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

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.

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

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

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