ssMaritime

With Reuben Goossens

Maritime Historian

 

Page Two

 

Her blue and white funnels certainly did nothing for her looks and she looked odd

© taken by Raoul Fiebig of Das Ruderhaus

 

Project SS Norway / France

June 2006: This page contains the history and photographs of the magnificent ex French Trans Atlantic Liner SS France. When she was sold in 1979 she became the cruise ship SS Norway, However, NCL/Star Cruises sold her to the breakers in December 2005, and was renamed SS Blue Lady. However, currently there are four parties that are interested in the ship. The ssMaritime “Save a Classic Liner Campaign” is currently conduction “Project SS Norway / France.” For details, visit ssMaritime News Updates.

SS Norway

Ex France

June 1979 saw the grand dame enter a new guise when she was sold to the Klosters company Norwegian Caribbean Line (now the Norwegian Cruise Line – NCL owned by Star Cruises) who renamed her SS Norway. She was converted to become the largest cruise ship of her time. Many thought that she was too large as a cruise ship and that the industry was dwindling. How wrong they were, SS Norway started a new wave of interest in cruising. With her fine heritage and size, the Norway became one of the most popular cruise ships afloat. In fact her success saw other cruise companies follow rapidly, especially Carnival Cruises, who saw an opportunity and as we know they succeeded.

During her refit, two propellers and four boilers were removed, reducing Norway’s top speed from a maximum of 35 knots down to around 25 knots. Her interiors saw many changes made and she would now successfully serve as a one-class cruise ship. Upon completion, she operated a variety of cruises from Miami, including those to the owner’s private islands in the Cayman Islands.

Seen prior her rebuild in 1990

A further series of major refits and she was dramatically rebuilt, which changed her appearance greatly, as well as her tonnage. During September and October 1990 two additional decks were added atop the Norway, which added 135 luxury cabins and suites. Ship lovers worldwide criticised the addition of these two decks. Although still an attractive ship, she looked top heavy! However, in spite of this SS Norway always remained a grand and an imposing sight.

Norway received additional refits in 1993 and 1996 in order to comply with the new SOLAS (Safety of Life At Sea) regulations. These upgrades would allow her to continue cruising well into the future. Thankfully her funnels had been repainted, taken on the new NCL livery with a dark blue funnel with a gold NCL logo, which was a vast improvement.

 A stern view of the Norway revealing the aft extensions to her decks

 

Specifications SS Norway

 

Tonnage:                76,049 GRT

Passengers:             2,032 (twin basis)

                             2,370 (all berths)

Crew:                     875

 

Photo Album - Part One

 

As the Norway she gained a more modern look internally, as seen here in the Dazzles Disco

The glass dance floor in the background was built on top the former aft pool.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 The Classic Glass enclosed Promenade Deck

 Seen from the entrance of Café de Paris

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 -The entrance to Club Internationale and seating on

--Promenade deck

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 The Leeward Restaurant

 

A Lobby

 

A Stairwell

 

 Another view of the magnificent Promenade Deck

 

 

 

 

-Author’s private collection

 

 

 

 

 

 

Raoul Fiebig of Das Ruderhaus-

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

By Raoul Fiebig of Das Ruderhaus

 

A fine view of her extensive aft decks and pool

 

SS Norway’s Final Days

Being a steam ship Norway became expensive to operate, however NCL was taken over by the Malaysian Genting Casino Corporation Star Cruises, who decided to keep her in operation due to her massive popularity and loyal following. In 1999, Norway experienced a turbo-charger fire as she entered Barcelona, which put her out of action for three weeks.

On May 25, 2003, having docked at 5.00 am in Miami, the Norway was severely damaged by a boiler explosion at 6.30 am. Seven lives were lost as well as seventeen injured. None of the passengers were affected. On June 27, 2003, NCL/Star decided to relocate SS Norway. She departed Miami under tow, although at first NCL/Star refused to announce her destination. However, she headed for Europe and eventually arrived in Bremerhaven on September 23, 2003. Soon NCL/Star announced that boiler parts were available to repair her, and to build a new boiler was out of question.

 

 SS Norway departs Miami under tow

Provided by Smit Wijs - International Tug company

On March 17, 2004, Colin Veitch Chairman of NCL announced that the “Norway would not return to “North American cruise duties,” however, he stated that NCL/Star “will continue to evaluate appropriate options for the vessel,” however the Norway had “been officially removed from the NCL fleet.”

Aerial Shot of the Norway in Bremerhaven

© taken by Raoul Fiebig of Das Ruderhaus

 

Norway continues to look magnificent whilst berthed in Bremerhaven

© taken by Raoul Fiebig of Das Ruderhaus

The decision to remove her from the NCL fleet she remained berthed in Bremerhaven until 2005, when she was towed to Port Klang Malaysia. Star Cruises said that she would remain in use, either as a static Casino in Singapore, or on short overnight casino cruises, although at a slow speed on her remaining boiler

SS Norway seen with the QE2 in Bremerhaven

© taken by Raoul Fiebig of Das Ruderhaus

However, in December that year, Star Cruises sold her to a Bangladeshi (Liberian registered) breaker who renamed her Blue Lady after which she headed off to be broken up but was soon stopped due to a massive outcry by her loyal followers as well as Greenpeace, who protested regarding the huge amount of asbestos onboard. Apparently, Greenpeace claimed that she sailed to Malaysia illegally due to some asbestor law, and that all asbestos should have been removed prior her departure for Asia. SS Blue Lady was forced to return to Port Klang and was anchored just outside the port, where she remains today (May 7, 2006).

 

 

Above we see SS Norway anchored off Port Klang. In December 2005, her name painted out and her new name Blue Lady stencilled above. We can also see that her large tenders, originally located on her foredeck have been removed, as has much of her fine furnishings and other fittings. Star/NCL will use some items on some of their other cruise ships.

 

Photo Album - Part Two

All photographs below are © and taken by Raoul Fiebig of Das Ruderhaus

 

Introduction

As can be seen from the photographs below, SS Norway remains in perfect shape, thus it is a great shame to lose one of the great liners of the world. Her only rival is the QE2, which remains in service today. This is in thanks to the American Carnival Cruises owners of the very British Cunard Line, who with great honour intend keeping her service for some time yet! However, sadly the Norway was owned by a Malaysian (Asian) Company, a Company that has little regard for maritime history and the greatness of this ship, and other liners like her. I am well aware that all companies wish to be profitable, but they must also to be honourable, something the Genting Casino/Star Cruises Company have not shown in their secretive actions in relation to the Norway. I had dinner in Kuala Lumpur several years back with the management of Star Cruises which included Miss Jane Poh. She indicated the fate of the Norway even then. She spoke of Norway being relocated to Singapore for cruise duties, but, the way she spoke it seemed more like a quiet getaway, getting her out of sight with her destination to be a an Indian beach, a breakers yard. Due to demand Norway remained in Caribbean water suntil the boiler explosion, which spelled her doom.

I ask everyone who is reading this article and plan a cruise in the future, to ban Star Cruises and Norwegian Cruise Line – NCL. We need to remember, the Norway is not the only classic liner in their hands. The fate of the SS United States and SS Independence is also in their hands. If we look at what happened to the Norway, they obviously do not stand a chance!

Email Jane Poh at sjpoh@starcruises.com.my and bombard NCL/Star Cruises with your protest regarding the way they have handled the situation with the Norway, United States and the Independence.

The fine photographs below were taken by Raoul Fiebig of Das Ruderhaus.

SS Norway is a stunning sight by night!

 

 Club Internationale

 

Sports Bar 

 

Library, Internet and Card Room

 

 Champs Elysees

 

 Windward Restaurant

 

Original mural from ss France in the Windward Restaurant 

 

Leeward Restaurant 

 

Saga Theatre

 

Artworks in a stairwell

 

 Stairwell mural

 

Norway departs Bremerhaven for Singapore on 23 May 2005

 

Farewell Norway

Photograph by Raoul Fiebig of Das Ruderhaus

 

Page One         SS France

 

Page Two          SS Norway – Blue Lady

 

Page Three       Norway departs Bremerhaven May 23, 2005.

 

Page Four        Norway Deck Plan

 

Here is an interesting article by BBC reporter Peter Jackson - http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/5060206.stm#ship

News Updates: Visit our ssMaritime News Updates for details of “Project SS Norway – France” 

  

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Photographs on ssMaritime are 1. By the author. 2. From the author’s private collection. 3. As provided by Shipping Companies and private photographers. Credit is given to all contributors. However, there are some photographs sent to us without details of the photographer/owners concerned. We would therefore appreciate if owners of these photographs would make themselves known to me, that due credit may be given.

 

 

© Copyright 2006 Reuben Goossens - All Rights Reserved

 

 

 


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