All text and photographs (unless stated otherwise) © Paul Timmerman; photographs on this page made during a cruise in 1993 when she sailed for Dolphin Cruise Lines.
launch was set for
August 17, 1954 at
1.15 PM, but because of the bad weather, it was most
uncertain if the Queen, coming from
her summer retreat at Balmoral, Scotland, could make it on time. Fortunately she arrived on time to
launch the Southern Cross.
turned out to be a highly successful liner on the route to
“down under”. Alas, in the early seventies she also became a victim
of the jet airplane and her passenger loads began to decline drastically. Shaw
Savill decided that she would be taken out of service in
sold to Greek Ulysses Line. In 1973 and she was rebuilt and converted
to a full-time cruise
ship, which took three years (!). Fortunately, her “good
looks” did not change in the process. Renamed Calypso, she began cruising
mostly in the Mediterranean and
In 1980, she started week long cruises in the Caribbean and to Alaska.
Sailing for Ulysses Line as Calypso
1980 she was sold to Gotaas Larsen who renamed her Azure Seas. She lasted under
this name until 1992 when she was sold again, this time to Dolphin Cruise Lines.
She was renovated extensively, renamed OceanBreeze and started 7-night cruises
from her new homeport Aruba, one week sailing to the Panama Canal
(western route), the next to
the Southern Caribbean. Dolphin Cruises was taken over by Premier Cruises in
1997, and it was from this firm that Imperial Majesty Cruise Lines chartered the
From the beginning of 1999 the OceanBreeze started short two night cruises from Florida to the Bahama’s. These trips turned out to be such a success, that Imperial bought her outright in May 2000. She was immediately refurbished and returned to Port Everglades to resume these short cruises to the Bahama’s. Queen Elizabeth II, who was asked to rechristen the vessel sent her best wishes as she was unable to do so.
Dutch brochure, 1978
Alas, Imperial Majesty suddenly took her out of service on June 25th 2003 and replaced her with another classic, the 1953 built Regal Empress. As her former owners Regal Cruises went out of business on april 28th 2003, she was auctioned of for 1.75 mio $ to Imperial Majesty. Her diesel engines, higher passenger capacity and her bow thrusters make her much more economic to run compared to OceanBreeze being a steamship and needing the assistance of a tug in port.
And then, OceanBreeze after almost half a century of service, was sold to the scrappers in India. It is a shame that a classic vessel like Oceanbreeze met her end this way.......
Impeccably maintained, she had no doubt left several years of service in her. But on the other hand: if she had not been sold to Imperial Majesty before the collapse of Premier Cruises, her career could have ended much sooner, as none of the other ex-Premier vessels apart from the former Oceanic (also called Big Red Boat) has found other active employment.
Click on thumbnail for larger image
In her days as Calypso: Ithaca Lounge Sirens Restaurant