Ocean Diamond Completes 50 Years in Service

Ocean Diamond

The Ocean Diamond is completing its 50th anniversary this year. Originally built as a ro-ro carrier, the expedition ship was launched in 1973 as the Begonia.

After over a decade in service for its original owners, the vessel was sold in the mid-1980s. A few years later, in a major reconstruction project, the ship emerged as a full-time cruise ship, the Explorer Starship.

After being sold again in 1989, the vessel was renamed Song of Flower, joining the fleet of the U.S.-based cruise line Radisson Seven Seas Cruises.

The company, which would later rebrand as Regent Seven Seas Cruises, kept the vessel in its fleet through 2004 before selling it to French owners.

Renamed Le Diamant, the 8,282-ton ship was acquired by Ponant for a series of itineraries across Northern Europe, the Mediterranean and South America.

Under management of the French band, the vessel was also converted offer expedition cruises in polar regions, debuting in Antarctica in 2005.

After being replaced by a newbuild in 2010, the Diamant left the Ponant fleet, becoming a full-time expedition ship soon after.

Now under SunStone Ships, the vessel was renamed Ocean Diamond and spent the last decade offering exploration cruises in Antarctica, the Arctic and Iceland.

Operating under charter contracts, the 189-guest expedition ship sailed for different brands, including Quark Expeditions and Iceland ProCruises.

Currently laid-up in South America, the Ocean Diamond was returned to its owners after completing the 2022-23 season in Antarctica.

According to SunStone Ships’ website, the vessel is now available for all-year charters starting in May 2023.


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