The last British built cruise ship, still in operational condition, which entered service in 1973, has been sold to breakers in India.
This 24,492 gross tonne, 655 passenger, cruise ship was built as ‘Vistafjord’ (Norwegian America Line) by Swan Hunter, Newcastle, became ‘Caronia’ (Cunard) and spent her last years as ‘Saga Ruby’ (Saga Cruises).
She sold in 2014 for use as a floating hotel in Myanmar, Burma, which never happened.
Saga Ruby (renamed ‘Oasia’) is currently under her own power and is expected to arrive off the Indian ship breakers yards in Alang, 5th April 2015 at 17.30 hrs.
Malcolm says: I’ve never been on board ‘Ruby’ but it is always sad to me when a ‘classic’ ship ends up at the nautical graveyard of Alang, India. This one is particularly sad, because Ruby represents the end of the era when Britain was the ‘workshop of the world’ and built great ships. We no longer build cruise ships at all.
Unfortunately there are few uses for an old cruise ship. Floating hotels do not tend to work, with a few notable exceptions: the RMS Queen Mary and the SS Rotterdam. I guess Ruby will become razor blades or similar? Her fixtures and fitting may find their way to restaurants, bars and hopefully collectors.
On a more positive note, Saga are building their first new ‘small’ ship, ‘Spirit of Discovery’ (see link below).
Slide-show ‘Saga Rose’, Dover 2006: HERE
New Saga ship ‘Spirit of Discovery’: HERE