Beginning and end for 2 cruise ships

//Beginning and end for 2 cruise ships

Keel laying.jpg
Two rainy days, two cruise ships at the opposite ends of their lives, and two contrasting pictures. In a shipyard Italy yesterday a traditional ceremony marked the keel-laying of Royal Princess; thousands of miles away in a Chinese breakers’ yard, Saga Rose nears the end of her life.
The first 500-ton construction block for the new 3,600-passenger Royal Princess was blessed by a priest before being lowered into drydock at Fincantieri’e Monfalcone yard near Trieste (above).
The first in a new class of ships – a similar vessel will be built for P&O – Royal Princess will be floated out of dry-dock next summer and completed in May 2013.
“It’s always very exciting to mark this step in a ship’s construction, when several of the pre-built sections come together to form a new addition to our fleet, especially with a prototype design,” said Alan Buckelew, president and CEO of Princess Cruises, who travelled to Italy for the ceremony.
It will be some months before construction workers add one of Royal Princess’s most innovative features, the SeaWalk glass-floored walkway extending 20-feet beyond the edge of the vessel, 128-feet above the waves. On the opposite side it will be balanced by the SeaView Bar.
More details of the ship will be released over the next few months, and a video preview and computer images are available at
Meanwhile, after being retired from service in 2009 and having failed to find a new owner prepared to spend millions on a re-fit, Saga Rose is being scrapped at a yard on the Yangtze River, up-river from Shanghai (below).
Originally built as Sagafjord and entering service in 1965, the ship was acquired by Saga in1997. The ship holds the world record for the number of world cruises completed, at 44. But now she’s going nowhere.

By | 2017-06-15T15:59:59+00:00 21 October 2011|Cruise Ships|6 Comments

About the Author:

John Honeywell is a travel writer specialising in cruise ships and cruise travel. Winner of CLIA UK's Contribution to Cruise award 2017.


  1. Scott Anderson 21 October 2011 at 9:42 am - Reply

    Its so sad to see these classic older ships being sold for scrap – we have lost so much nautical history this way…

  2. Cruise Deals 21 October 2011 at 10:42 am - Reply

    I am really looking forward to the Royal Princess debut I love the Princess ships and can’t wait to sail on their new ones

  3. Gary Lovini 31 October 2011 at 12:07 am - Reply

    Fantastic memories on Sagafjord also I was the very first headliner act on maiden voyage of Saga Rose……unforgettable!xx

  4. John Honeywell 31 October 2011 at 11:40 am - Reply

    Thanks Gary. I just watched your video at – great stuff!

  5. Clint Buffington 14 January 2012 at 2:39 pm - Reply

    Hi John,
    I’m researching a message in a bottle I found which was sent from the Sagafjord when she was briefly named Gripsholm in 1996-97. I’m doing this for a blog I run, which is the website I have listed (
    I don’t think I’ll ever find the sender, but wanted you to know that this is part of that ship’s story! I’d also love your permission to use a photo or two for the post I’m working on. Mind dropping me a line if you have a spare minute? I would greatly appreciate it!

  6. Wenche Hornbøll 9 March 2013 at 10:45 pm - Reply

    How sad! I was working onboard the M/S Sagafjord in 1983, while this beautiful ship was visiting Shanghai.What a shame that she now is scrapped! 🙁

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