09 December 2010

Boudicca, 15 August 2008


IMO 7218395
Built 1973, Wärtsilä Helsinki, Finland
Tonnage 28 388 GT
Length 205,47 m
Width 25,20 m
Draught 7,55 m
900 passengers
4 MAN/B&W diesels, combined 14 000 kW
2 propellers
2 bow thrusters
Speed 22 knots

Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines' Boudicca is a classic ship, one of the first cruise ships ever to be built at Wärtsilä's Hietalahti shipyard in Helsinki. She was built as the Royal Viking Sky, the second of three ships built for the Royal Viking Line, a new luxury cruise line established by the Norwegian shipping companies Der Bergenske Dampskibsselskab (DBS, better known in English as the Bergen Line), Det Nordenfjeldske Dampskibsselskab and AF Klaveness & Co. Each company owned one of the three ships, which were joint marketed as Royal Viking Line. The Royal Viking Sky was (probably) owned by Nordenfjeldske, although some sources state she was owned by Bergen Line instead. Some even claim she was owned by Kloster Cruise (the owners of Norwegian Cruise Line) but this must be a mistake as Kloster only became involved in Royal Viking Line later on.

Reagrdless of who owned her, the Royal Viking Sky entered service in 1973. Through-out the 70s the Royal Viking trio competed for the title of the world's most luxurious cruise ships with Norwegian America Line's Sagafjord and Vistafjord. In order to increase the company's capacity without needing to order new ships, the Royal Viking Line partners decided to have the three ships each lengthened with the addition of the 28-meter long midsection. For the Royal Viking Sky the lengthening was carried out at the A.G. Weser shipyard in Bremerhaven, West Germany in autumn 1982. The lengthening however proved to be a mistake: the ships lost much of the intimate atmosphere that had made them popular and without all-new ships Royal Viking Line had trouble competing with brands with newer, purpose-built ships.

In 1984 Kloster Cruise took over the Royal Viking Line. In 1991 all of the original Royal Viking sisters were transferred to othwer Kloster-owned brands (Royal Viking Line continued trading with the newer Royal Viking Sun and Royal Viking Queen until 1994 when the brand was sold to Cunard Line). The Royal Viking Sky briefly became Norwegian Cruise Line's Sunward, but already in 1992 she was sold to the Finland-based Birka Line, who renamed her Birka Queen and used her for cruises from Stockholm to St. Petersburg and Riga. (Birka had been building a new ship, also to be named Birka Queen, at Wärtsilä's Turku shipyard, but opted not to continue building the ship after Wärtsilä Marine's bankruptcy and bought the Sunward instead).

After the 1992 summer season the Birka Queen was chartered back to Norwegian Cruise Line for the 1992-1993 winter season, reverting to the name Sunward. Birka opted not to operate the ship themselves for the 1993 summer season, and instead she was now chartered to Princess Cruises, becoming the Golden Princess for cruising to Alaska. After Princess Cruises acquired new tonnage in 1996 they had no further need for the Golden Princess, and Birka Line sold her to Star Cruises. In 1997-1998 the ship sailed as their SuperStar Capricorn. Her iteneraries apparently included casino cruising out of New York. In 1998 Hyundai Merchant Marine chartered the ship for five years, renamed her Hyundai Keumgang and used her for cruising from South Korea to North Korea. However, Hyundai Merchant Marine went bankrupt already in 2001, and the ship returned to Star Cruises service and reverted to the name SuperStar Capricorn.

In 2004 Star Cruises sold the SuperStar Capricorn to Viajes Iberojet, who renamed her Grand Latino for Mediterranean cruising. After a little under two years with the ship Iberojet sold her, now to Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines. In keeping with their tradition of giving names beginning with "B" to their ships, Olsen planned on naming the ship Boadicea after the legendary celtic queen. This was later altered to Boudicca, in accordance with the spelling currently preferred by historians. Prior to entering service with Fred. Olsen the Boudicca sailed to the Blohm+Voss shipyard in Hamburg, where she was refitted with new engines, additional suites with balconies and her interiors thoroughly rebuilt. Since February 2006 the Boudicca has been in service with Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines, sailing on varied iteneraries around the world.

Photographs below show the Boudicca deparing Helsinki on 15 August 2008. Click on the individual images to view full size.

The usual view, entering the Kustaanmiekka strait.
In the strait, showing her very fine Tage Wandborg -designed lines,
That's a fine rear you've got there, queen Boudicca. :P
Parting shot as the Boudicca heads on to open waters.

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