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CONTEMPORARY CRUISE SHIP CHRONICLES:
PRINCESA VICTORIA, ex DUNNOTTAR CASTLE, VICTORIA, THE VICTORIA
Louis Cruise Lines, Cyprus
by Peter Knego

For Official LOUIS CRUISE LINE click here (www.louiscruises.com)

[PRINCESA VICTORIA Page 2]   [PRINCESA VICTORIA Page 3]   [PRINCESA VICTORIA Page 4]   [PRINCESA VICTORIA Page 5]   [PRINCESA VICTORIA Page 6]

The resplendent PRINCESA VICTORIA is shown at her Limassol berth in December of 1997. Photo and copyright Peter Knego 1997.

Built as DUNNOTTAR CASTLE
Union-Castle Mail Steamship Company Ltd., London
Built by Harland & Wolff at Belfast 1936
Yard no: 959
Completely rebuilt and re engined by Wilton-Fijenoord, Rotterdam 1959
Incres Lines, Monrovia
14,583 GT 174.4 by 21.8 m/ 572 by 71.9 feet
Fiat Diesels; Twin screw; 16,800 BHP 18 knots, max 21
Passengers: 696

A fine port side view of this long-lived ship in her original incarnation as Union-Castle Line's DUNNOTTAR CASTLE. Peter Knego collection.

A month after the QUEEN MARY's debut, a far more modest, but nonetheless remarkably successful liner was completed by the Harland and Wolff Yard at Belfast for Union-Castle Lines' London-Round Africa run. Joining her twin sister, the DUNVEGAN CASTLE, the passenger cargo vessel MV DUNNOTTAR CASTLE entered service in July of 1936. Measured at 15,007 gt, the 560 by 71.9 foot liner carried 258 first class and 250 third class passengers. She was powered by B&W diesels capable of 11,200 BHP to drive twin screws at a service speed of 17 knots.

An aerial view of DUNNOTTAR CASTLE from a sepia post card. Peter Knego collection.

She was requisitioned for war service as an armed merchant cruiser in 1939 and later a troop transport in 1942. In 1940, her less fortunate sister was torpedoed off Ireland with a loss of 27 lives, however, the DUNNOTTAR CASTLE went on to heroic service in the Mediterranean, Middle East, and Australia. In 1942, she carried engineers of the British Army to Tristan da Cunha for the construction of a strategically essential wireless and weather station. In 1944, she carried troops from the UK to Normandy for the allied invasion of western Europe.

Another popular post card view of the DUNNOTTAR CASTLE. Peter Knego collection.

In 1949, after carrying over a quarter million troops and sailing over a quarter million miles, she was returned to civilian service. At this time, the ship's capacity was revised to 105 passengers in first and 263 in tourist. DUNNOTTAR CASTLE carried on in the London -- Round Africa service for which she was built throughout most of the 1950s. Her low passenger density made her a comfortable ship while her burled wood paneling and somewhat staid interior fittings were traditional, if not particularly trendsetting. She was joined in the early 1950s by a trio of slightly more modern, yet similar liners: KENYA, BRAEMAR, and RHODESIA CASTLE. Ironically, the KENYA CASTLE would be rebuilt into the modern cruise ship AMERIKANIS and would ultimately be reunited with the DUNNOTTAR CASTLE when the latter was sold to Chandris. However that part of the story is yet to come.

As the demand for combi-liners like the DUNNOTTAR CASTLE began to diminish and with newer, flashier ships from both UCL and their British and European competitors crowding her out of the African sea lanes, she was offered for sale in 1958.

Few ships before or since can match the sleek, balanced profile of Incres Line's striking MV VICTORIA. Her remarkable transformation from a handsome "working" vessel to a trendsetting luxury cruise ship is one of the finest passenger ship conversions ever. Peter Knego collection.

Shortly thereafter, she was sold to Liberian registered, Italian operated Incres Line and taken to Rotterdam for a complete re-engining and rebuilding into the sleek,14,917 gross ton, 573 by 72 foot cruise ship VICTORIA. And, while her original B&W diesels were adequate, they were removed in favor of new, life-extending FIAT diesels capable of 16,800 BHP for a service speed of 18 knots.

An early Incres Line brochure features an embossed cover with the relief of VICTORIA as shown in the first image. The second image is a special logo created for the ship when Incres and Clipper Line (operators of the famed STELLA POLARIS) merged forces in 1964.

Considered one of the world's finest passenger ships with her spacious cabins, elegant decor, twin pools, and mostly all outside cabins, she sailed successfully until the early 1970s, when the fuel crisis and high operating costs took their toll.

In the twilight of her career with Incres, the VICTORIA was chartered to Unitours for a trans-canal cruise in 1974. At a very young age, your author took this naive image of her at the former Matson terminal, pier 195, in Wilmington, Los Angeles harbor, California. Photo and copyright Peter Knego 1974.

Tugs gently nudge the VICTORIA into her Wilmington berth on a fine November morning in 1974. Photo and copyright Peter Knego 1974.

Before we continue with the history of the MV VICTORIA, let's have a look at the ship in her Incres Line heyday when she was one of the most popular and "modern" cruise ships of her era.

Click here to tour the VICTORIA in her Incres Lines era Page Two

Click here to continue the story of THE VICTORIA in her Chandris Line's period Page Three

[PRINCESA VICTORIA Page 2]   [PRINCESA VICTORIA Page 3]   [PRINCESA VICTORIA Page 4]   [PRINCESA VICTORIA Page 5]   [PRINCESA VICTORIA Page 6]

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