Cruis Blog reader ‘Max M’ suggested that after discussing the biggest river boats (here) we should discuss the oldest.
I have done a little research and it would appear that the oldest registered marine vessel with overnight accommodation, is in fact a vintage steam canal boat called M/S Juno. Juno was built in 1874 (yes, 1874) and has 29 passenger cabins.
M/S Juno operates on the 120 mile Göta Canal between Stockholm and Gothenburg, built with the help of Scottish engineer Thomas Telford.
In fact there are three vintage vessels on this route: The M/S Wilhelm Tham was built in 1912 and their youngest ship, is the M/S Diana, in 1931.
More Information HERE
Doulos – The Oldest Ocean-Going Ship
The Medina was built in 1914 by Newport News Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Company for the Mallory Steamship Company of the United States. She was a freighter serving the Atlantic; during World War II she served with the United States Coast Guard.
The Panamanian company Naviera San Miguel SA acquired the Medina in 1948; they renamed the ship the Roma, and converted her into a passenger ship with cabins for 287 people, and dormitories for an additional 694 people.
In 1952 Naviera San Miguel resold the Roma to Linea Costa, an Italian company. At this time the SS Roma, a steamship, was converted into a motor vessel and renamed the MV Franca C. She carried passengers between Italy and Argentina. In 1959, the Franca C was adapted into a cruise liner, principally cruising the Mediterranean.
In 1977, Gute Bücher für Alle (Good Books For All) acquired the Franca C, and renamed her the Doulos (Greek for servant). She was manned by a volunteer crew and made sea port visits worldwide as a missionary ship. The MV Doulos held the biggest floating library in the world. Normally there were somewhere between 3000 to 5000 books on the shelves and half a million in the hold.
She made her last world tour in 2009 and was de-commissioning at the end of 2009 due to expense of making her compliant with SOLAS (maritime safety) regulations .
The ship is currently known as the MV Doulos Phos. She is now owned by Mr. Eric Saw, Director and Chief Executive of BizNaz Resources International Pte Ltd in Singapore.
There are plans to use the ship as a floating hotel with restaurants, a bookshop and a banqueting hall. However such plans do not always come to fruition. The QE2 is a prime example.
Malcolm Says: As Doulos is no longer operational as cruise ship, this raises the question what ocean going ship is now the oldest? anybody know?
I got to go on-board MV Doulos in 2004, when she visited Southampton. Her interiors were quite a mess, looking more like a Hippy peace-camp than an historic ship. However you could certainly still see some of the Costa décor in places.