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OCEAN DREAM Spirited To Haikou

Posted on Wednesday, January 11, 2012 by

Appearing like a dream, spirited back from the beach of doom, OCEAN DREAM (ex SEAWARD, SPIRIT OF LONDON, SUN PRINCESS, STARSHIP MAJESTIC, SOUTHERN CROSS, FLAMENCO I, NEW FLAMENCO) was reportedly sold for scrap and had been laid up for over a year off Singapore, yet survives in a new livery sporting a dragon on her bow.

OCEAN DREAM (ex SPIRIT OF LONDON...). Photo courtesy James Ming 2012.

This photograph was emailed by a reader confirming her sailing from Haikou Xiuying Cruise Terminal in January

Launched in Italy as SPIRIT OF LONDON, she was to have been Norwegian Caribbean Line’s SEAWARD but the unfinished hull was sold to P&O and in 1972 was completed. Later when Princess and P&O combined, she became SUN PRINCESS.

In 1988 she was sold to Premier Cruises to become the red hulled STARSHIPMAJESTIC, a colour retained when bought by CTC Lines in 1994.  In 1998 she appears once more with a white hull for Festival Cruises as FLAMENCO I. After Festival Cruises collapsed, she was bought by Cruise Elysia and renamed NEW FLAMENCO, Club Cruise acquired the ship and she served as an hotel ship in New Caledonia until Club Cruise shut down in 2008.  The ship was sold for scrap and laid up off Singapore until now.

Her operators are listed as Runfeng Ocean Deluxe Cruises and she will be operating cruises from Haikou, China to Vietnam.

44 Responses to OCEAN DREAM Spirited To Haikou

  1. Croix

    January 11, 2012 at 8:14 pm

    Wow.. this is good news.. At least one ship has cheated the torches. Saga Rose and Augustus should be so lucky, but Im afraid they wont be.
    Thanks for bringing a bright spot into the rainy winter evening for me!!

    BTW any confirmations on the two aforementioned ships?

  2. Martin Cox

    January 11, 2012 at 9:26 pm

    I agree Croix, it seemed certain she would be scrapped, a good day indeed for the former SPIRIT OF LONDON.

    Sadly SAGA ROSE finally arrived in China for scrapping and was demolished by October of 2010. AUGUSTUS was beached on October 19, 2011 at Alang, India.

    But the ship with many names lives on as OCEAN DREAM.

  3. andreas

    January 12, 2012 at 1:55 am

    the list of scrap-ships never ending……………..so sad

  4. Richard Bond

    January 12, 2012 at 2:12 am

    Having an off day for spelling Martin? You have written paid up for laid up and Criox for Croix. No big deal I remain a fan.

  5. Kenneth Eden

    January 12, 2012 at 4:39 am

    What makes certain ships worthy of sailing, again and again, with new owners and new names? One can not deem any one ship more worthy over the next one, yet, one will be a winner over the others. Such a life the old SPIRIT has had.

  6. Colin Stewart

    January 12, 2012 at 5:27 am

    Great News – we sailed alongside this ship (when she was the New Flamenco) when cruising with the OLS on board the SS Oceanic on route to anchor at Villefranche. I can remember thinking how great it was to have two classic ships sailing together in the morning sun. The officers were on the bridge wings with Binoculars looking across at the Oceanic.

    Notice how far back the superstructure is from the bow – they can’t do this on modern cruise ships as they need to sell as much space as possible. May these two fine old ships live on and avoid the cutters torch for years to come!

  7. Byron Huart

    January 12, 2012 at 5:43 am

    A beautiful ship once thought destroyed as returned from the abyss , amazing.

    Hope to see more photos of her and her new service life , I can only imagine how many ships are in the world that are once thought scrapped.

    The Augustus was the last of her kind now she has met an undignified fate at the beach of doom ,
    along with many other fine ships , I wonder what happened to the discovery sun after discovery cruises closed down?

    Hope to see her refurbished for another purpose somewhere else in the world , fine classic liner.

    Good work to the investigator of this story.

  8. Shirlley

    January 12, 2012 at 6:55 am

    Great news right here! Am travelling to Hainan in a week’s time and then to Vietnam.Whats the cost to Vietnam via Ocean dream cruise? Thanks in advance.

  9. Glenn L.

    January 12, 2012 at 7:13 am

    Lt. Columbo smiles down from the heavens.

  10. Martin Cox

    January 12, 2012 at 7:25 am

    Too much haste! Thanks Richard, post corrected

  11. Tom in Long Beach

    January 12, 2012 at 8:37 am

    Thanks Martin for the photo and update.

    Wow a beautiful ship for sure. Sun Princess was my first cruise ever. Three day weekend to Ensenada.
    I recently bought a great travel agency model of Spirit of London that I can not stop looking at. While I enjoy cruising on the balconied behemoths, that model reminds me ships used to be lovely to look at.

    Tom in Long Beach.

  12. Michael Bennett

    January 12, 2012 at 9:02 am

    SEAWARD not SOUTHWARD :). Wow, I thought she was long-gone…good news!

  13. Martin Cox

    January 12, 2012 at 10:08 am

    Quite right Michael, I had it correct at the beginning and it went South from there, corrected post

  14. neil

    January 12, 2012 at 3:55 pm

    I worked on her as maitre d’ in the 1970’s when she sailed as the Spirit of London and Sun Princess so it is great to see she has been saved again.

    It is reported that her owners are looking for two more cruise ships so it will be interesting to see they buy next.


  15. Shawn Dake

    January 12, 2012 at 6:13 pm

    Let’s hope one of the new additions might be the former PACIFIC PRINCESS. They worked a small miracle by making this their first ship. Maybe they can do it again. I don’t know if “The Love Boat” has ever aired in mainland China, but I’m fairly certain that Hong Kong passengers would flock to this ship. Actually both the SUN and PACIFIC PRINCESS’ appeared as Love Boats at various times. Thanks Martin for posting this most interesting update!

  16. Kenneth Eden

    January 13, 2012 at 4:34 am

    What a great way to kick off the New Year with this fine news.

    Maybe, just maybe, the Chinese will relish older ships and preserve them as they obviously are with the SPIRIT.

  17. Tom in Long Beach

    January 13, 2012 at 8:24 am

    I think the pilot was shot on the Sun Princess.

  18. Michael

    January 13, 2012 at 8:28 am

    Great news! She looks really good, i like what the new owners have done with the paint work. :)

  19. john russell

    January 13, 2012 at 12:00 pm

    Before security was an issue I used to visit the Port of LA and visit all 3 original princess ships when in port. I have fond memories of all three ships. My first cruise was on the Sun Princess, I then went on the almost identical NCL Southward a few years later.

    some 8mm movies I took of the sun and pacific princess back in 1979/1980 are at


    There was a Love Boat TV movie filmed on the Sun princess with Karen Valentine, I have it on VHS.

    Later, parts of the Pilot for the Love boat series were filmed on the Queen Mary and of course the pacific Princess.

    Almost every episode of the Love Boat showed a close up of the Sun Princess docked in the Port of LA showing the Gang Plank and 3 large round windows.

    The Disney movie “Herbie goes Banana’s” was also filmed on the sun Princes. It shows the Sun Princess docked in Puerto Vallarta. There appears to be jungle behind the ship where the Wal-Mart is now. It is available on DVD.

    I am happy to see the Sun Princess avoid the scrap yard and hope for more years of happy sailing for her.

  20. David Kellett

    January 13, 2012 at 8:33 pm

    The original SUN PRINCSS was used in an episode of The Love Boat, as well as IN Herbie goes Bananas. The ship used for the pilot movie was ISLAND PRINCESS. and the series episodes were filmed mostly on board PACIFIC PRINCESS and in specially constructed sets. Other ships used in the series were ROYAL PRINCESS I and P&O’s SEA PRINCESS I. The latter ship was used in episodes filmed in the South Pacific in Fiji and Australia. Another episode was filmed in Europe aboard a non-Princess ship, but I cannot recall which vessel. It might have been ACHILLE LAURO.
    I cruised in the originsl SUN PRINCESS twice as SOUTHERN CROSS, in 1996 and 1997, then I saw her again in 1998 in Geirangerfjord, Norway whilst cruising aboard ROYAL VIKING SUN.
    I have also cruised in the “new” SUN PRINCESS each year from 2008 to 2011.

    SPIRIT OF LONDON was P&O’s very first cruise ship, designed for short pleasure cruises rather than for longer Line Voyages between the UK and Australia, operated by Orient Line and The Peninsular and Oriental Steam Navigation Company. It is great news that she has been granted another lease of life!

  21. Chris Frame

    January 14, 2012 at 12:36 am

    Fantastic that she had been spared!

  22. mary

    January 15, 2012 at 2:22 pm

    amazing….my family and i cruised that ship in 1991 as the disney cruise the majestic

  23. B. Grady

    February 21, 2012 at 9:13 pm

    Excellent news! I had my first cruise on her back in the early 90s. I was sad to hear that she was going to be scrapped. I’m glad she has a new lease on life, hopefully she sails for many years to come!

  24. J Smetzer

    April 8, 2012 at 7:48 pm

    WOW! My first cruise in ’94 was on this ship: Premier Cruise, Big Red Boat, Tampa to Cozumel. I’ve taken this route many other times on other ships, as well as many other cruises (13 more times) but still have fond memories of my first cruise on this ship. I was so disappointed it had been sold for scrap metal, and so thrilled tonight to read that it has been resurrected and is sailing again. Thanks Runfeng Ocean Deluxe Cruises for seeing her beauty as she laid in the scrap yard and saving her.

  25. J Miller

    April 19, 2012 at 2:45 pm

    I sailed on her twice when she was the Starship Majestic. By far the smallest ship I have cruised on, she is still my favorite. On my first cruise, when she still had a small movie theater, my kids and I would watch movies late at night with some of the crew.

    They might build them bigger today, but they don’t have the same magic or charm. I hope she survives to entertain thousands of lucky passengers in the future.

  26. CaptThomas

    April 24, 2012 at 6:05 am

    The OCEAN DREAM has joint the fleet of vessels in China that will never cruise on the intended trade. Lloyd´s already disclassed her. She has no chance to comply with the latest SOLAS rules. Her engines were actually not so bad…the guys who looked after her during the lay up (at Port Klang not Singapore) have turned engines by hand once a week! The other vessels that were bought with government money but never will comply are the LONG JIE, ASIA STAR, NEPTUNE, and others. China doesn´t allow vessels older than 15 years… So all these vessels are doomed. These ship purchases were all made to make some individuals rich in the process…

  27. Karen

    April 26, 2012 at 9:48 pm

    cruised on this ship probably 20 times younger than 10 years old. Knew every deck and layout. Weathered a nasty storm crossing the Bay of Tuantepec (sp?) on a trans canal cruise. Many many found memories. Glad she lives. Maybe Captain Clark is still seeing her safe. Neil – may have met you when I was a tyke!


    May 13, 2012 at 1:48 am

    I Served on this ship both as Sun Princess and Starship Majestic Wonderful memories

  29. Land Ho musician

    May 29, 2012 at 8:54 pm

    I worked on this boat in 89-90 and will never forget the fun I had and the people I worked with. A solid boat with lots of history!

  30. Nigel George

    June 2, 2012 at 5:47 pm

    I too worked on her as a slot machine technician.
    I was working installing the Casino whilst at sea from her dry dock in Bremerhaven, Germany.
    I spant almost a year of my life on her from March 89 – early 1990.
    Such great memories, she was the first off 11 ships I worked on .
    The Air conditioning in our cabin on Tween deck was non existant , had to have fans going all night too sleep and she used to roll a bit if the weather was bad, but I have such fond memories of the old gal dispite this!

  31. Martin Cox

    June 2, 2012 at 11:24 pm

    Nigel and others, Great to ready all these memories and first had experiences of this ship. Her future sounds less than secure according to Captain Thomas. – Martin

  32. Paul Bates

    June 3, 2012 at 10:10 am

    I worked on her as Sun Princess 1983-1985. Fantastic shes survived. If I win the lottery I`m gonna buy her and bring her back to Blighty.

  33. nholan casanas

    September 14, 2012 at 6:28 am

    i was part of this ship way back in 2002-03 when it was still under festival cruises and named flamenco1.those were the days,viva flamenco!

  34. Gene Poon

    November 29, 2012 at 2:33 pm

    It is wonderful that this ship has been saved from the breakers, not only because of how this graceful exemplar of maritime art has survived, but also because I met a wonderful, pretty girl aboard her when she was sailing between Vancouver BC and Alaska as the Sun Princess. Months later she became my wife and we are still together as we read this webpage with the continuing story of the ship that brought us together, nearly 28 years ago.

  35. alan dumelow

    November 29, 2012 at 10:00 pm

    Yes, Captain Thomas has a point about Ocean Dream’s future. Had thought her days were numbered at Klang, particularly after she changed to Tuvalu flag. But I understand China Star (Asia Star), IS
    actually cruising. There was also lots of talk about Taiwan cruises?!

  36. Diana Whyman

    February 8, 2013 at 12:12 pm

    My father, Gerry McGowan was the skipper when she started out as Spirit of London with P & O. Sadly he has now passed away but does anyone remember him?!

  37. Judie Cobley

    March 5, 2013 at 10:14 pm

    I sailed on the Spirit of London from Southhampton 1973 on her maiden voyage to be based in San Diego and cruise the summer months to Mexico and then Alaska in the winter months.
    She was all decked out with London scenes each deck was a particular area in London ie Piccadilly Deck Bayswater Deck she was a fabulously vibrant ship. I worked for Steiner’s and all in all females were in the minority amongst the crew. I had hoped to one day have a cruise on her. Many dreams I had gazing out to sea on her upper deck.

  38. Sheila nee ferguson

    May 4, 2013 at 3:10 pm

    Diana, I met your father on Spirit.
    My father, Archie Ferguson,now sadly also gone, was in charge of finishing the build in Italy when P and O bought the hull from the Norwegians. She was the reason I had an interlude at boarding school with Italian holidays for a year or so. I still have a Spirit of London towel from when she joined the princesses and changed name as well as a picture of her launch.
    Saw her sailing into Southampton for the first time, with Dad on board and not a passenger in sight.
    So pleased to hear she’s got a new lease of life, and that others alos find her a good looking vessel.

  39. Kit Williams

    August 12, 2013 at 2:10 pm

    Sun Princess was my home for three years, ’79 through ’81. Some of my greatest memories were on board that ship and I miss those days of 700-passenger cruise ships: they were beautiful vessels and they certainly don’t make them like they used to.

    Diana Whyman: Although I never sailed with your dad, I knew him well. My dad, Reed Williams, was attorney for P&O/Princess and I got to know your parents through my dad (and mom too). Your dad IS missed and remembered fondly. If you get this message, I’d love to hear from you and find out about your mom. Please give Ruth best wishes from Kit and Reed. (kitwilliams76@yahoo.com)

  40. Kit Williams

    August 12, 2013 at 2:12 pm

    Sheila: I remember your father too, working with him during drydocks. Also a great guy. So sorry for the loss of both Archie and Gerry. They are missed.

  41. Robert Bentley

    August 25, 2013 at 7:07 am

    Robert Bentley
    Indianapolis, Indiana.

    Kit …

    I remember you (although our paths really didn’t cross)
    I was on the SP from April 79 until October 81. I was
    good friends with Carol Carol and Phillis Stewart. You
    probably don’t remember me, I have old photo’s on the
    Sea dog Reunited site if you would like a reminder.

    I agree with you “they don’t make them like they used to”
    these days they look like floating blocks of apartments
    (to quote another old Sea Dog)

    Regards, Robert.

  42. Scott Inman

    May 15, 2014 at 8:04 am

    I’m glad the ship is supposedly still afloat! My honeymoon was spent on the SP in June/ July cruise to Alaska in 1980. I thought it would be really cool to have our 30th anniversary on the boat. I had a hard time tracking her down at the time. Since then, we have run on hard times and couldn’t afford the trip. I’m hoping she’ll still be around for a 40th trip instead. Heck, I’m hopjng that I am still around!! Lol.


    October 23, 2014 at 12:28 am

    After all these years we are surprised the Southern Cross is still operating. We cruised with CTC twice on this ship with the distinct red hull. Small and easy to get use to after a hour or so. On one Pacific cruise during the 1990s returning to Sydney we struck an enormous storm which had the ship tossing everyway. All passengers were ordered to stay in their cabins. The ship was great and so were the meals and entertainment mostly Ukraine artists ,they were great, this was one we would never forget. A young lass named Cassandra was charged with organising the games and such, she was stunning, I still have a photo with her.
    Later -a year or so we thought we would try her again but sadly she ceased doing Pacific cruises.

  44. Kit Williams

    May 20, 2015 at 10:02 am

    Hi Robert! I do remember you! Phyllis Stewart (now Hole, as she married Brian Hole, coxswain) is living in Washington State and I recently found Carol Carroll Shenton (married John Shenton of the Jack Duff Quintet) on Facebook!
    We certainly had wonderful times on the old SP. She was magic.

    Best to you,


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