The Emerald in 2008
|Name:||1958–1992: Santa Rosa
1992–1996: Regent Rainbow
1997–2008: The Emerald
|Owner:||1958–1989: Grace Line
1989–1992: Lelakis Group
1992–1996: Regency Cruises
1996–2012: Louis Cruise Lines
|Operator:||1958–1971: Grace Line
1992–1995: Regency Cruises
1997–2008: Thomson Cruises
2008–2009: Louis Cruise Lines
|Port of registry:||1997–1998: Nassau, Bahamas
1998–2002: Limassol, Cyprus
2002: Nassau, Bahamas
2009–2012: Pireus, Greece
|Builder:||Newport News Shipbuilding and Drydock|
|Cost:||US $25 million|
|Laid down:||January 15, 1957|
|Launched:||August 28, 1957|
|Completed:||June 19, 1958|
|Out of service:||2009|
|Identification:||IMO number: 5312824
MMSI number: 239942000
|Length:||177.88 m (584 ft)|
|Beam:||25.6 m (84 ft 0 in)|
|Speed:||17 knots (31 km/h; 20 mph)|
SS Emerald was a cruise ship owned by the Cyprus-based shipping company Louis Cruise Lines. She was built in 1958 by the Newport News Shipbuilding and Drydock company in Newport News, Virginia, United States, for the Grace Line, as the Santa Rosa. Between 1992 and 1995, she sailed for Regency Cruises as the Regent Rainbow and between 1997 and 2008, she sailed for Thomson Cruises, as The Emerald. Before retiring in 2009, she was the last passenger liner built at a U.S. shipyard that was still in active service.
Design and construction
In 1956, the Grace Line ordered two new ships to replace the aging 1932-built sisters, Santa Rosa and Santa Paula. Gibbs & Cox had designed the older two ships and would now design their successors. These modern ocean liners were built by Newport News Shipbuilding and Drydock, Newport News, Virginia, USA and were to be the last passenger ocean liners built entirely in the U.S. Passengers enjoyed full air conditioned comfort and the ship was equipped with Gyrofin stabilisers. The interior was fireproofed with aluminum. Accommodations were spacious with all cabins facing outside and having private baths. Passenger ships of the day also handled cargo, and her two aft cargo holds had side doors and automatic conveyors to quickly move pallets on and off the ship, thus giving her a rapid turn-around at port. Santa Rosa was launched on 28 August 1957 and was delivered on 12 June 1958.
1958–1971: Santa Rosa
The new Santa Rosa and Santa Paula entered service on the New York to South America and the Caribbean for Grace Line. Santa Rosa sailed on her maiden voyage from New York on 26 June 1958.
Collision with the SS Valchem
In the early morning hours of 26 March 1959, Santa Rosa was returning to New York in heavy fog. She was 22 miles east of Atlantic City, N.J., when she collided with the tanker SS Valchem. No one was injured on the liner but one crewman from the tanker was killed, three were missing and their bodies never found, and 16 were injured. Santa Rosa’s bow punched a cavity extending halfway into the tanker and caused flooding of the lower engine room with resultant loss of power. Two boilers were also demolished. The funnel of the Valchem and adjacent vents were scooped off the tanker and carried onto Santa Rosa’s bow. Santa Rosa sustained heavy damage but was repaired and returned to service.
1971–1992: Inactivity and modernisation
In 1970, the Grace Line merged with Prudential Lines to become Prudential - Grace Lines. Santa Rosa sailed for another year but in 1971, passenger operations ceased and both she and the Santa Paula were laid up at Hampton Roads in Virginia and put up for sale. Santa Rosa was sold to Vintero Corp. of New York in 1975, to operate South American service once again, but this venture failed and the ship remained idle. In 1989, she was sold to Coral Cruise Lines, part of the Lelakis Group, and towed to Greece that December. In March 1990, the Santa Rosa arrived in Chalkis, Greece to be modernised and Coral Cruises renamed her Pacific Sun, then Diamond Island. Owned by the Greek Lelakis Group, she was substantially rebuilt at the cost of US$70 million in the Lelakis shipyard. She emerged in 1991, with a greatly expanded superstructure above her unaltered hull, and was barely recognisable, although unusually, she kept her steam turbine engines.
1992–1996: Regent Rainbow
The modernised ship entered service under Regency Cruises as the popular Regent Rainbow from 1992, until Regency Cruises suffered extensive losses and was declared bankrupt in 1995. The Regent Rainbow was placed under arrest on 27 November of that year and, in December 1996, was sold to the Cyprus-based Louis Cruise Lines and renamed the Emerald.
1996–2009: Emerald and The Emerald
In 1997, the Emerald was chartered to Thomson Cruises and renamed The Emerald, operating cruises for the British market. During her time with Thomson, she became the company's most popular ship, and remained in service with them until November 2008, when she was dropped in favor of a larger, more modern and economical vessel. Hereafter, she was again renamed Emerald and saw limited further service for Louis until 2009, when the company announced that she was being laid up and most likely would not sail again.
Following the departure of Emerald from their service, Louis looked for other owners who would operate her for further use, since she met SOLAS 2010 regulations, but she remained laid up at Eleusis, alongside the Sapphire. In 2011, both ships were inspected by scrappers, and the following year, the Sapphire was sold for scrap and beached in Alang, India. Emerald departed Greece in July 2012, also on her way to the scrapyard in Alang.
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- [TUI brochures]
- Brokeback PLATINUM
- THE EMERALD of Eleusis
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