July 26, 2010 Update:: Kudos to Mr. Hallgren for his ongoing efforts to find a home for this former Swedish icon. He is in talks with the port of Stockholm (who were originally NOT interested), which is now showing some interest in providing a possible berth for the MONA LISA. It is hoped that the vessel can temporarily be used as student accommodation and that she will ultimately be given a permanent mooring.
Original Post: Although we did mention that scrap buyers were looking at this beautiful ship’s specs a couple weeks back, Tom Rinaldi correctly suggested a proper news piece was in order. After years of planning, Swedish entrepreneur Lars Hallgren withdrew his offer to purchase the 1966-built MV MONA LISA (ex KUNGSHOLM, SEA PRINCESS, VICTORIA, OCEANIC II/SCHOLARSHIP) after the City Of Gothenburg granted only a limited five year lease to berth the vessel. It was intended that Mr. Hallgren would bring the ship to her former home port, restore the original twin funneled configuration and open the ex KUNGHSOLM up as an hotel and convention center. Five years was not enough time to develop such a complex plan and the deal fell through just as the ship’s current active role in cruising will end due to SOLAS 2010 implementations. As originally built, the KUNGSHOLM was considered by many to be one of the most beautiful liners ever, with a near perfect profile. In 1979, the forward funnel was cut down and the aft extended with a conical top when KUNGSHOLM became SEA PRINCESS. Modular cabins were also added in the aft portion of the superstructure. Even with the modifications, the ship was and still is one of the best looking on the high seas. MONA LISA’s charter to German-based Holiday Kreuzfahrten ends in August and unless there is a static role for her somewhere, it is likely she will be broken up at Alang. With thanks to Tom Rinaldi. Please click here for the excellent Swedish American Line tribute website.
Having documented over 400 passenger ships and taken more than 200 cruises, MaritimeMatters’ co-editor Peter Knego is a leading freelance cruise writer, a respected ocean liner historian and frequent maritime lecturer both on land and at sea. With his work regularly featured in cruise industry trades and consumer publications. Knego also runs the www.midshipcentury.com website which offers MidCentury cruise ship furniture, artwork and fittings rescued from the shipbreaking yards of Alang, India. He has produced several videos on the subject, including his latest, The Sands Of Alang and the best-selling On The Road To Alang."