08 September 2010

Ocean Village, 30 May 2009

Ocean Village

IMO 8611398
Built 1989, Chantiers de l'Atlantique St. Nazaire, France
Tonnage 63 524 GT
Length 247,00 m
Width 32,20 m
Draugth 8,20 m
1 693 passengers
2 MAN-B&W diesels, combined 39 000 kW
2 propellers
2 bow thrusters
1 stern thruster
Speed 19 knots

Ocean Village (the ship) was built as a part of Sitmar Cruises' (one of the major cruise lines of the 70s and 80s) large-scale expansion drive of the late 1980s. The ship was given the cubersome name Sitmar Fairmajesty and she was due to enter service in 1989 as then new Sitmar flagship. (Sitmar ships traditionally had names beginning with "Fair", such as Fairwind or Fairstar, but in 1988 the company's new management had the fantastic idea of adding a "Sitmar" prefix to the names of all their ships). Sitmar Fairmajesty was never to sail as a Sitmar cruise ship however, as in September 1988 the company was sold to P&O, one of it's main competitors. Sitmar's ships aimed at the US market were transferred under P&O's Princess Cruises brand and it was for Princess Cruises that the Sitmar Fairmajesty was finally delivered, now under the name Star Princess. (In the Australian market P&O retained the Sitmar brand until 1991 and after that P&O's Australian operations have been run almost exclusively using old Sitmar tonnage).

The Star Princess' career with Princess Cruises proved to be relatively short, as in 1997 she was transferred to P&O's UK-market fleet under the name Arcadia as a replacement for the classic Canberra that had been sold for scrap. The Arcadia sailed for P&O for six years, until the Adonia joined the P&O fleet in 2003 (Adonia too was an ex-Princess ship, namely the Sea Princess of 1998). As a new job for the Arcadia, P&O had something new in mind. The ship was rebuilt as an informal cruise ship catering for the young and young at heart (in a similar operation as P&O's German-market subsidiary Aida Cruises). Renamed Ocean Village, the ship would go into competition against Royal Caribbean's informal UK cruise line Island Cruises. Somewhat confusingly, the cruise line brand the Ocean Village would sail for was also named Ocean Village. To reflect the casual atmosphere onboard, the Ocean Village was given an eyecatching orange/red/purple livery.

The Ocean Village cruise line was apparently something of a success, and in 2007 the Ocean Village was joined by the Ocean Village Two (interestingly, the Ocean Village Two was also one of the ships ordered by Sitmar but completed for Princess Cruises). Despite this outward signs of good performance, Ocean Village's new owner Carnival Corporation & PLC was not satisfied with the line's performance. In 2008 the decision was made to close down the Ocean Village brand and transfer it's ships to P&O Cruises Australia. Ocean Village Two left the Ocean Village fleet in 2009, becoming P&O Australia's Pacific Jewel. The Ocean Village will be withdrawn by the end of 2010. She will subsequently become P&O Australia's Pacific Pearl.

Photographs below show the Ocean Village manoeuvring the quay at Livorno on the morning of 30 May 2009, photographed from onboard MSC Sinfonia. Click on the image(s) to view full size.

Despite the calm weather the Ocean Village had to be escorted into quay by a tug (just visible on the right).
Pulling into quay, with Princess Cruises' Ruby Princess in the background.

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