Adios To OLA; Former BLACK PRINCE Ceases Operation

The BLACK PRINCE seen at Nantes, France in 2009 during her last year of service with Fred. Olsen. GNU Free Documentation License.

Ola Cruises, the Venezuelan operator of the 11,209 gross ton OLA ESMERALDA (ex BLACK PRINCE) appears to have ceased operations.  Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines sold the hugely popular 451-passenger ship to SAVECA (Servicios Acuaticos de Venezuela CA.) in 2009 for what was intended to be further service as a cruise ship in Venezuelan domestic waters between the mainland and their islands.  It also reportedly sailed to the Southern Caribbean destinations of Aruba, Curacao, Trinidad and Tobago.  In 2010 the ship was chartered to the U.N. Mission to Haiti for accommodations during the relief efforts following the major earthquake there.  SAVECA was owned by a group of Venezulean hotel chains that were able to take advantage of the extremely low fuel prices made available by the Venvezuelan government.

OLA ESMERALDA stern view at La Guaira, Venezuela

The ship was built in 1966 in Lubeck, Germany as a combination ferry and cruise ship, but had been cruising on a full-time basis since 1987.  The last voyage for Fred. Olsen was in October, 2009.  In Venezuelan domestic service, the ship was not converted to be SOLAS 2010 compliant and has not been updated since it was acquired.  The dimensions of the BLACK PRINCE/OLA ESMERALDA are 471 feet in overall length, 65.8 feet in beam and a 21 foot draught.  The ship  will almost certainly  be sold for scrap.

Shawn Dake

Shawn Dake

Shawn J. Dake, freelance travel writer and regular contributor to MaritimeMatters, worked in tourism and cruise industry for over 35 years.  A native of Southern California, his first job was as a tour guide aboard the Queen Mary.  A frequent lecturer on ship-related topics he has appeared on TV programs.  Owner of Oceans Away Cruises & Travel agency, he served as President of the local Chapter of Steamship Historical Society of America.  With a love of the sea, he is a veteran of 115 cruises.
Shawn Dake
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