The Louis Aura as Orient Queen
|Name:||1968 - 1995: Starward
1995 - 2006: Bolero
2006 - 2013: Orient Queen
2013 - onwards: Louis Aura
|Owner:||Teal Shipping S.A.|
|Operator:||1968 - 1995: Norwegian Cruise Line
1995 - 2006: Festival Cruises
2006 - onwards: Louis Cruises
|Port of registry:||1968–2007: Panama City, Panama
2007–2009: Piraeus, Greece
2009–2011: Majuro, Marshall Islands
2011–2014: Valletta, Malta
|Builder:||A.G. Weser, Werk Seebeck|
|Laid down:||1 January 1967|
|Completed:||30 November 1968|
|Identification:||Call sign: 9HA2738
IMO number: 6821080
MMSI number: 215467000
|Length:||160.11 m (525 ft 4 in)|
|Beam:||22.84 m (74 ft 11 in)|
|Draught:||6.7 m (22 ft 0 in)|
|Decks:||7 passenger decks, with 414 cabins
8 decks with 355 cabins
|Speed:||16 knots (30 km/h; 18 mph)|
|Capacity:||580 (normal)/850 (maximum)
714/912 as of 2005
Louis Aura is a 16,000-ton cruise ship built in 1968 at the AG Weser shipyard in Bremerhaven, West Germany. The ship has twelve decks, eight of which are accessible to passengers. As currently[when?] configured she can accommodate 876 passengers in 349 cabins, of which 336 are staterooms and 56 are suites. She is currently operating cruises in the eastern Mediterranean.
From 1968 until 1995, the Louis Aura was operated by Norwegian Cruise Lines as the Starward, and was their first purpose-built ship along with her near identical sister, the Skyward. The M/S Starward was featured in the 1975 movie Peeper starring Natalie Wood and Michael Caine. After 1995, she was operated as the Bolero by Greek line Festival Cruises until the company's collapse in 2004  when she was purchased for $9.5 million by Abou Merhi Lines and received a $10–$15 million renovation.
In November 2005 the ship was repositioned in Dubai to begin what was an unsuccessful Persian Gulf cruise program, providing the first luxury cruise line service between Dubai and Gulf Cooperation Council countries. The ship was then positioned in Beirut and scheduled to begin a 2006 cruise season in the Mediterranean Sea. In November 2006, she was supposed to begin service from Port Canaveral, Florida, operated by Paradise Caribbean Cruise Line.
In July 2006, the Louis Aura was used to help evacuate United States citizens from Lebanon because of the ongoing conflict with Israel. The Louis Aura was escorted by the USS Gonzalez (DDG-66), a U.S. Navy guided missile destroyer, and the USS Barry (DDG-52). It took the evacuees to the port of Larnaca in Cyprus.
In 2012 and 2013 the Louis Aura, named as "Orient Quen, has sailed to the Greek Isles from Limassol, Cyprus and Piraeus, Greece. Under the flag of Malta, the ship was owned and operated by the cyprus-based company Louis Cruises.
For the summer season of 2014, the ship will execute 3/4/5/6 & 7 day cruises to the Greek isles departing from Limassol, Cyprus.
- "Louis Aura 2013". Retrieved 8 March 2014.
- "Louis Aura (07013)". DNV Exchange. Det Norske Veritas. Retrieved 2014-06-02.
- Ward, Douglas. Berlitz complete guide to cruising & cruise ships 2012 (20th ed.). London: Berlitz Publishing. p. 509. ISBN 978-178-004-000-4.
- "Louis Cruise Lines' M/V Louis Aura Deck Plan".
- "MS Orient Queen". Choosing Cruising. Retrieved 2012-04-24.
- http://www.simplonpc.co.uk/NCLPCs1.html#anchor476968 Norwegian Caribbean Line - First Generation Cruise Ships
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