A Cruise Ship History: The Boudicca


Recently sold by Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines, the Boudicca has escaped the scrap yard.

After 42 years in service, the vessel was one of the oldest cruise ships currently sailing.

While it may no longer sail, it is set to live on as a hotel ship in the next chapter of its long and colorful history:

1970: Royal Viking Line is formed and orders three ships at the Wartsila Helsinki Shipyard. Based in San Francisco, the company aims to offer luxury cruises around the world.

1973: Second in a series of three ships, the Royal Viking Sky enters service on June 5. Virtually identical, the vessels were 21,847 tons and had capacity for 536 passengers. Each.

1982: The Royal Viking Sky is lengthened in a shipyard in West Germany.  As its sister ships, the vessel received a new section that was 28 meters long, increasing its tonnage to 28,000. A second swimming pool, an enlarged reception area, and new penthouse suites are also added.           

1984: While kept as an individual brand with independent management, Royal Viking Line is acquired by Kloster group.    

1988: The Sky runs aground during a cruise in Northern Europe. The vessel hit a sandbank off the coast of Plymouth, England, and suffered damage to its hull. In need of emergency repair, it saw a few cruise cancellations and an unscheduled shipyard visit.

1991: Kloster Cruise Limited announces an inter-company transfer involving the Royal Viking Sky. The ship is to be renamed Sunward and taken over by Kloster’s Norwegian Cruise Line.    

1991: In December, Royal Viking waves goodbye to its ship. According to the cruise line, the Sky sailed 468 cruises under its brand, sailing over 1.4 million nautical miles.  

1992: After only a couple of months with Norwegian, the Sunward is sold to Birka Line of Finland for $76.1 million. The ship was renamed Birka Queen and delivered to its news owners in May, ahead of a summer season sailing in the Baltic.

1992: As part of the sale deal, Kloster chartered the ship back for a seven-month period starting in October. Kloster agreed on a day rate of $22,500 that included crew, maintenance, and marine insurance.

Golden Princess

1993: In February, Birka announced another charter deal, this time to Princess Cruises. Renamed Golden Princess, the vessel was chosen to replace the 1957-built Dawn Princess.

1993: After a significant refit, the Golden Princess debuted in June. The inaugural deployment included 10-night cruises to Alaska from San Francisco and 10-night cruises to Mexico from Los Angeles.

1996: With newbuilds entering service, Princess decided to terminate the charter contract. Birka Cruises then sold the vessel to Star Cruises, who renamed it the SuperStar Capricorn.

1997: Star Cruises to New York? In a unique development, the SuperStar Capricorn was scheduled to operate in the North American market. Genting – who owns Star Cruises – planned a casino operation in New York City using the ship, starting in 1998.

1998: With the casino operation in New York being suspsned before its actual start, the SuperStar Capricorn ended up chartered to the South Korean industrial giant Hyundai.

As part of the four-year charter deal, the ship was renamed Hyundai Keumgang while Star Cruises kept providing hotel and marine operations. Hyundai used it on short cruises to North Korea's Kumkang Mountain region.

1998: As part of the four-year charter deal, the ship was renamed Hyundai Keumgang while Star Cruises kept providing hotel and marine operations. Hyundai used it on short cruises to North Korea’s Kumkang Mountain region.

2001: Due to politics on the Korean peninsula, Hyundai’s operation failed in 2001. As a result, the ship was returned to Star Cruises for further service in Asia.

2004: Iberojet buys the SuperStar Capricorn $20 million. The newly formed Spanish cruise line renamed the vessel the Grand Latino for service in the Mediterranean.

2005: Operating the former Royal Viking Star since 1996, Fred. Olsen Cruise Line buys the Grand Latino and now has both sister ships. The company takes delivery of the vessel in October.  


2006: After an extensive refit, which included the addition of new engines at the Blohm + Voss shipyard, the vessel debuts as the Boudicca.


2015: In line with the rest of the fleet, the Boudicca receives Fred. Olsen’s new livery. For the first time in its long career, the vessel sports a gray hull.  

2018: The Boudicca returns to Blohm + Voss for yet another significant refit. One of the main areas of work was the stripping out and rejuvenation of the 462 rooms across the ship. Engineering work, technical modernization and general refurbishments were also on the schedule.

2020: As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, Fred. Olsen decides to replace the Boudicca with a newer and larger vessel. Bought from Holland America Line, the former Amsterdam is set to operate Boudicca’s cruises from March 2021.

2020: With Bolette taking over its itineraries, the Boudicca is sold by Fred. Olsen in September. The ship is expected to become an accommodation vessel for its new Turkish owners.

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