Continuing Shawn J. Dake’s Cruise Ships 2012, The Year In Review
Pullmantur Cruises chartered the 35,190 gross ton OCEAN DREAM (ex TROPICALE, COSTA TROPICALE, PACIFIC STAR) to Japan’s Peaceboat organization. The ship passed through the Panama Canal on March 31st en route to Japan.
At the time of its maiden voyage in 1982 this was the first newly built vessel in the Carnival Cruise Lines fleet. After sailing for other Carnival subsidiaries, in a twist of fate, the ship ended up under Royal Caribbean ownership, sailing for Pullmantur Cruises in competition for Spanish passengers with Carnival’s own Ibero Cruceros division. This early ’80’s pioneer is 672 feet long, with a beam of 87 feet and can carry 980 passengers. The charter to Peaceboat represented the final service of the 1965-built OCEANIC (ex OCEANIC, STARSHIP OCEANIC) which also went from Pullmantur to Peaceboat.
Originally built for Home Lines the 38,772 gross ton OCEANIC was one of the most graceful, Italian designed ships, and by 2012 was the last large operating steamship on the ocean. She is being scrapped in China. Pullmantur Cruises further reduced their 2012 capacity by switching the HORIZON (ex HORIZON, ISLAND STAR, PACIFIC DREAM) to their French, Croisieres De France division marketing the ship as L’HORIZON. The larger 1,354-passenger ship will replace the 748-passenger BLEU DE FRANCE (ex EUROPA, SUPERSTAR EUROPE, SUPERSTAR AIRES, HOLIDAY DREAM) which was sold to Saga.
The 47,427 gross ton HORIZON was Celebrity Cruises first newly built ship in 1990. Her 1992-built sister ZENITH remains active in the now three-ship fleet as does the 73,192 gross ton SOVEREIGN (ex SOVEREIGN OF THE SEAS) from 1988 and the 48,563 gross ton EMPRESS (ex NORDIC EMPRESS, EMPRESS OF THE SEAS) built for Royal Caribbean in 1990. The latter was the first to be repainted with a deep blue hull which has now become standard for the entire fleet and gives the ships a very smart appearance. The funnels now sport a new “wave” logo which is repeated on the aft hull along with the company name. With the weakening Euro zone economy, Pullmantur has reduced the proportion of Spanish passengers from 85% to 40% switching their focus to rely more heavily on Brazilian charters and the French market.
To maintain their previous capacity, Pullmantur Cruises will add the 1991-built 2,354-passenger MONARCH (ex MONARCH OF THE SEAS) beginning in April, 2013. The laid up ATLANTIC STAR (ex FAIRSKY, SKY PRINCESS, PACIFIC SKY, SKY WONDER) will be traded to the STX France shipyard as part of the compensation package for the building of the third OASIS OF THE SEAS class cruise ship. As the FAIRSKY, the 46,392 gross ton vessel was the last passenger steamship when constructed in 1984, and is the last remaining, large ocean-going turbine steamer today. The shipyard will undoubtedly replace those engines if it offers the ship for resale or charter, unless it chooses to sell it for scrap.
Shawn Dake is a freelance photo-journalist and regular contributor to MaritimeMatters.com. For more than a decade he has written his annual “Cruise Ships, The Year In Review” which has now grown to a nearly 15,000 word essay recalling all of the events that have taken place within the cruise industry the previous year.
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.