MV CORAL at Eleusis. Photo and copyright Hans Hoffman 2012.
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Sad news from Piraeus today with the announcement that plans to bring the laid-up CORAL back to service in 2014 as the LOUIS RHEA have been scrubbed. Laid down for Overseas National Airways but completed for Cunard Line in 1971 as the CUNARD ADVENTURER, the 14,194 gt, 945 passenger ship enjoyed successful careers as NCL’s SUNWARD II (1977 — 1991), Epirotiki’s (and later Royal Olympic Cruises’) TRITON (1991 — 2004) and finally, Louis Cruises’ CORAL. The ship was laid up at Eleusis at the end of her 2011 cruising season.
CORAL will likely be given an abbreviated delivery name for the short trip to Aliaga sometime in the next few weeks. Her as-built twin sister, the CUNARD AMBASSADOR, was nearly destroyed by fire after a mere two years of service in 1974, spending the next nine years as a livestock carrier before another fire consigned her to the breakers.
Coincidentally, another former Cunarder, the ex CUNARD COUNTESS of 1976, which last operated as OCEAN COUNTESS for Majestic International Cruises, caught fire at Chalkis on November 30. The ship appears to be beyond economic repair and will probably be joining the CORAL at Aliaga in the next few weeks.
January 2, 2014 UPDATE: According to Jonathan Boonzaier of Tradewinds, the ship has been renamed CORA and will be sailing under her own power to Alang, not Aliaga, for scrapping.
Special thanks to Marina Marinou and Hans Hoffman