A Royal Viking Sister visits Ærø

I usually always orientate myself on my AIS-app when I approach the Kiel Canal. But for some reason I forgot that on a beautiful summer day three years ago, when I was sitting on the train between Hamburg and Padborg and was on my way up the Rendsburger Hochbrücke. Suddenly I saw to the left out of the window an incredibly beautiful sight that disappeared again within five to ten seconds.

Phoenix Seereisen’s ALBATROS was a few hundred meters from sailing under the bridge in an easterly direction – in the next moment the sight was gone again, the train had passed the bridge.
It made me think that I should make sure to get some proper photos of this beautiful Royal Viking sister before it one day was too late. That opportunity arose a year later, in May 2018. ALBATROS was to call at Ærøskøbing. The weather was perfect, and the photo session started already when me and a friend arrived on the ferry from Svendborg and passed Urehoved on the starboard side with ALBATROS lying at anchor, bathed in perfect eastern morning sun.

ALBATROS off Ærøskøbing on the small Danish island Ærø, May 5, 2018

At noon we photographed ALBATROS approaching Søby. We shortly after departed Søby on SKJOLDNÆS and could for almost 15 minutes sail parallel to ALBATROS with the midday sun in the back, before the cruise ship turned south towards the Kiel Canal and we continued towards Fynshav. Thus, I managed to get the perfect photo session I had dreamed of a year earlier – before it was too late.
Now it is, too late.
All three Royal Viking sisters have ended their careers as cruise ships. So far, no scrapping has been announced. The three sisters are apparently supposed to be accommodation vessels, but it is very unlikely that they will return to the market.

Urehoved, a peninsula off Ærøskøbing.
ALBATROS heading towards Søby in the northern part of the island a couple of hours later.
These three photos are shot from the ferry SKJOLDNÆS.
Sister ship BLACK WATCH captured in The North Sea from MONA LISA, August 2009.
BLACK WATCH on a winter call in Aalborg, December 2016.
The third sister BOUDICCA departing Portsmouth, March 2013.
The lead-sister ROYAL VIKING SKY as built 48 years ago.

The lead-sister ROYAL VIKING STAR as built:

Delivered: July 1972
Builder: Wärtsilä Oy, Helsinki
Operator: Royal Viking Line, Oslo
Owner: A consortium of Det Nordenfjeldske Dampskibsselskab, A. F. Klaveness & Co. and Det Bergenske Dampskibsselskab.
Length o.a: 177.74 m
Length b.p.: 142 m
Breadth (max): 25.2 m
Displacement: 13,280 tons
Draught (max): 7.45 m
GRT: 21,847
NT: 10,645
Main engines: 4 X Wärtsilä-Sulzer 9ZH40/48
Total output: 18,000 BHP
Service speed: 21.5 knots
Passenger capacity: 539
Crew complement: 326

Source: The Motor Ship, August 1972

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