Reports are circulating that the former Norwegian America Line (NAL) Cunard and Saga Cruises ship formerly known as Vistaford, Caronia and Saga Ruby is set for the end journey to the scrapyard.
According to Rederi Swedish American Line AB on their Facebook page, they are claiming that the ship, known now as Oasia, is destined for the scrapyard after being sold by its current owners. It has to be stressed that these are just reports and that nothing has been confirmed one way or another by the ship’s owners.
Their Facebook read as follows:
“The famous former “MS VISTAFJORD (1972)” originally of Norwegian American Line is sold for demolition..! 😦
She was one of the last remaining true classics, and has a special place in the heart of many of us, as she represents an era of beautiful Cruise ships that included the former Kungsholm 4 among others… 🙂
She was the last cruise liner built in the U.K, and had different names and operators over the years, (SAGA RUBY, CARONIA) and now at the end was called “OASIA”..
Last year we as we were starting up the new SAL, we looked into her situation with serious intent.
The plan was to purchase her and utilize her in much the same way as our plans was for the K4, but with the difference that the VISTAFJORD is still SOLAS compliant and can move at own power..
She had left SAGA CRUISES fleet a couple of years ago, and was according to the media “sold to Myanmar in order to be a floating hotel”…
We had some negotiations with the owner, and found the ship in Sattahip, Thailand, at a Naval base. No hotel use.
We had the vessel inspected at the site in Thailand, and unfortunately we found pretty much the same thing as with the K4.. A beautiful ship, recently upgraded for several millions usd, and then left wind for wave.. Nothing of the new upgrades used, everything nicely packaged and the new furniture covered in plastic..
The owner had purchased her for well over 10M usd and had thrown another 10M usd on upgrading the vessel.. What a waste..
She was still in savable condition last year, even though some upgrades to her technical equipment and a good cleaning and painting outside would have been needed. BUT the owner was not prepared to negotiate at the price range we wanted.
The thought was to have her start up the new SAL, and be the first ship enter the fleet before the launch of the new KUNGHOLM 5..
She would have been perfect with a stationary role, as our head-office, restaurant, hotel, museum.
As the owner did not want to discuss the price, we closed the case and decided to use all our energy and efforts on the upcoming K5.
So sad that they now decided to sell her for scrap to India instead, and no actual marketing or other was done to the UK or Norway, to let other entrepreneurs know about the possibilities.
BUT, these events gives us even more “fuel” to create a new timeless masterpiece, as the former ones are slowly almost all leaving us, but the demand and love for these special and beautiful ships is not.”
Bon Voyage, MS VISTAFJORD!
Cruisemarsh’s editor, Anthony had the privilege of sailing on her as Caronia in 2002 from Civitavecchia to Southampton. Visits to Saga Ruby in 2013 with Assistant Editor, Christian and Cruise Cotterill’s Harry Cotterill (whom had arranged the visit for presentation of his wonderful drawing of Saga Ruby) and in 2014 followed with Christian and friend and Cruisemarsh follower, Dan. After being invited to a tour around the ship for a final time, Anthony, Christian and Dan were dockside to see Saga Ruby depart Southampton for the last time in January 2014 for the Far East, where she would become Oasia. The plans being she would be used as a floating hotel and conference centre but these plans have seem to have fallen through.
Originally built for Norwegian America Line (NAL) in 1973 as Vistafjord, she would join Cunard 10 years later in 1983 along with her sister ship, Sagafjord. Sagafjord joined Saga in 1997 and was renamed Saga Rose. Whereas Vistafjord was renamed Caronia in 1999. In 2004 Saga then purchased Caronia and after a multi million pound refit, she joined the Saga fleet in 2005, where she remained until 2014. Her older sister, Saga Rose is no longer around afer she was scrapped in 2011/12.
Whilst this is reports, it must again be stressed that Cruisemarsh awaits confirmation that she is going to be heading the scrapyard.
Cruisemarsh will be following developments closely and will report on any developments that may arise.
Source: Rederi Swedish American Line AB
Feature Image and images: Cruisemarsh/Anthony Marshall