Cruise Ships 2011, The Year In Review: Happy Cruises and Ocean Star Cruises

Continuing Shawn J. Dake’s
Cruise Ships 2011, The Year In Review: Happy Cruises and Ocean Star Cruises

HAPPY DOLPHIN (ex ORIENT VENUS, DELPHIN VOYAGER, HAINEN EMPRESS)

Happy Cruises abruptly ceased operation on September 24th .  During 2011 the troubled line grew to a three ship fleet with the addition of the chartered, 21,884 gross ton HAPPY DOLPHIN (ex ORIENT VENUS, DELPHIN VOYAGER, HAINEN EMPRESS) in May.  The ship had most recently sailed a Chinese charter under her last previous name.  Along with their other two ships, the 19,093 gross ton GEMINI (ex  CROWN JEWEL, SUPERSTAR GEMINI) built in 1992, and the 1970-built OCEAN PEARL (ex SONG OF NORWAY, SUNDREAM, DREAM PRINCESS, DREAM, CLIPPER PEARL, CLIPPER PACIFIC, FESTIVAL) of 22,945 gross tons, the company had hoped to carry up to 100,000 passengers a year.  This line had previously operated under the name Quail Cruises but ran into trouble during 2009 when the PACIFIC (ex. SEA VENTURE, PACIFIC PRINCESS) was seized.   It is highly unlikely this Spanish-based line which competed against Royal Caribbean’s Pullmantur Cruises and Carnival’s Ibero Cruceros, will rise from the ashes again.

OCEAN STAR PACIFIC (Shown here as Louis Cruises' AQUAMARINE) off Mykonos. Photo and copyright Peter Knego 2010.

Ocean Star Cruises inaugurated a new cruise service, one of the few ever based in Mexico, with the 1971-built veteran OCEAN STAR PACIFIC (ex NORDIC PRINCE, CAROUSEL, ARIELLE, AQUAMARINE).  While on only the second voyage for this new company, the ship was disabled by a generator fire off Hualtulco on April 15th, forcing the evacuation of the 522 passengers and 226 crew aboard.  The 23,149 gross ton, 635 foot long ship had just completed an extensive three-month refurbishment.  Repairs took longer than expected and the ship remained out of service until returning June 12th.  This 40-year old vessel was one of the original trio that founded Royal Caribbean Cruises Line.

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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