|S.S. OceanBreeze History
The S.S. OceanBreeze has a unique place in maritime history. It has achieved a number of “Firsts” that give it this venerable
Originally named the Southern Cross, the S.S OceanBreeze
was the first passenger ship to have her engine and funnel at the
aft, or rear, of the vessel.
It was also the first passenger ship to be launched by a reigning
monarch, England’s Queen Elizabeth II on August 17, 1954.
end of World War II, thousands of people in England were looking for
a location to build a new life that offered a better economy and climate
than that of England. Many
decided New Zealand and Australia were good choices; however, the
only way to get there was by ship.
many people wanting to emigrate, and so many of the wartime ships
destroyed, Shaw Savill, one of the leading shipping lines at the time,
decided to build a new passenger ship that would be revolutionary
in design and concept. Prior
to this, all passenger ships had carried cargo to ensure a profit
for the cruise lines, but this new luxury liner would not, which allowed
the vessel to depart and arrive at ports on schedule. The passengers would be all one
class and most unusual of all, the ship would have her engines at
the stern, along with her funnel.
Basil Sanderson, then chairman of Shaw Savill ran into a great
deal of opposition with his ideas, since no other passenger ship had
ever been designed like this one.
Sanderson felt that this design would provide its passengers
with larger main areas, as well as bigger lounges and promenade decks
that would make a long voyage a much more enjoyable experience. Eventually
all objections were overcome and on January 28, 1953 in Belfast, work
began on keel number 1498.
she would be making the run to Australia and New Zealand, Sanderson
wanted a name that would reflect this aspect of her voyages. He also began wondering who would
christen her. Reigning
English monarchy had only launched aircraft carriers and battleships,
never a passenger liner. Sanderson sent Queen Elizabeth II a list
of three possible names for the liner and asked, in the same letter,
if she would consent to launch the ship.
Sanderson and the entire line were overjoyed at hearing the
Queen would not only christen their ship, but she had chosen the name
day of launching, rain was pouring down and the Queen, who was in
Scotland, wondered if she’d be able to attend. Scheduled launch was set for 1:15pm
and although the Queen’s plane had left Scotland, it was already late
due to weather. The blocks
holding the ship in place had already been knocked away and if the
Queen did not arrive on time the ship would slide into the water without
her. Advised of the problem, the Queen instructed her driver to drive
considerably faster through the stretch of Belfast and she arrived
on the docks on schedule - which obviously made a very concerned and
worried group of senior officials breathe a deep sigh of relief.
of successful cruising, several things happened that changed both
her course and lifestyle. Jumbo
jets, capable of carrying hundreds of people, began to invade worldwide
loads had declined until the line decided that their pride and joy
would have to be taken out of service on April 25,1972. She was sold
to a Greek Company in 1973, and after a three year, $16m conversion,
the newly named Calypso
sailed around the Mediterranean and to other European posts.
Years later, on January 6, 1980, the Calypso began successful seven nights
cruises to the Caribbean. In
the spring of 1980 she crossed the Panama Canal and had a successful
season of seven-night cruises to Alaska.
29, 1980 she was sold to the Gotaas Larsen Group of Companies of Bermuda,
who sailed her under the name S.S. Azure Seas until May of 1992.
At this time, Dolphin Cruise Lines purchased our classic ship. After extensive renovations, she
was renamed S.S. OceanBreeze and homeported in Aruba, sailing to the
Southern Caribbean and the Panama Canal on seven night itineraries.
Cruise Lines was acquired by Premier Cruises in 1997. Premier Cruises
later chartered the S.S. OceanBreeze
to Imperial Majesty Cruise Line. The S.S. OceanBreeze sailed her inaugural
cruise under Imperial Majesty Cruise Line on January 11, 1999, as
South Florida’s only two-night cruise to the Bahamas. Imperial Majesty has maintained
strong bookings and high standards of passenger satisfaction.
Drawing on the great success of this program, Imperial Majesty purchased
the S.S. OceanBreeze on
May 20, 2000. In September
2000, the vessel was sent for a grand refurbishment to restore the
original splendor of this great, classic ship and add a modern, tropical
ambiance. The S.S. OceanBreeze returned to her
regular Pt. Everglades-Bahamas itinerary with the well wishes of Queen
Elizabeth II, as well as her regrets for being unable to re-christen
this magnificent ship, rich in history and Maritime Firsts, continues
its legacy. Imperial
Majesty Cruise Line is proud to have the S.S. OceanBreeze as the First ship
in our fleet, First in South Florida to sail on this successful itinerary
and, we hope, First and best in our passengers’ cruise experiences