STELLA MARIS II

STELLA MARIS II

STELLA MARIS II at Piraeus in 1992. Photo and copyright Peter Knego 1992.

STELLA MARIS II

STELLA MARIS II

Royal Olympic's STELLA MARIS II at Santorini in 1998. Photo and copyright Peter Knego 1998.

VIKING BORDEAUX

VIKING BORDEAUX

VIKING BORDEAUX at St. Petersburg in 2000. Photo and copyright Peter Knego 2000.

MADAGASCAR

MADAGASCAR

MADAGASCAR at Alang in 2008. Photo and copyright Peter Knego 2008.

MV BREMERHAVEN

This lovely little cruise ship began her career in 1961 as the BREMERHAVEN, a handsome coastal liner built by Adler Werft for Argo Reedereis Bremen to Helgoland service. She was a sleek, futuristic looking vessel with pronounced tumblehome and a pencil thin funnel of rather extraordinary height.

In 1965, Sun Lines sold its first STELLA MARIS to Alaska Cruise Lines. In turn, they purchased the BREMERHAVEN and rebuilt her into the deluxe cruising yacht STELLA MARIS II. Redesigned by Nino Zoncada, the ship emerged with a full deck of public rooms filled with artworks by Emanuele Luzzati and a dining room featuring a large panel by Enrico Paulucci. STELLA MARIS II also had a pleasant lido with a pool set in a typically Italian designed, obtuse basin. Accommodation was in modern style cabins that were more than adequate for a ship of her size.

The new MARIS was in many respects a miniature version of the STELLA OCEANIS that followed shortly thereafter. Both ships paved the way for the much larger STELLA SOLARIS (2) that followed in 1973. Many fans of Sun Line to this day claim the MARIS II as their favorite in the fleet. She enjoyed a long, healthy career in Mediterranean, Caribbean and even Amazon cruising through the mid 1990s. After Sun Line merged with Epirotiki in 1996, the MARIS II, OCEANIS and SOLARIS retained their blue hulls, signifying that they were the more deluxe ships in the fleet, which also included the gray-hulled, mostly former Epirotiki ships.

In 1998, STELLA MARIS II was sold to Viking Cruises, who operated her as the VIKING BORDEAUX until being laid up in 2004. Fortunately, save for the dining room, which was modernized, the ship retained most of her original artwork and decor. Even in the dining room, the Paulucci panel was left in place, although it was covered up with a large mirror panel.

In 2005, the VIKING BORDEAUX was sold to Indian Ocean Cruises who refitted and renamed her MADAGASCAR. A series of cruises from Durban was announced but within a short voyage or two, the company foundered. The former STELLA MARIS II was not suited for the rough seas in the region and failed miserably in her final role. She sat at Durban for the greater part of three years tied up in litigation.

An announced sale in late 2007 to a Johannesburg-based businessman fell through. In some ways, it may have been for the best as the ship was to be gutted and rebuilt in a style to match her announced name of RAZZMATAZZ. Luzzati and Paulucci artworks and Zoncada furniture would have headed to the Durban dumpsters. And RAZZMATAZZ would have fared no better in South African waters than she did as MADAGASCAR.

 

Instead, she was sold for scrap in 2008, arriving at Alang that August, with all of her precious artworks and much of her furnishing intact.

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