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.
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.
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
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