsed. The ex KUNGSHOLM, which just finished off her final active incarnation as MONA LISA in the German cruise market, now has a very uncertain future. Scrap merchants are eyeing her, although steel prices are in a lull that could give the ship a little bit more time if her owners are hoping to obtain a better price.


Let’s turn the pages back a bit to our initial tribute to the vessel when she was still P&O Cruises’ VICTORIA, originally posted on MaritimeMatters in 2002.

MV KUNGSHOLM:  1966 — 1975

Built for Swedish American Line, Gothenburg
by John Brown and Company, Clydebank
Yard no: 728
26,678 gt as built
201.23 by 26.52 m/ 660 by 87 feet
Two 9 clyinder Gotaverken diesels; Twin screw; 25,200 BHP; 21 knots
Passengers/guests: 108 First Class, 605 Tourist/450 Cruising

Crew:  450

P&O Cruises' MV VICTORIA departs Tampa on 26 February 2001. Photo and copyright Peter Knego 2001.

When this story first appeared, P & O had revealed that their classic MV VICTORIA( ex KUNGSHOLM, future MONA LISA) would be leaving their fleet in the fall of 2002.

Peter Knego collection

The KUNGSHOLM's builder's plate was mounted at the base of her rounded superstructure. Photo and copyright Peter Knego 2001.

A product of the John Brown and Company yard at Clydebank (number 728), the 27,670 gt KUNGSHOLM’s keel was laid down in 1964.  In April of the following year, she was launched, and in April of 1966, she entered SAL’s transatlantic and cruise service.

The MV KUNGSHOLM is shown departing New York in this vintage SAL image. Peter Knego collection.

The fourth SAL ship to carry the name, KUNGSHOLM was named for the Kungsholmen (Kings Isle) sector of Stockholm where the City Hall is located. The twin screw 660 by 87 foot liner was built with two Gotaverken direct drive, slow speed diesels capable of 25,200 BHP for a service speed of 21 knots.  On transatlantic voyages, her capacity was divided among 108 in first and 605 in tourist class with 37 interchangeable berths.  However, for cruising, she carried a mere 450 passengers in one class.  Her crew numbered 450.

The official SAL postcard view of KUNGHSOLM is a magnificent aerial view. Peter Knego collection

Within her strikingly modern yet aesthetically magnificent hull were many features that raised the bar for luxury, comfort, and safety. The fully air conditioned, stabilized KUNGSHOLM was the first SAL liner with a bulbous forefoot, sporting twin five-bladed bronze and nickel screws (the first to utilize this alloy), and push-button controls of all essential safety and navigation equipment, including watertight doors.

Peter Knego collection

Her 62 foot radio mast was telescopic, the top half of which could be hydraulically lowered to allow passage underneath low bridges. The four tenders had two-way telephone links with the bridge and most of her lifeboats featured motor-powered two-way radio equipment. The ship also had shallow and deep water echo sounders and no less than three separate telegraphs to communicate with the engine room.

KUNGSHOLM's funnel in SAL colors. Photo and copyright Peter Knego 1975.

KUNGSHOLM’s spacious public rooms utilized a variety of paneling, from beechwood, rosewood, Oregon pine, and oak, to cherrywood. The artwork on board emphasized Swedish heritage and was commissioned by the nation’s leading artists.

This elevation gives a general overview of KUNGHSOLM's passenger decks. Peter Knego collection.

Sun Deck

MV KUNGSHOLM, Sun Deck. Peter Knego collection.

KUNGSHOLM had eight passenger decks, beginning at the top with Sun Deck, featuring a forward-facing observation deck (not shown) and a screened in midships platform overlooking the pool area.

Promenade Deck

MV KUNGSHOLM, Promenade Deck. Peter Knego collection.

Promenade Deck began with the first class Forward Lounge overlooking the bow and a glass-enclosed Verandah on either side. Inside, the cherry paneled forward vestibule led all the way down to the indoor pool on D Deck. The remaining portion of Promenade Deck had a feature exclusive to SAL ships, which frequented both cold and warm climates.

Aside from the elimination of the forward funnel, little has changed with the MONA LISA's sheltered midships pool area. Peter Knego collection

A double indoor/outdoor promenade continued aft on either side to the midships pool (where First and Tourist Class met) and all the way aft to an open terrace overlooking the stern, where an enclosed Sports Room (mainly for ping pong) was concealed.

Verandah Deck

MV KUNGSHOLM, forward portion of Verandah Deck. Peter Knego collection.

Facing aft toward the screen, the KUNGSHOLM's handsome Auditorium was virtually "as built" aboard VICTORIA (although the four "burgh" sculptures from the prior KUNGSHOLM in each corner were removed by P&O before the ship was sold to become MONA LISA in 2003). It is located on forward R Deck and has since been renamed the Princess Theater. Peter Knego collection.

The Forward Cocktail Lounge was located just aft of the Library on the port side of Veranda (now R) Deck and was largely unchanged in its incarnation as VICTORIA's Riviera Bar. Peter Knego collection.

The forward, First Class portion of Verandah Deck began with the beautifully paneled Library on the port side, which adjoined the Forward Cocktail Lounge, just aft. Forward of the vestibule was a handsome, tiered Auditorium, and on the starboard side was the First Class Card Room, First Class Verandah and First Class Shopping Center.

MV KUNGSHOLM, aft portion of Verandah Deck. Peter Knego collection.

The Tourist Class portion of Verandah Deck began with the Main Lounge, which spanned the width of the ship. Just aft on the port side was the Tourist Class Library and on the starboard side, the Tourist Class Card Room. The midships vestibule followed, leading to another suite of Tourist Class Rooms surrounding the funnel casing. On the port side, there was the Verandah Lounge and on the starboard side, a Cocktail Lounge, both of which looked out onto glass enclosed promenades.

The airy, wood-paneled Smoking Room was located on aft Veranda Deck, and is shown above. It was replaced with modular cabins in the ship's 1979 refit. Peter Knego collection.

The Aft Smoking Room concluded the enclosed spaces on this deck, which continued a bit further aft with another terrace overlooking the stern.

Upper Deck

MV KUNGSHOLM, forward portion of Upper Deck. Peter Knego collection.

The lovely Entrance Hall, now called the Pursers Lobby, is much the same, save for new carpeting and ceiling frescoes. Peter Knego collection.

Upper Deck began with First Class cabins that continued to the midships Entrance Hall and vestibule.

MV KUNGSHOLM, aft portion of Upper Deck. Peter Knego collection.

From the Entrance Hall aft, Upper Deck was devoted to Tourist Class accommodation. This level also featured an open fantail.

Main Deck

MV KUNGSHOLM, forward portion of Main Deck. Peter Knego collection.

MV KUNGSHOLM, aft portion of Main Deck. Peter Knego collection.

A typical outside cabin aboard KUNGSHOLM was beautifully paneled, spacious, and elegant. Peter Knego collection.

Main Deck was entirely devoted to Tourist Class accommodation. Subtle cabin comforts included beds that were at least 6 feet 7 inches long by 3 feet wide, wall to wall carpeting, dial telephones, individually-controlled air conditioning, private facilities (93% with full bath tub), abundant storage space, and a controllable loud speaker system. Special, strategically-placed catering kitchenettes on each deck facilitated faster and better room service, and neighboring cabins could be adjoined by the use of a single outer foyer door.

A Deck

MV KUNGSHOLM forward portion of A Deck. Peter Knego collection.

The forward portion of the KUNGSHOLM's dining room, shown in an aft-facing view, could be shut off via sliding panels from the aft section during her occasional two class transatlantic crossings. Today, it looks much the same, save for the chairs. Peter Knego collection.

A Deck began at the forward vestibule which led aft to the First Class portion of the Dining Room, which could be separated from the larger Tourist Class portion via sliding screens.

MV KUNGSHOLM, aft Portion of A Deck. Peter Knego collection.

The larger aft section of the dining room was just as lovely, as seen in this forward facing view. Peter Knego collection.

The aft portion of A Deck was devoted to Tourist Class Dining Room and accommodation.

B Deck

MV KUNGSHOLM B Deck. Peter Knego collection.

B Deck began at the forward vestibule with a Beauty Parlor and Barber Shop, continuing aft with Tourist Class accommodation and the hospital.

D Deck

MV KUNGSHOLM D Deck. Peter Knego collection.

D Deck featured an indoor pool, gymnasium, vapor bath and massage room.

MV KUNGSHOLM (Flagship Cruises): 1975 — 1978

The KUNGSHOLM is shown in Flagship Cruises' colors on the left. Peter Knego collection

Unable to continue operating at a profit and unwilling to compromise its standards, Swedish American Line withdrew from the passenger ship business in August of 1975 after 60 glorious years.  KUNGSHOLM was sold to Norwegian-owned Flagship Cruises and continued in worldwide
cruise service, but only for three years.

KUNGSHOLM's funnel in Flagship colors. Photo and copyright Peter Knego 1976.

During that time, although she was largely unaltered, she sported a golden seahorse logo on her funnels. But she never quite lived up to her Swedish American Line reputation.

MV SEA PRINCESS (P&O): 1979 — 1986/1991 — 1995

The SEA PRINCESS is shown arriving at San Diego in March of 1993. Image and copyright Peter Knego.

In 1978, Flagship sold her to P&O, who intended to rebuild her as a replacement for the retiring 1954-built Sydney-based SS ARCADIA.  She was sent to the Bremer Vulkan yard at Bremen, Germany for the addition of 86 cabins and other structural modifications that would extend her after decks with the installation of a third passenger pool, more public rooms, and the new accommodation.

SEA PRINCESS' conical funnel. Photo and copyright Peter Knego 1982.

The aft funnel was raised and the forward dummy funnel cut down to a stump.  Although many felt she was scarred, the ship was still quite lovely when she emerged in January of 1979 as the 840 passenger SEA PRINCESS.

(Princess) SEA PRINCESS: 1986 — 1991

The SEA PRINCESS is shown in her Princess Cruises livery at Los Angeles. Photo and copyright Kevin M. Anthoney.

Further refits over the years modified SEA PRINCESS only slightly, and she retains much of her original Scandinavian charm and glowing woodwork.  She was later switched from Australia to the U.K. and from 1986 through 1991, donned the “sea witch” livery of American-based Princess Cruises.

MV VICTORIA: 1995 — 2003

In 1995, she was renamed VICTORIA, releasing her “Princess” name for the third unit of the 77,000 gt SUN PRINCESS quartet.

Click Here for MV MONA LISA Double Decked!, Part Two: MV VICTORIA Top To Bottom Tour, MV MONA LISA To MV OCEANIC II/SCHOLARSHIP

Special thanks:  Martin Cox, Don Martin

26 Responses to MV MONA LISA, Double Decked! Part One: KUNGSHOLM to SEA PRINCESS to VICTORIA

  1. Glenn L.

    September 6, 2010 at 6:50 am

    Thanks, great series. I always look forward to this. What is the structure mounted on the stump of the foreward funnel? It looks like some sort of observation lounge.

  2. Glenn L.

    September 6, 2010 at 10:25 am

    I answered my own question, It’s the ships lettering – it looked like windows at first.
    I remember a commercial during the 70’s where an older man was sitting on a bollard in Manhattan- “I’m waiting for my ship to come in- The Kungsholm!” Today he’d be arrested by Homeland security, times have indeed changed.

  3. Dave Lee

    September 6, 2010 at 11:18 am

    Was lucky to catch Mona Lisa moored on Elliot Bay in front of downtown Seattle in January of this year. A great looking ship, and the last classic liner to ever visit Seattle, I’m afraid.

  4. Joseph Sturges

    September 6, 2010 at 3:22 pm

    Saw Mona Lisa in Dover in 2004. Just a joy to behold a traditionally styled Atlantic liner. She had an elegance of line, a smooth profile even with the first funnel removed.

    We will never see the likes of a lady of the sea like her again.

  5. Simon Howell

    September 7, 2010 at 4:12 am

    I was lucky enough to work onboard this beautiful ship in the med, scandinavia, Norway and an entire world cruise in 86 (I think), she will forever be a ship of fond memories for me. One of my top three, and I have worked on more than 27!!! True classic cruise vessel, lets hope there is still a chance for her!!!

  6. Glenn L.

    September 7, 2010 at 4:49 pm

    @ Simon,
    That’s fantastic. If you don’t mind, what were you’re other two favorites?

  7. Leno

    September 8, 2010 at 12:27 pm

    Saw her in Cape Town at the turn of the Century where she was docked over the New Year. The funnel was red/black Union Castle as per Union Castle as she did some “Union Castle Commemorative” cruises.

    Two “Victoria’s” were docked here at the same time the other being the now scrapped Mercy Ships Anastasia which was previously also named Victoria.

  8. Chris Dans

    September 17, 2010 at 7:20 pm

    I saw her in New York at the passenger ship terminal as I helped a friend take delivery of a yacht. I was really surprised to see that a relatively modern ship called Kungsholm still existed at that time. She still had two funnels and was well kept even though her tenure with Flagship Cruises was soon coming to an end.

  9. Chris Dans

    September 17, 2010 at 7:22 pm

    By the way, that was in the spring of 1977

  10. Tim Ryan

    October 11, 2010 at 1:53 pm

    Mona Lisa is on the move having left Piraeus Roads on11 October after refuelling. Destination unknown but heading in a southeasterly direction towards Suez so the prognosis is not good.

  11. steven Taylor

    January 15, 2012 at 8:26 pm

    Can anyone tell me where i can get hold of a print or painting of the Sea Princess (1986 -1991)



  12. George

    March 21, 2012 at 8:44 am

    I worked on the Kungsholm at John Browns shipyard and still remember being totally amazed at the style and elegance of this beautiful ship. I had worked as an a ships joiner on many ships prior to this, mainly cargo ships, car ferries and naval vessels and subsequently worked on the original Queen Elizabeth on a refit but the Kungsholm is the ship which has stuck most in my memory. We were lucky to be entertained by the excellent sound system which they were testing at the time -unfortunately only one or two records were played – These Boots Are Made For Walking wore a bit thin after the umpteenth time.

    Happy Days

  13. George Borthwick

    March 21, 2012 at 4:45 pm

    I worked as a carpenter on the Kungsholm at John Browns in Clydebank and will always remember this elegant ship and in particular the sound system which bombarded us workers with These Boots Are Made For Walking all day every day as the sound system was being tested. The most beautiful ship I worked on including the original Queen Elizabeth which I worked on, after Kungsholm, on a refit.

    Happy days.


  14. steven Taylor

    August 8, 2012 at 9:59 pm

    Any news on my beloved Kungholm ?

    I’m still looking for a Print or Painting of her in her Sea Princess livery, anyone know where i can get hold of one ?


  15. David L. NYC

    August 9, 2012 at 11:44 am

    As originally designed, the Kungsholm was a truly beautiful ship. It would be great to see her saved and restored.

  16. Hank

    August 10, 2012 at 10:08 am

    I have the latest news on the KUNGSHOLM (at least I think it is the latest). According to ssmaritime.com, the KUNGSHOLM became a floating hotel in Oman. It has been renamed VERONICA. According Reuben Goossens, “the ships public rooms are being renovated to be as close as possible to her original self.” The KUNGSHOLM’s exterior design is the same as it was when she was a cruise ship. Thankfully it appears the ship will be with us for many years to come. That is the latest news.

  17. Kenneth Eden

    August 11, 2012 at 5:45 am

    Steven Taylor

    There is a sight http://www.zazzle.com with an enourmous amount of ships prints, it worth taking a look at, also, amazon has endles possibilities for ship enthusiats, and google Sea Princess prints maybe that would be of some help.

    One thing for Orient Line lovers, there is a beautiful print from a painting of the ORSOVA at zazzle, in corn livery – it is stunning!

    Keep us posted of your efforts,


  18. Ross

    August 16, 2012 at 2:50 am

    The ship has been renamed “Veronica” and is now permanently moored as a floating hotel at a port called Duqm, on the East coast of Oman. This is Omans first floating hotel.
    Its had a major refit and the rooms look somewhat different and have been enlarged a great deal.
    Externally it Looks largely the same as the pictures here but I’m not sure about the yellow stripe down the side of the hull!!
    We are considering driving down from the capital, Muscat and staying there in the next week.


  19. Kenneth Eden

    August 16, 2012 at 4:43 am

    The web site for Veronica Hotel is http://www.vernonicaduqm.comI noted on a previous site here that the ship looks magnificent he new livery striking, interiors looking quite nice. If you have the chance to visit this ship, Ross, please let us know!!

  20. Kenneth Eden

    August 16, 2012 at 4:46 am

    the correct listing is http://www.vernonicaduqm.com

  21. willie mcloughlin

    January 12, 2013 at 9:58 am

    Iworked on the kungsholm as an apprentice ,sub contractor ,Iwas working out in St-Johns Newfoundland about six years ago ,Iwas on the bridge testing fire systems on a coast guard ship in the harbour ,and this ship called the Mona Lisa ,was docked at the other side ,Iasked the first mate to google the Mona Lisa ,as the shape of the hull could only be the old Kungsholm ,Clyde Built and still sailing ,,Willie,,

  22. Ashutosh Srivastava

    March 22, 2014 at 12:03 am

    My Darling Veronica. I have worked over the ship for Electricity Supply. I have stayed for a long time in the ship in 2011-2012. Ship was under service as a Luxury Floating Hotel at DUQM Port. I will never forget the time I spent with my Darling Veronica. The experience was like another world full of luxuries and beauty.

    Love you Veronica.

  23. Ashutosh Srivastava

    March 22, 2014 at 12:11 am

    Right now Veronica is under service for its next use. Floating hotel has been closed as effective from 6th October 2013. Total 23 people are there over the ship currently for cleaning and other small works. It is still there at DUQM port.

    Posted on : 22/03/2014

    Lover Veronica

  24. steven taylor

    August 6, 2014 at 1:46 pm

    Any more news on her moving back to Sweden ?

  25. alan dumelow

    August 7, 2014 at 9:41 am

    Steven: Sadly, it is EXTREMELY unlikely Veronica will move back to Sweden. It is understood that the last effort (by Johnny the Finn) resulted in both Stockholm and Gothenburg declining a berth for her. Even a half-hearted attempt to bring her to Liverpool failed. Apart from the fact the Owners don’t seem prepared to accept a “realistic” price for her, the cost of towing her back to Europe is not in her favour. And, of course, the poor rat and cockroach infested old girl has no propellers, no lifeboats or davits and, it is rumoured, her hull leaks. I mourn the fact that the beach beckons sooner or later.

  26. Clive

    August 7, 2014 at 1:47 pm

    Once I saw that her davits and lifeboats had been removed and that her cabins had been enlarged by turning two or three into hotel-like rooms it was obvious to me that Kungsholm had gone. No one was going to restore her to her original glory. For a brief while yes, she was perhaps a nice hotel but she was only ever a ‘stop-gap’ measure until a land-based hotel was built.
    We must just remember her as Kungsholm and yes, even as the slightly awkward-looking Sea Princess (in her early days with P&O she was still pretty special) but we have to accept that she is gone and just be thankful that we can remember her and other such lovely ships.

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