One of the original cruise ships purpose-built for Royal Caribbean in the early seventies has been beached for scrapping in India. Formerly known as Sun Viking, the vessel’s service has finally ended after 50 years of service.
Former Sun Viking Reaches the End
Sun Viking was once a pioneer in the cruise industry and an important part of the early days of Royal Caribbean. The cruise ship has now finally been beached at the ship-breaking facility in Gadani, Pakistan, where workers will spend the coming months taking the ship apart and selling the parts off for scrap.
The ship was purpose-built for the cruise line and entered service in 1972. She followed two slightly larger sisters ships, the Song of Norway in 1970 and the Nordic Prince in 1971. Sun Viking sailed for Royal Caribbean until 1998 and was the first in the fleet to begin offering sailings outside of Miami, Florida. The vessel spent time offering Mexican Riviera itineraries from Los Angeles, California, and even sailings in Asia and Alaska.
In 1998, the vessel started sailing for Star Cruises under the new name of SuperStar Sagittarius. However, the ship did not keep that name for long and was quickly sold to the Hyundai Merchant Marine Company under a new name of Hyundai Pongnae. During this time, and as much newer, larger cruise ships continued to enter the market, her service as a regular passenger cruise ship ended.
The formerly named Sun Viking became a casino ship under different companies through the later years, finally ending with Capital Dragon Holding under the most recent name of Oriental Dragon. Due to the pandemic, which had also hit many cruise and travel companies globally, the vessel was eventually sold for scrap in 2021.
Until being beached at the scrapyard, she was one of the oldest original cruise ships from the major cruise lines. She lasted longer than both sister ships, with Song of Norway scrapped in 2014 and Nordic Princess scrapped in 2015.
Sun Viking Joins a growing list of former Royal Caribbean cruise ships sold for scrap during the pandemic. The two former Sovereign-class vessels, Sovereign of the Seas and Monarch of the Seas, sailing for partly Royal Caribbean-owned Pullmatur, were scrapped at the Aliaga ship-breaking facility in Turkey. Pullmantur went out of business due to the global pandemic and the impact on the cruise industry.
Sun Viking is 16,600 gross tons which is very small compared to today’s cruise ships. However, at the time of her debut in 1972, she was a large cruise ship. She had a guest capacity of approximately 880 and 350 crew members.