Sad news here. The former Royal Caribbean ship formerly known as the Viking Serenade, will officially be scrapped. She is headed to India and will arrive at the scrap yard in Alang at the end of the month.
She’s had a rather interesting career. She was ordered in 1980 by Dannish ferry operator DFDS as the ms Scandinavia. This is why her stern is so angular and steep. It’s because it once contained two ramps so cars could roll-on and roll-off. The idea behind her was that she would double as a cruise ship during the off season. She was actually christened in New York in September of 1982 and sailed some Bahamanian cruises out of there. She then relocated to Scandinavia and sailed on their flagship route Oslo-Copenhagen.
By the mid-80’s DFDS sold her to Sundance Cruise Corp who renamed her Stardancer. A few years later she was sold again to Admiral (Royal Admiral) Cruises. In 1990 when Admiral was merged into Royal Caribbean, she was transferred to Wallenius Wilhelmsen which is owned owned by the Wilhelmsen family who are the largest shareholder in Royal Caribbean and instrumental in their founding. It was when she was at this point in her service life, 1991, that she went under her final transformation to a single purpose cruise ship and no longer a cruiseferry.
She operated under Royal Caribbean as the Viking Serenade and was with them for about 10 years. In 2002, she just became too dated for Royals fleet which was being dominated by the Voyager-class at this point. Royal transferred her to their UK startup, Island Cruises and she enjoyed a successful career there until she was removed from service and put up for sale in 2015. She was purchased by Cruise Holdings Inc, a Cypriot shell company with an apparent office in Miami. Since then, she’s been trying to find work. In 2016 a deal was struck with the Swedish Government to use her as housing for the European refuge crisis. She then sailed towards northern Europe, however the plan never materialized and she spent the summer of 2016 and into 2017 hopping around Europe going from one layberth to another.
Last year she changed her name to Ocean Gala I and was reflagged in St Kitts. At this point the end was near. Things when silent and she reappeared in the Middle East late last year and now it’s been confirmed that she is currently enroute to India. She has been sold for an undisclosed amount of money and will be broken up in Alang.