MS Dunnottar Castle

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United Kingdom
  • Dunnottar Castle (1936-1958)
  • Victoria (1958-1975)
  • The Victoria (1976-1993)
  • Princesa Victoria (1993-2004)
Builder: Harland and Wolff
Yard number: 959[1]
Laid down: 1935
Launched: 25 January 1936
Completed: 27 June 1936[1]
Maiden voyage: July 1936
Out of service: 2004
Identification:IMO number5379717
Fate: Scrapped at Kumar Steel Breakers Yard in India, 2004
General characteristics
Tonnage: 15,007 GRT as built
Length: 560ft. (174m.) as built
Beam: 72ft. (22m.) as built
Draft: 22.2ft. (8.1m)
Propulsion: Burmeister & Wain Diesels as built, in 1959 refitted with Fiat diesel-engines
Speed: 18 knots
Capacity: 285 first class, 250 tourist class as built, 696 single-class at the time of scrapping
Crew: 250 as built

The MS Dunnottar Castle was the original name of a twin-screw passenger ship built in 1936 and more widely known under her later name Victoria or The Victoria. Victoria was a cruise liner first operated by the Incres Steamship Co and later by Chandris Lines in the Caribbean Sea. Victoria was sold to Louis Cruise Lines in 1993 which operated the ship as Princesa Victoria until it was scrapped in India in 2004. Victoria retained a classic liner look with several features unchanged since her pre-war construction for her entire operational life.

Construction and war service[edit]

The ship was originally built by Harland & Wolff of Belfast in 1936 as the Union-Castle liner Dunnottar Castle. She had a gross tonnage of 15,054 tons. She departed on her maiden voyage from Southampton to Cape Town in July 1936. Upon her return, she commenced her regular service, Tilbury (London) - Africa, serving as supply ship for St. Helena.

At the outbreak of the war, Dunnottar Castle was converted into an armed merchant cruiser by the Royal Navy. She departed on her first tour of duty on 14 October 1939. In 1942, she commenced duties as troop ship until 1948, when she was decommissioned from Naval service. She immediately received a comprehensive overhaul and resumed her London to Africa service in 1949, which continued for the next nine years.

The ship played a small part in the search for the coelacanth; the telegram from Captain Hunt to Dr JLB Smith noting the discovery of the second coelacanth in the Comoros reached him when the ship stopped in Durban on 24 December 1952. All of his scientific gear was deep in the hold of the ship.[2]

Career as cruise liner[edit]

Dunnottar Castle was bought by Incres Steamship Co in 1958 and substantially refitted as a cruise liner at the Wilton-Fijenoord shipyard near Rotterdam. The ship received a new engine, new superstructure and a new raked bow, changing her overall appearance significantly. The first and tourist class cabins were reconstructed into 600 single-class cabins with private facilities and air-conditioning. Incres renamed her Victoria and ran her out of New York City on West Indies cruises

In 1964, she was sold to Victoria SS Co Monrovia, a subsidiary of Swedish company Clipper Line from Malmö. She retained both her name and service. Incres Line continued as agents for the ship. For eleven years, Victoria made cruises from the United States to the Caribbean.

In 1975, the company sold her to Chandris Lines and she ran on Caribbean and European cruises until 1993 with a minor refurbishment in 1987. It was in 1987 that Jade deck was created by converting storerooms into thirty eight (38) passenger cabins. This was a major feat as the ship was cruising with passengers on board at the same time.

Final years[edit]

The ship's final incarnation was as the Princesa Victoria making 2 and 3-day cruises from Cyprus under the ownership of Louis Cruise Lines. During the winter seasons, Princesa Victoria was laid up in Perama. She was used as a shore-side hotel-ship for Expo '98 and for the G8 summit in Genoa in 2001.

Finally, the ship was laid up in 2002 and broken up in 2004 at the Kumar Steel Breakers Yard in India. At the time, she was the oldest large liner still operating anywhere in the world.


  1. ^ a b McCluskie, Tom (2013). The Rise and Fall of Harland and Wolff. Stroud: The History Press. p. 144. ISBN 9780752488615.
  2. ^ Living Fossil: The Search for the Coelacanth
  • Maritime Matters website [1]
  • ss Maritime website (archived) [2]
  • Chandris lines fleet [3]
  • Pictures of the various incarnations of the Victoria [4]
  • Detailed timeline Dunnottar Castle - Victoria - Princesa Victoria [5]