Visits by cruise ships exceed 500 since 1961

The arrival of Dawn Princess on its ninth visit, last Friday, brought the total number of visits to this harbour by overseas-owned cruise ships since December 23, 1961, to 501.

Of the 78 ships that called during this period, 11 made visits under two names and 14 were visitors to the upper harbour.

Most of the more modern vessels were purpose-built for cruising.

On the other hand, some of the earlier visitors included converted cargo and Ro/Ro vessels, a converted trawler and older passenger liners adapted for a new lease on life with the cruising sector. Dawn Princess (built 1997) and sister Sun Princess (1995) along with Volendam (1999) and Star Princess (2002), all visitors this season, were all built by Italy's state-owned Fincantieri shipbuilding group.

Earlier this month, their yard at Monfalcone launched Cunard's sixth Queen, the third to be built in a foreign yard.

The first three, Queen Mary, Queen Elizabeth and Queen Elizabeth 2 were built on the Clyde.

First from foreign soil, and the largest Cunarder to date was the 148,528gt French-built Queen Mary 2, completed at St Nazaire in December 2003.

Last to join the fleet, in December, 2007, was the 90,049gt, Fincantieri-built Queen Victoria, which will visit northern ports next month.

Its sister ship now being fitted out is another Queen Elizabeth, but will not have a numeral in the name.

Queen Elizabeth was laid down last year on July 2, and was floated out of the building dock at Monfalcone 13 days ago. The new ship will be named officially when it arrives at Southampton on its maiden voyage later this year on November 11.

To add good luck to its career, a British half-crown from 1938, when the first Queen Elizabeth was launched, a 1967 sovereign marking the launching of Queen Elizabeth 2 and a contemporary "sovereign" bearing the year 2010 will be welded under the mast.

The 294m vessel will provide berths for 2092 passengers in 1046 cabins and carry a crew of 1097.

Diesel-electric propulsion will give a service speed of 22.5 knots.

Queen Victoria and Queen Elizabeth are enlarged "Vista" class vessels, a class introduced by Zuiderdam in 2002.

The two Cunarders have a longer hull, an additional deck, and a redesigned layout of cabins and public areas.

And to meet requirements of Atlantic crossings when not cruising, decks, bulkheads and hulls have been reinforced.

The "Vista" series also includes modified Hybrid-Vista and Signature versions.

All were ordered to operate under Carnival group brands, Costa Cruises, Cunard Line, Holland-America Line and Princess Cruises. Queen Elizabeth is the ninth vessel in the series.

Two more are being built. Arcadia, fourth of the "Vista" design, is due here on February 20.

Of the present Carnival fleet of 51 vessels, the Fincantieri yards built 47 since 1990.

Others that have called here are Amsterdam, Maasdam, Statendam and Regal Princess, which comes back late next month as Pacific Dawn.

These builders have 12 cruise ships on order for completion by 2012.

But news is not so good for another cruise ship builder, the Turku yard of STX Finland.

Last year, they completed the world's largest cruise ship, the 225,282gt Oasis of the Seas, which will be joined by sister ship Allure of the Seas later this year.

The yard has no other ships or order or under construction.

Scheduled to visit Dunedin this week is the 3244gt Bergen-registered, ice-strengthened, seismographic research vessel Bergen Resolution.

The vessel has only carried this name since last September following its purchase by Norfield Shipping SA.

Built at Sorel, Quebec, by Marine Industries Ltd, the 13-knot, diesel-electric vessel was delivered as Bernier to Petro Canadian Drilling Inc, of Sorel, on July 9, 1983.

In 1990, it was sold to the Lamont Doherty Geological Observatory of Columbia University, which renamed it Maurice Ewing.

It was seen here under that name when it arrived at Port Chalmers on March 7, 1996, for a one-day visit.

The vessel changed hands again in 2005, then served until last year as Scan Resolution.

 

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