The Norway currently largest cruise ship afloat


May 9, 2001
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Has anyone ever been aboard the Norway. She is the largest cruise ship afloat today and the oldest. As I was looking over her vital statistics on the company web site, I noticed that they say she is powered by two steam engines with 4 boilers.
Does the Norway really still use steam power?
She looks like a beautiful ship, I would love to hear from anyone who's been aboard her and what they thought of her.

Yuri Singleton
 
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Gavin Murphy

Guest
Yuri,

Not to put too fine a point on it, I don't think the Norway is the oldest cruise ship afloat. The old CP Empress of Canada is still around, ex Mardi Gras of the Carnival Line (at least as of 1998). It went into service a year or two before the Norway ex France. Last I heard she was sailing out of Newcastle for the Med.

I suspect there are even older ones around. How about the Independence and Constitution?

And would the Norway be the largest? What about all these recently built mega cruise liners out there? Don't know for sure though.

Anyway, I thought I would note these points.

Regards,

G
 

Erik Wood

Member
Apr 10, 2001
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Hey Yuri,

I have had the pleasure in my career of serving with Norweign Cruise Line as a very junior officer and for only one trip and I do believe that Carnivals new ships the Destiny and Triumphthe others whose name escapes me may be larger. She does still use steam and that is one of the many reasons that ship is on her last legs. NCL is looking to replace her or so I read in last Aprils Maritime Weekly as well as USA Today but I will have to find the clipping. There are alot of ships that use steam most of those are in the freight sector and not the passenger fleet. The Norway or ex France has had three decks added on and within the last three or four years has had many boiler problems. Just last year before the end of the shipping season Captian Johan Ooddlesone who is a senior Captain for NCL and and I had the privlage of attending the Captains ball in New York and he was telling me of the mis fortune of his ship as of late. I agree with Gavin that the Independence may be older and I know that Greece Cruise and some others have a pretty old fleet. The Bolero is an boat. I am not sure but she is a fine ship (the Norway).
 
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Susan Markowitz

Guest
Wonderful thread -- thanks, guys! One of these days, Erik, you really will have to write your memoirs; you've got a bunch of ready-readers for them. :)

Tho I've never had the pleasure of sailing on the France/Norway, my uncle took a transAtlantic voyage on the France decades ago. Sad to report, it was NOT a pleasant trip. He's quite the world traveler, and loves ships, but this was his first time going "across the Pond" -- and unfortunately, they hit rough weather. He said it was ghastly -- the weather, NOT the ship!

I am glad to know that she still uses steam, even if it may threaten her future. In truth, I'm a bit surprised that she's survived this long, given her size and original purpose/design.

Some months ago, I came across a pile of clippings I'd saved for years -- all articles on ships. Not absolutely certain of the dates, but there were a few from the New York Times, late '60's, early '70's predicting the last days of ship-travel and noting the passing of certain liners. Needless to say, I was crushed.

There is yet another petite but great old "dame of the sea": I believe she now sails as the Oriana, but she started her days as the Dunnottar Castle, and then became the Victoria. My parents took their first voyage on her. Another small, and less-distinguished old lady had (until recently, at least) been sailing as the Stefan Batory, but began life as the SS Maasdam. I had the dubious honor of traveling on her; she became something of a private, family joke for years.

As an aside, there used to be an excellent reference-site for checking on ships and their various incarnations, but I just discovered it was on the same, now defunct website as that of the fine Edmund Fitzgerald site belonging to the daughter of one of the crew. A shame...

Here's another, tho it does not seem so extensive:
http://www.maritimematters.com/shipnameindex.html

Regards to all -- Susan
 
May 9, 2001
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I did some digging on the internet and found some numbers regarding the current largest cruise vessels and the oldest still in service.
First to compare the largest:

THE NORWAY

Norwegian Cruise Lines; 76,049 tons; 2,032 passengers; crew of 920; built in 1962 as the France, refurbished and entered service in 1980 as the Norway, latest refurbishment 1996; 1035 feet long; 110 feet at beam; Norwegian officers and international crew; 9 passenger decks; Bahamian registry. Will leave the NCL fleet to join Star Cruises in Asia in September 2001.

CARNIVAL DESTINY / CARNIVAL TRIUMPH / CARNIVAL VICTORY

Carnival Cruise Lines; 102,000 tons; 893 feet in length; 116 feet wide; passengers: 2,642 (Destiny), 2,758 (Triumph, Victory); crew: 1,000 crew (Destiny), 1,150 (Triumph, Victory); Italian officers and international crew; entered service: 1996 (Destiny), 1999 (Triumph), August 2000 (Victory); Panama registry.



DISNEY DISNEY
MAGIC and WONDER

Disney Cruise Line; 2,400 passengers; 83,000 tons; 964 feet long; 106 feet wide; crew of 950; Disney Magic entered service July, 1998; Disney Wonder entered service August 1999; Bahamas registry.


There are some others planned or under construction but not currently afloat with passengers. So, if you consider tonnage the final word, then Carnival's newest megaships are the largest.
But if you consider length the true measure, then the Norway is still the queen of the sea.
I consider length the true scale of size.

To consider age:

THE NORWAY

Norwegian Cruise Lines; 76,049 tons; 2,032 passengers; crew of 920; built in 1962 as the France, refurbished and entered service in 1980 as the Norway, latest refurbishment 1996; 1035 feet long; 110 feet at beam; Norwegian officers and international crew; 9 passenger decks; Bahamian registry. Will leave the NCL fleet to join Star Cruises in Asia in September 2001.


I didn't find anything on the Constitution, or the Bolero, or the Empress of Canada(except for a 145 foot yacht named Empress of Canada that does dinner cruises).
I did find some other old ships:

Stella Solaris

Royal Olympic Cruises: 18,000 tons; built in 1953, rebuilt in 1973 and refurbished many times. 620 passengers, 325 crew, 544 feet long, 72 feet at beam, Officers are Greek, crew is international, the ship flies the Greek flag.

AMERICAN HAWAII
INDEPENDENCE
American Hawaii Cruises; Passengers: 866; 317 American staff and crew Weight: 20,221 tons; Length: 682 feet; Beam: 89 feet; nine decks, four elevators; Built in 1951. Registry: United States

ENCHANTED ISLE

Commodore Cruise Lines, 23,395 tons; 617 feet in length; 84 feet wide; passengers:725; crew: 350; European and American officers and international crew; built: 1958; entered service 1995; refurbished: 1997; Panama registry.

(This was all I found on the Empress of Canada)
Empress of Canada (third) 1961 - 1961 sold to Carnival Cruise Line, renamed Mardi Gras. 27,300 tons


So it looks like the oldest ship currently afloat with passengers is the Independence built in 1951 and still in service with the American Hawaiian Line cruising around the Hawaiian Islands.

I also saw a news release about the new Queen Mary II being built. It will be both longer, 1170 ft., and larger, 110,000 tons. It is scheduled for service in 2003.

Erik, the latest news for the Norway says its going to Asia to cruise around that part of the world with Star Cruises. Its farewell transatlantic crossing is next September 2001.

Yuri
 

Dave Gittins

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Apr 11, 2001
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The oldest passenger ship still at sea and in service is MV Doulos, ex Medina and other names, from 1914. Maltese registered, wouldn't you guess!

She wouldn't really count, as she carries no paying passengers. She belongs to a religious group and travels the world as a floating bookshop. She normally has around 300 on board as crew and general helpers. She used to be a steamer but now has an ancient diesel.

She's somewhere round 6,000 GRT and has done everything from carrying onions round the US to bringing migrants to Australia.

There are some extremely old steamers from around Titanic's time in service on the African lakes. They are probably the oldest powered ships still carrying paying passengers.
 
May 9, 2001
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Dave,

1914!! Wow, that beats 1951 by 37 years! The MV Doulos must be a riveted hull. I wonder if someone with some money to burn could buy that old ship and then run her along side an iceberg to see what kind of damage is done, and especially if the steel becomes brittle. (like that would really happen) Oh well. Thanks for that post.
So the Norway isn't the oldest.
But the Norway is STILL the largest cruise ship afloat...

Oh yes it is.
Yes it is, yes it is, yes it is...
(fingers inserted into ears with eyes closed)
Blah, Blah, Blah, Blah....I'm not listening!!

Sorry for that bit of sillyness. I've been playing with my kids tonight and their behavior has rubbed off on me.

Yuri Singleton
 

Dave Gittins

Member
Apr 11, 2001
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MV Doulos is now a weird mixture of riveting and welding. The last time I saw her she had a big new welded area in one side where a new generator had been installed. One of her engineers told me that she is quite comfortable at sea, especially when she has a big load of books stowed down low. As long as they can keep the diesel running she's good for a few more years.

As for the biggest passenger ship in service, I make her "Explorer of the Seas". She's 1,020 feet overall and 142,000 GRT. She's part of the Royal Caribbean Line. Norway is still the longest cruise ship, pending the building of Queen Mary 2.
 

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