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

P&O Cruises VICTORIA continued her successful U.K.-based cruise program until being withdrawn and sold in 2002.  The ship made a final cruise from Southampton to Gibraltar, Barcelona, Port Mahon, Ajaccio, Toulon, Santa Margherita, Livorno and Civitavecchia, where some of her artwork and fittings were removed prior to being handed over to new owners, Leonardo Shipping, who chartered the ship to German-based Holiday Kreuzfahrten as the MONA LISA.

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

I had an opportunity to document the ship from top to bottom just prior to her sale by P&O.  She has remained basically the same since her 1979 rebuilding, save for new soft fittings and furniture.

VICTORIA's Profile. Peter Knego collection.

Forward Funnel Platform

As seen from the forward funnel platform, the VICTORIA's midships pool is in a protected well surrounded by terraced sun decks and presided over by the buff funnel. Photo and copyright Peter Knego 2001.

When the forward funnel was cut down, it created a small platform of decks for officers’ use only, offering  a nice view over the midships pool area.


Bridge Deck

The VICTORIA's wheelhouse is shown here facing port. Photo and copyright Peter Knego 2001.

Bridge Deck begins with the wheelhouse, which boasts much of the original KUNGSHOLM equipment in addition to recent augmentations.

This view is facing aft from the port bridge wing toward VICTORIA's immaculate superstructure. Photo and copyright Peter Knego

The teak decking was beautifully tended on VICTORIA, leading aft from the wings to another platform


Sun Deck

This level begins with an observation platform underneath the wheelhouse and continues aft to a screened-in sunning platform overlooking the midships pool.

Aft Sun Deck is shown in a forward-facing view from the starboard side. Photo and copyright Peter Knego 2001.
The Carib pool on aft Lido Deck is shown in this view from Sun Deck. Photo and copyright Peter Knego 2001.

Although this level heads aft along the base of the funnel through a crew only area, it opens back up to passengers with a turf covered terrace overlooking the stern.


Lido Deck

Lido Deck. Peter Knego collection.

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The Starlight Lounge is terraced forward and offers vistas over the ships bow. This is a port facing view. Photo and copyright Peter Knego 2001.
This is an aft facing view showing the lower level of the Starlight Lounge with its dance floor and bar. Photo and copyright Peter Knego 2001.

The next level, Lido Deck, is the highest passenger deck with enclosed spaces. The Starlight Lounge fronts Lido Deck, offering a forward-facing view from its terraced observation area, and still has its dark paneling and original Scandinavian wooden furnishing.

The Starboard Annexe is shown in a forward facing view. Popular for cards and games, it is also where the ship's port plaques were displayed. Photo and copyright Peter Knego 2001.
The Port Annexe is shown here facing aft. Both annexes peer into the Starlight Lounge via brass decorative "portholes" that date to the KUNGSHOLM era. Photo and copyright Peter Knego 2001.

The port and starboard annexes on either side of the Starlight Lounge have original wicker furnishing and more luxuriant paneling.

The forward Lido Deck foyer is shown in this starboard-facing view. Its paneling and character evoke the ship's liner heritage. Photo and copyright Peter Knego 2001.

The forward stairtower descends from the foyer just aft of the Starlight Lounge and annexes, and is resplendent in rich cherry wood paneling and indandescent  lighting.

Facing aft along the port portion of the enclosed Lido Deck. Photo and copyright Peter Knego 2001.

Externally, Lido Deck, continues with narrow promenades that have unique, corresponding glass-enclosed spaces furnished with wicker and wooden deck chairs.

The Lido Buffet was a favorite casual dining venue aboard VICTORIA. Photo and copyright Peter Knego 2001.

The promenades continue aft to the slightly terraced Lido Buffet, which serves the midships pool area with buffet style meals, tea and coffee.

From just aft of the midships Lido Pool facing forward. Photo and copyright Peter Knego 2001.
The glowing, wood paneled midships Lido Deck foyer is shown facing starboard. Photo and copyright Peter Knego 2001.

The wood paneled midships foyer is quite remarkable as it spans two decks:  the upper Lido Deck level featuring full length windows just aft of the midships pool and the lower R Deck level, with an attractive marquetry wood panel that depicts medieval Swedish life.

The port side Carib Annexe is shown facing forward. It can double as a playroom as needed. Photo and copyright Peter Knego 2001.
Meanwhile, the starboard side has been turned into a slots room, as seen in this forward facing view. Photo and copyright Peter Knego 2001.

The KUNGSHOLM’s former enclosed promenade spaces just aft were transformed into a slot machine room on the starboard side and a gallery that doubles as a playroom on the port side.

The Carib Lounge is shown here in a forward/port-facing view. Photo and copyright Peter Knego 2001.

The Carib Lounge and Casino were created out of a Sun Room and open deck space during the KUNGSHOLM’s morph into SEA PRINCESS.  In effect, they replaced the Smoking Room, which was given to the ship’s new cabins on R deck.

The Casino, which adjoins the Carib Lounge on the starboard side, is shown here in an aft-facing view. Photo and copyright Peter Knego 2001.

A narrow glass-enclosed terrace follows just aft of the Carib Lounge and Bar, looking out over the Carib Pool, which was added in the SEA PRINCESS conversion.

Facing forward from aft Lido Deck toward the Carib Pool and windows of the terrace adjoining the Carib Lounge. Photo and copyright Peter Knego 2001.
From aft Lido Deck, this view is over the fantail on A Deck, where shuffleboard is a popular activity. Photo and copyright Peter Knego 2001.

Although the luxuriant terracing is now gone, the MONA LISA”s rebuilt after decks were more sensibly utilized with the Carib Pool and whirlpools.


R Deck

R Deck. Peter Knego collection.

R Deck is just below Lido Deck and contains the lion’s share of the MONA LISA’s public rooms.  It begins with a hatch area that is out of access to passengers.

The Princess Theater is little altered from the KUNGSHOLM's Auditorium (although the corner sculptures have since been removed), and is shown in a starboard facing view. Photo and copyright Peter Knego 2001.

The dedicated passenger space on R Deck (formerly KUNGSHOLM’s Veranda Deck) begins with the Princess Theater, which is forward and center, with its original squared off seats and recessed ceiling dome.

This dramatically backlit sculpture of the early Swedish "Estate" of Clergy was located in the aft/port corner of the Princess Theater. Photo and copyright Peter Knego 2001.

In each corner one of the four metal sculptures representing the four classes or “Estates” (Nobility, Clergymen, Burghers, and Peasantry) of the pre-1866 Swedish Parliament were originally from the KUNGSHOLM of 1953 and still had their descriptive name plaques before being removed by P&O in 2002.

Gently sheered, this lovely wood paneled room is every bit a traditional ocean liner haven with its picture windows and period furnishing. The panes on the inboard side once looked into The Auditorium, but their wooden shutters are now permanently sealed. Photo and copyright Peter Knego 2001.

On the port side, R Deck begins with the lovely Library with its traditional furnishing and wood veneers.

The Riviera Bar is a beautiful wood paneled gallery boasting picture windows, plush seating, and a leather trimmed bar. This Photo, copyright Peter Knego 2001, is facing aft.

R Deck continues on the port side with the Riviera Bar, which sports full length windows, and more lavish paneling.  It provides access to the International Lounge via a passageway aft.  The starboard side is a shopping gallery with brass and glass display cases, which was once a card room, Veranda, and a smaller shopping center.

The International Lounge spans the width of the ship and is shown here facing aft from the port side. Photo and copyright Peter Knego 2001

The International Lounge, formerly the Main Lounge, was extensively rebuilt by P&O to accommodate the latest in seagoing stage technology and comfortable seating.  The brass balustrades and some paneling remain from the KUNGSHOLM era.

The International Bar adjoins the International Lounge and was originally the KUNGSHOLM's Shore Excursion Office. Photo and copyright Peter Knego 2001.

In its aft/starboard corner is the inviting International Bar, which looks out to sea. The wood paneled midships foyer follows aft, sporting a handsome inlaid wood panel of medieval Swedish life.

Cabin 586 on port aft Riviera Deck is one of the 1978 additions and is shown here facing port. Photo and copyright Peter Knego 2001.

Beyond the midships foyer, modular cabins have replaced the KUNGSHOLM’s Veranda Lounge, Cocktail Lounge, and Smoking Room.


A Deck

A Deck. Peter Knego collection.
Unlike the squared-off blank facades of most newer ships, the "face" of the ship is graceful and beautifully curved. This view is facing aft from the focsle area on forward A Deck. Photo and copyright Peter Knego 2001.

The next passenger level, A Deck (formerly the KUNGSHOLM’s Upper Deck), begins at the fo’c’sle, which is a crew and mooring area.

The VICTORIA bell remains in its traditional location on ship's focsle. Photo and copyright Peter Knego 2001.

Passenger accommodation begins within the superstructure and stretches aft. Here, the former KUNGSHOLM’s beautifully paneled cabins and passageways lead to the midships Purser’s Lobby.

The Orontes Suite on starboard A Deck was originally two outside staterooms that were converted into one large room with sitting area and large picture windows. Photo and copyright Peter Knego 2001.

The MONA LISA’s cabin accommodation ranges from large suites with picture windows to insides. As built, the KUNGSHOLM boasted some of the roomiest and most well appointed accommodation afloat. Nearly all of the original cabins have been left intact, save for those on starboard A Deck which were “doubled” into large suites named after former P&O vessels.

This port-facing view of the Purser's Lobby captures only a fraction of its true charm and beauty. Photo and copyright Peter Knego 2001.

The Purser’s Lobby features anodized aluminum accents, frosted glass panes, and deep wood paneling.  The Purser’s Office is forward, while on either side vestibules can be used for embarkation or disembarkation.

Cabin A78 is located on aft port A Deck and is a large double outside with a generous sitting area. Photo and copyright Peter Knego 2001

The midships stairs follow just aft before the accommodation continues to the fantail.

The VICTORIA's A Deck fantail is shown facing forward. Photo and copyright Peter Knego 2001.

The popular teak covered A Deck fantail contains coit and shuffleboard courts.


B Deck

B Deck. Peter Knego collection.
B44 is located on port midships B Deck. One lower doubles as a sofa while the other folds back into the bulkhead. Photo and copyright Peter Knego 2001.

B Deck is devoted entirely to passenger staterooms.


C Deck

The forward portion of The Coral Dining Room is shown here in a forward-facing view. Photo and copyright Peter Knego 2001

C Deck contains the Coral Dining Room as well as staterooms.  The Coral Dining Room has an inboard forward section that was once relegated to the ship’s first class clientele when KUNGSHOLM made the occasional two class crossing.

The aft section of the Coral Dining Room is shown here facing forward. Photo and copyright Peter Knego 2001.

The after portion is paneled in cherry wood.  Cabinet displays in the center of the room featured displays of 18th century Swedish china until being removed by P&O in 2002.

The aft portion of the Coral Dining Room is terraced on either side. This view is facing aft from starboard. Photo and copyright Peter Knego 2001.
A detail of one of the etched mirrors is shown in this view. Photo and copyright Peter Knego 2001

The aft part of the Coral Dining Room is not only much wider than the forward section, it is also terraced up on either side.  The aft bulkhead contains a series of etched mirrors depicting ancient Scandinavian vessels.

C78 is an inside upper/lower on aft/port C Deck. For a minimum category stateroom, it is spacious and beautifully appointed. Photo and copyright Peter Knego 2001.
Cabin C88 is located on aft port C Deck and has two upper berths in addition to the lower beds. In this view, the upper berths are folded up. Photo and copyright Peter Knego 2001.

Many of the VICTORIA’s cabins have extra berths in addition to the usual two lowers. While the soft furnishings are bright and new, the polished woods have endured beautifully throughout the ship’s career.


D Deck

D Deck. Peter Knego collection.

D Deck houses the Beauty Salon, a small assortment of cabins, and the Medical Center.


E Deck

E Deck. Peter Knego collection.
The E Deck Pool is shown here in a view facing aft. Photo and copyright Peter Knego 2001.

The bottom passenger level is the indoor pool and gymnasium area on E Deck.  Indoor pools were popular on liners that would spend all or part of their service on the North Atlantic.

The Gym is shown here in a forward-facing view. Photo and copyright Peter Knego 2001.

The VICTORIA’s Gym adjoins the pool on the starboard side and offers cardio equipment, an assortment of weights, and an area for stretching.


The VICTORIA is shown departing Tampa on 26 February, 2001. Photo and copyright Peter Knego 2001.

MV MONA LISA: 2002 — 2006

As the Holiday Kreuzfahrten’s MONA LISA, the former KUNGSHOLM gained a loyal German following on long cruises throughout the world. Unfortunately, raising fuel prices brought the curtains down on this phase of her career in 2006 when the company ceased operations and the ship was laid up at Piraeus.


MV OCEANIC II/MV SCHOLARSHIP: 2007 — 2008.

OCEANIC II at Rhodes. Photo and copyright Peter Knego 2007.

Leonardo Shipping soon found work for the MONA LISA by chartering her to Spanish-based Pullmantur Cruises who operated the ship as OCEANIC II in the spring of 2007. For a few brief weeks, she was chartered to Louis Cruise Lines to fill in for the SEA DIAMOND, which sank at Santorini. Then she returned to Pullmantur as OCEANIC II for the rest of the summer before taking on the name SCHOLARSHIP for a brief season as a floating university.


MV MONA LISA: 2008 — 2010

MONA LISA in Lord Nelson Seereisen livery. Photo and copyright Tom Rinaldi 2010.

German-based Lord Nelson Seereisen revived the ship for a charter as MONA LISA in the spring of 2008. That summer, the ship undertook a world cruise for Japanese-based Peaceboat as a stopgap replacement for THE TOPAZ (the former EMPRESS OF BRITAIN, which was sold for scrap). In 2009, the MONA LISA returned to Lord Nelson and Peaceboat service, reverting to full-time cruise service for Lord Nelson until being retired in September of 2010 due to the implementation of SOLAS 2010 regulations that prohibit any overnight passenger ship to operate with wood in its construction.

Once the pride of Scandinavian ship designers and the most prestigious ship in the world, MONA LISA continued to delight passengers well into her 44th year of service. Plans to bring the ship to Goteborg and later, Stockholm, to serve as a floating hotel and convention center under the ship’s original name KUNGSHOLM appear to have fallen through.  At the time off this article’s publication, her future was in grave doubt.

Acknowledgements:  D. Aris, Martin Cox, Danny Crosswell, James C. Cusick, Lars Hemingstam, Don Martin, Sandy Naugle, Bruce Peter, Vance Roach, Jennifer Roberts, Greg Sanders, Captain AS Varsamis, Lynne Varsamis, The officers, staff, and crew of the MV VICTORIA

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

THE END — revised on September 11, 2010.

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